Using Exposure Therapy to Mitigate PTSD Symptoms

Using Exposure Therapy to Mitigate PTSD Symptoms

When you experience trauma, be it physical or emotional, your psyche often carries lasting scars. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can include flashbacks, nightmares, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, shame, anger management problems, and even suicidal thoughts and feelings.

At Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates, we take your mental health care needs seriously. (If you’re currently experiencing suicidal thoughts, you get can help now by calling the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline now). Our team of psychiatry and counseling providers, led by Dr. Ronald P. Winfield, treats new and existing patients from our location in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Exposure therapy is a powerful tool to address PTSD symptoms. However, it’s essential that your exposure therapy be conducted in the safety of a professional relationship with a provider you can trust. Under those circumstances, what would be retraumatizing can actually lead to deep healing. Here’s what you need to know.

Exposure to PTSD triggers

Patients with PTSD often find that symptoms are connected to specific triggers. These can be sights, sounds, smells, feelings, or memories connected to your trauma. When you’re exposed to your PTSD triggers, you may experience a flashback or panic attack. 

Uncontrolled re-exposure to PTSD triggers can also result in ongoing anxiety, depression, and disrupted sleep.

However, avoiding all of your triggers probably isn’t going to be great, either. People with PTSD can suffer from serious loss of quality of life due to avoidance of triggers. And, over time, avoidance can even make your PTSD symptoms worsen.

That means that, while you don’t want to be continually re-exposed to triggers without psychological support, exposure to your PTSD triggers under controlled, supported conditions may in fact be the key to your recovery.

Exposure therapy: Controlled and supported

So, how can you cope with triggers? The team at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates use a variety of techniques to address PTSD, including professionally supported exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a behavioral treatment for PTSD that helps you change your behavior and reclaim your quality of life.

When you have the benefit of full professional support, including both mental and physical techniques, you can better handle your triggers. Approaches such as imagining a situation that you often find triggering, or fully experiencing frightening physiological stress symptoms, with appropriate professional support, can help you reduce your symptomatic response.

You may also benefit from professional support with direct exposure to triggering locations or situations. The process of exposure therapy and PTSD recovery takes time, and can be emotionally and psychologically challenging. But, your provider at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates is there every step of the way.

To learn more about how exposure therapy and other forms of therapeutic support and healing can help you get free of PTSD symptoms, contact Dr. Winfield and the Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates team today. 

Schedule your initial consultation online or call now to book your first session with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable providers.

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