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Explains post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in health care – currently recommends two types of talking treatment for PTSD:
NICE may recommend other talking treatments in future if they are found to help with PTSD, but more research is needed.
"One of the most disturbing things has been the feelings of aggression and anger towards anyone who looks like the person who attacked me... EMDR therapy has been massively helpful."
If the talking treatment you try doesn't seem to be helping, NICE suggests that you:
Your doctor or therapist should offer you a second course of treatment or a follow-up appointment. You can read the full guidelines for PTSD in English or Welsh on the NICE website.
People experiencing PTSD aren't routinely prescribed medication. However, you might be offered medication if:
If you are offered medication for PTSD, this will usually be an antidepressant. While PTSD is not the same as depression, this type of medication has been found to help. NICE recommends four antidepressants in particular:
Some people with PTSD say they have found other treatments helpful in managing their condition, such as group therapy, arts therapies or dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). However, the NICE guidelines say that treatments that have not been designed or properly tested for people who have experienced trauma should not be used on their own.
Here are some ways you could access treatment:
This information was published in May 2017. We will revise it in 2020.
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