As an anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can be treated with several different types of medication. Remedies are available in several drug classes, from antidepressants to noradrenergic agents. PTSD medications are prescribed according to each specific patient's symptoms and needs.
Several different antidepressants are available to help treat PTSD. Some of the most commonly prescribed PTSD medications are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs. Many people are familiar with these medications, as they are also prescribed for several other anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. SSRIs have shown to be helpful in treating several symptoms of PTSD, such as hyper-arousal and instances of numbness in the body.
Another type of antidepressant often prescribed to treat PTSD is known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, or MAOI. These types of drugs are thought to function by preventing the brain's serotonin levels from depleting. Other types of antidepressants, known as tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs, affect both the brain's levels of serotonin as well as the chemical norepinephrine.
Some non-classified types of antidepressants are also prescribed as PTSD medications. These drugs work in varying ways and may be designed to treat a specific type of anxiety disorder. Though all of these antidepressant medications may be successful in treating symptoms of PTSD, most cannot wholly rectify the condition. Some may also simply lessen symptoms without completely ridding the victim of them.
Select PTSD medications in the drug class known as noradrenergic agents have proven to be helpful in treating the condition. Also known as alpha blockers, these drugs have shown some success in treating nightmares and other symptoms of PTSD. Some mood stabilizers, or anticonvulsant drugs, may be helpful in treating some instances of this anxiety disorder. Mood stabilizers are not, however, typically listed as PTSD medications, as studies regarding their use on patients with PTSD have been inconclusive.
Side effects are common when taking these remedies. Depending upon the patient and his or her medication, symptoms may include sleeplessness, headaches, and nausea. Sexual issues, such as a decreased desire to have sex, can also occur.
Like other types of stress-related illnesses, post traumatic depression can also be aided with non-medical treatments. Some form of counseling is generally recommended to sufferers of PTSD. The type of counseling is usually specific to the cause of the stress. Doctors may also suggest that patients learn relaxation and breathing techniques.