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PTSD: National Center for PTSD


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Understanding PTSD Treatment

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Understanding PTSD Treatment

Treatment Basics

  • Treatment Basics
    PTSD treatment works. People who have gone through trauma can learn to feel safe in the world and cope with stress. This section gives basic information about how to get started with treatment and signs of good care.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy--or psychotherapy--includes talking to a mental health care provider (like a psychologist, counselor or psychiatrist) to treat PTSD.

Trauma-focused talk therapy

Evidence shows trauma-focused psychotherapies are the most effective treatments for PTSD. "Trauma-focused" means you will focus specifically on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning in therapy. There are different kinds of trauma-focused psychotherapy, but those listed below have the most research support:

Suggested Talk Therapies: Treatments With Some Research Support

Some psychotherapies do not focus on the traumatic event but do help you process your reactions to the trauma and manage symptoms related to PTSD. The research behind these treatments is not as strong as the research supporting trauma-focused psychotherapies (listed above). However, these psychotherapies may be a good option if you are not interested in trauma-focused psychotherapy, or if it is not available:


Certain medications can be used to treat PTSD symptoms. Learn more about which medications are most effective for PTSD and which medications are not recommended.

  • Medications for PTSD
    Medications that have been shown to be helpful in treating PTSD symptoms are some of the same medications also used for symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Benzodiazepines and PTSD
    Some medications, including benzodiazepines (or "benzos"), are not recommended for PTSD. Benzodiazepines are medications given by a doctor to improve anxiety and sleep. They do not help with PTSD symptoms and can have serious side effects over time.

Which PTSD Treatment Is Best for You?

PTSD Treatment Decision Aid: Learn about effective treatment options. You can read about different treatments, hear advice from people who have been through these treatments, and watch videos of providers explaining how the treatments work. You can also build a chart to compare the treatments you like the most and print a personalized summary that lists your symptoms, treatment preferences, and questions to share with your provider.

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PTSD Treatment Decision Aid: The choice is yours. Get Started.

PTSD Decision Aid

Compare options and make the best choice for PTSD treatment.

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Hear from Veterans who have turned their lives around with PTSD treatment.

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Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment (PDF)

A complete guide to PTSD basics.

PTSD Information Voice Mail: (802) 296-6300
Also see: VA Mental Health