The struggles that individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder deal with on a daily basis can be both debilitating and potentially lethal. While the general public generally narrows such concerns to returning soldiers who suffer from the effects of fighting in a war, the issue can develop from countless issues that take place far from any standard battlefield.
These include victims of sexual assault or other acts of violence, the traumas involved with either child abuse or domestic violence and those with a genetic predisposition for depression or anxiety. Psychoanalyst Patrick Mahony has seen many cases and knows that failure to properly treat the issue can result in self-destructive behavior like drug or alcohol abuse and even suicide.
Before such issues manifest themselves, steps like cognitive behavioral therapy are strongly considered. This offers an array of techniques that can be as simple as developing relaxation processes when stresses arise. Also, therapy focusing on directly meeting troubling issues instead of falling back on avoidance could be an option.
A less-skilled approach is to prescribe drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that serve as antidepressants. These artificially avoid the onset of any dangerous acts, though it’s completely dependent upon a patient regularly taking this medication. Patrick Mahony knows that in far too many instances, that can be wishful thinking on the part of a medical professional.
Within the framework of such medication, recent advances have brought about a potential advance that can deliberately block out past memories, which would conceivably help wipe out the previous trauma. However, medication of this sort is likely a decade or two away from becoming reality.
A more promising area is virtual reality, which may allow a patient to confront fears directly while safely protected. Over time, learned defense mechanisms can then be developed.