Popular Choices for PTSD Medication
After experiencing an extreme trauma, some people may develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is an ailment characterized by constant flashbacks, nightmares, self isolation, and lack of motivation to participate in everyday life. PTSD is the one of the most mysterious mental conditions because the likelihood of developing symptoms varies from person to person. Everyone reacts to trauma differently, which makes finding the appropriate medications for PTSD difficult. For each patient, a physician will mostly likely recommend some form of weekly therapy sessions, but the type of medications for PTSD paired with therapy will vary depending on specific symptoms.
PTSD Medication Choices: Antidepressants
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), also known as antidepressants, help increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, which has been proven to help a variety of mental disorders, including PTSD. After a patient is diagnosed, SSRIs are often the first choice medication for PTSD. According to Psych Central, these antidepressants help to relieve the anxiety, depression, and panic associated with PTSD. If the patient has additional issues, antidepressants are usually avoided. For instance, it’s common for PTSD victims to also develop bipolar disorder. If this occurs, an antidepressant may actually worsen the bipolar symptoms, so a different type of medication for PTSD must be chosen. Also, some people experience extreme gastrointestinal issues after starting SSRIs, which is another reason to change PTSD medication. The less serious side effects include nausea, anxiety, reduced sexual drive, insomnia, weight gain, and headaches. Physicians will most likely choose Zoloft, Paxil, or Prozac for PTSD medication.
For patients also suffering from bipolar disorder, mood stabilizers are the prefered choice for PTSD medication because they work to even out mood issues across the board instead of just focusing on depression. As stated by the US Department for Veteran Affairs, these medications for PTSD were originally used to treat seizures in epileptic patients, but were found to cause positive changes in overall mood. If a PTSD patient attempts to use SSRIs and experiences little to no results, that person will usually be switched to a mood stabilizer, especially if the main symptoms consist of bouts of anger and anxiety. Popular choices for this PTSD medication include Tegretol, Depakote, Lamictal, and Topimax. Potential side effects include constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, and headaches.
PTSD Medication Choices: Atypical Antipsychotics
Antipsychotics are usually chosen when the mental symptoms of PTSD are much more severe. They are used to treat dissociation, agitation, hypervigilance, and paranoia. According to the National Library of Medicine, there have only been a few studies on the use of antipsychotics as medication for PTSD. They have been found to improve only the mental symptoms of PTSD, but not the physical symptoms that can occasionally present. Because of the lack of research and broad effects, these medications are usually seen as last resort medications for PTSD. Although, when a patient is confronted with severe mental distress, characterized by crippling paranoia, complete disconnection from reality, and constant irritation, medications like Risperdal, Zyprexa, or Seroquel can be tried. Common side effects include blurred vision, dry mouth, drowsiness, muscle spasms, and weight gain.
While PTSD can affect victims with a wide variety of symptoms that vary from person to person, with the right treatment started as soon as possible, there is a great possibility of relief from symptoms. If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, see a physician immediately and explain your symptoms so the appropriate medication for PTSD can be chosen.
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, you may choose to enroll in a Los Angeles medical study for PTSD. These paid research trials provide participants with free medical care and lab work, as well as the possibility of access to PTSD medication. To learn more about Los Angeles clinical trials for PTSD or other forms of medical issues, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.