The symptoms of PTSD can affect every area of your life. The good news is that there are treatment options that can help. While psychotherapy, sometimes called “counseling”, has been shown to be the most effective treatment for PTSD, certain medications have also been proven to help decrease many of the core symptoms.
Is Medication is Right for Me?
Medication may be a good choice if you don’t want to try talk therapy now or if you can’t fit weekly therapy appointments into your life. Some people find that taking certain medication for PTSD while they are in therapy makes the process easier. Talk to your health care provider about which medications are right for you.
- Learn about all your treatment options with the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid
- Hear from Veterans about How Treatment Has Helped
What Medications Work Best?
Recommended medications for PTSD are called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or Selective Norepinephrine/Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). They are both types of antidepressant medicine. These can help you feel less sad, worried, and improve your overall functioning. SSRIs include sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil) or fluoxetine (such as Prozac), and the SNRI venlafaxine (Effexor).
Do I Need to be Cautious about Certain Medications?
Some doctors have prescribed medications known as benzodiazepines for patients with PTSD to help with symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia. These medications may be known as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin or Ativan.
Benzodiazepines may help these symptoms in the short term, but we now know that they do not improve the overall symptoms of PTSD. Their helpful effects do not last and they come with possible safety concerns.
Atypical antipsychotics are another class of medication occasionally used for symptoms of PTSD. They also can have concerning side effects and are not typically recommended to treat PTSD.
What Medications Can I Take to Improve my Insomnia or Anxiety?
The first-line medication recommendations for PTSD, the antidepressants, are effective in treating your anxiety and insomnia symptoms. You also can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy. Talk to your provider about safer, more effective treatment options.
Prazosin is a medication that works by decreasing the adrenaline produced by your body when you are stressed and has been shown to help some Veterans with trauma-related nightmares. Ask your health care provider if it may be right for you.