Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (cont.)
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The prognosis for PTSD depends upon the severity and length of time a person has suffered from the disorder. The majority of patients with PTSD respond to psychotherapy. There are often residual symptoms, however, and we cannot yet predict who will respond best. Studies have shown in other conditions such as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) that psychotherapy can actually change how the brain's chemistry functions. It is reasonable to assume that these changes are possible in PTSD as well.
There are significant risks to a person with PTSD if they do not receive treatment. They may stay in a hyperaroused state, further damaging their brain. They may lose their job and/or family due to their irritability, anxiety, or numbness interfering with their ability to love and to work. Suicide is also a risk with untreated PTSD.
Maria Pease, MD
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