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PTSD: Unpacking the Myths About Trauma and Exploring Solutions

Presented by: Dr. Zachary Infantolino

View the webinar’s corresponding slides here        Download the Webinar

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often thought of as a disorder that only impacts military veterans. However, nearly 90% of people will experience a traumatic event in their lives. The goal of this webinar is to discuss the events that can lead to PTSD, how symptoms can manifest across the lifespan, and how to help those who may be experiencing symptoms of PTSD.

Dr. Zachary Infantolino currently works as a staff psychologist at Stress and Anxiety Services of NJ. He received his undergraduate degree at the Pennsylvania State University and his masters and doctorate at the University of Delaware.

Comments(12)

  1. J Aquila says

    What criteria do you look for in a counselor who says they treat PTSD? Did you say that Trauma Focused CBT is the gold standard for treating PTSD? Why try Exposure Therapy if other treatments are effective.

    • Dr. Infantolino says

      I recommend looking for whether the counselor is using an empirically supported treatment and whether they have received training in that treatment. Below is a link to the APA website with the recommended treatments.

      https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments

      Most empirically supported treatments for PTSD (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Trauma-Focused CBT, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) have a formal training procedure that results in certification. Typically, the websites for these treatments will list providers that are certified in that treatment.

      Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT) is often considered the gold standard PTSD treatment for children and adolescents. Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure (PE), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are often considered the gold standard treatments for adults. The choice of which treatment to engage in comes down to the personal preference of the client as well as other logistical factors such whether providers nearby are trained in a specific treatment and whether a provider that is trained in a specific treatment accepts the client’s insurance. Below is the link to a comparison chart of treatments for adults from the VA.

      https://www.ptsd.va.gov/apps/decisionaid/compare.aspx

  2. Zack S says

    How effective are treatments for PTSD?

    • Dr. Infantolino says

      Treatments for PTSD are very effective with over half of individuals that engage in treatment getting better over the course of treatment, which typically lasts 12-15 months.

  3. Jill Smolinski says

    If someone is abusing drugs or alcohol and they are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, which should be treated first?

    • Dr. Infantolino says

      If someone is abusing drugs or alcohol and experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it is typically recommended that they be treated concurrently. Drug or alcohol abuse is typically a sign of avoidance in the context of PTSD. The individual wants to avoid the strong emotions or reminders associated with the trauma and they use drugs or alcohol to do that. If they are able to reduce their drug or alcohol use but do not address the PTSD, they are likely to relapse because they still have a strong urge to avoid. Thus, it is best to treat the drug or alcohol abuse in addition to the PTSD in order to reduce the chances of relapse.

  4. C Fortnight says

    Is medication effective for PTSD?

    • Dr. Infantolino says

      Yes, medication can be effective for PTSD, but is not quite as effective as psychotherapy with less than half of individuals responding to medication.

  5. P Peach says

    How do I find a clinician who is trained in one of the empirically supported treatments?

    • Dr. Infantolino says

      Most of the gold standard treatments for PTSD (e.g., Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Trauma-Focused CBT, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) offer formal trainings that result in a certificate. Once the process is completed, they are listed on the websites associated with those treatments. Those websites are often the best place to start.

  6. Julie Allgood says

    This was a very helpful webinar. Thanks to you all for making it happen.

    • Dr. Infantolino says

      You’re welcome! I’m glad that you found it helpful.

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