Successful treatment of PTSD requires a combination of psychotherapy—aimed at desensitizing the individual to the traumatic experience—and medication. A recent study in Behavior Research and Therapy found that eight to 12 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy (involving desensitization and progressive muscle relaxation) was better at reducing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms than supportive therapy.

SSRIs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating posttraumatic stress disorder include Zoloft and Paxil. The tricyclics amitriptyline and Norpramin are commonly used to treat the mood disturbances and anxiety that accompany the disorder.

Publication Review By: Karen L. Swartz, M.D.

Published: 07 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 13 Feb 2015