Psychopharmacological Treatments

Psychopharmacological treatment of PTSD focuses on medications and their efficacy in alleviating symptoms and restoring stability to the biological systems and processes that underlie the disorder. Logically, psycho-pharmacological treatments are intrinsically tied to the brain systems and neurochemical processes that produce symptoms. Many authors have cited that psychopharmacological treatment of PTSD is relatively underdeveloped compared to other disorders and the casual observer might agree, particularly when compared to the medication treatment of Schizophrenia and depression. However, there has been considerable progress over the years for both specific symptoms and the syndrome as a whole. Throughout this chapter, the reader is encouraged to stay focused on three main areas of PTSD that are metatargets for pharmacological treatment: deactivation, restoration, and stability. Medications are used to deactivate the hyperaroused and reactive brain systems, help facilitate restoration of more normal levels of arousal and responsiveness, and promote biological stability over time. Before we get into the specifics of PTSD treatment, however, let's embark on a quick review of basic pharmacological principles and practices in order to form a foundation for understanding the more complex issues specific to PTSD treatment.

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