Does Mental Health Treatment Work?

Skills based groups for PTSD and Depression

Skills Groups For Mental Health

Treatment for PTSD

There are evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Treatment that have shown through multiple outcome studies to be effective. Many persons diagnosed with PTSD are often diagnosed with depression.

Skills-Based Groups

A well rounded and skills based treatment is best advised for those seeking help with symptoms of depression and PTSD. While talk therapy is traditional and familiar the research shows that talk therapy alone is not successful in treating moderate to severe depression.

Ultimately a group that teaches both CBT skills and containing anxiety skills is most effective combined with EMDR therapy. Skills groups are lacking therefore, mental health treatment should include skills based groups as part of clinical treatmnent.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

What PTSD is and how it shows up in symptoms and coping strategies.

Persons who have been exposed to actual, threatened death, serious injury, violence (such as sexual or physical abuse) are at risk of developing PTSD. Furthermore, persons witnessing such acts, or listening to details of the serious injury, violence, or death can sometimes end up with a series of disturbing symptoms like PTSD.

Symptoms Last Three Months or Longer

Should these symptoms continue past three months the DSM advises that PTSD is a probability, particularly if these symptoms are interfering with the quality of the person’s life. It should be noted that not everyone who has experienced the above events will end up with PTSD. In fact, many people who are exposed to such experiences do not end up with PTSD.

Definition of PTSD


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a disorder defined in the Diagnostic Manual of Psychiatric Disorders as primarily an anxiety disorder with some dissociative features and negative cognitions. Interestingly, flashbacks are actually a dissociative state therefore, PTSD actually falls into both the anxiety and dissociative clusters of symptoms.

In order to qualify for the diagnosis of PTSD a person is exposed to the traumatic event must have either directly experienced the event, witnessed the event in person, or learned of the actual event. This can also include the threatened death of a close family member, friend, or repeated first-hand, extreme exposure to the details of the event. Examples of traumas include combat, war, natural disasters, car accidents, sexual abuse, or domestic violence, torture, ritual childhood physical abuse or sexual abuse.

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms involved with PTSD can include insomnia, hyperarousal, a feeling of being turned on and vigilant, sped up with racing thoughts. A person may fall into the category of hypo-arousal, a feeling of being numb or flat. They may also be depressed and shut off, ( not feeling at all). One can move within both of these categories of hyper or hypo arousal.

Other symptoms include night terrors of the actual event or nightmares. Symptoms can also include flashbacks of the event or being reminded of the event through a trigger ( something in the present that reminds the brain of the past event). These triggers can include smells, tastes, sounds or a facial expression. A person can develop negative cognitions such as, “I can’t trust anyone”, or ” the world is unsafe.” Memory problems and an inability to focus or keep attention due to the intrusive negative cognitions or flashbacks are also symptoms. Other symptoms like hypermnesia ( thinking about a part of the incident over and over again or amnesia are also common to PTSD.

Coping Behaviours For PTSD

Because these symptoms can be so unpleasant its understandable that a person with PTSD might try coping behaviours such as smoking more, drinking more, isolating, watching too much TV, withdrawing from friends and family. Any addictive behaviour that can take a person with PTSD out of their mind is also a common coping behaviour.

Surviving Childhood Abuse

Those who have experienced repeated childhood abuse sometimes end up with a more complex post traumatic injuries. The symptoms of PTSD are present but have been ongoing throughout the childhood and continued into adulthood. These symptoms can show up as overreacting to relationship problems, an inability to regulate emotions, problems with anger, with sleep and relationships.