Many individuals who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) wonder if PTSD can be cured. Is there a cure for PTSD? While there is no one-size fits all treatment or medication, certain treatments have been shown to dramatically reduce or even erase symptoms of PTSD.

How does PTSD occur?

Individuals can experience PTSD due to exposure to trauma. The exposure to a traumatic event may be direct, meaning the patient was exposed to the trauma themselves, but PTSD can also occur from watching someone else be victimized or hurt in some way. The Center for Disease Control explains trauma on their website as any event “marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.”

Whether it be a natural disaster, accident, crime, interpersonal abuse, or other traumatic event, PTSD can impact the life of the survivor for years after the event.

Our PTSD Program Manager, Sehba Singer, talks through the definition, causes, and common symptoms of the disorder below.

Treatment modalities for PTSD

The following treatment modalities are not a one-size fits all cure for PTSD, as different treatments seem to work for different patients, however, these modalities have been proven to have dramatic effects on the symptoms of PTSD.


Can PTSD be cured with CPT? Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is one-on-one talk therapy, and it is often used in the treatment of PTSD. Talking through the trauma and creating a “trauma narrative” can help the brain process the event.

As part of our inpatient trauma program here at Salt Lake Behavioral Health, therapists process recent crisis events with the clients, they discuss what events escalated the symptoms of PTSD to a point where the patient needed hospitalization, and they discuss triggers, symptoms, and harmful thought patterns.


Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a therapy curriculum commonly used as a PTSD treatment modality in both inpatient and outpatient programs. DBT is a therapist-led group session. DBT can help patients feel less alone, and help them learn from others’ experiences, coping skills, and ideas. In our program, patients participate in several DBT groups including psychoeducation, a gender-specific group, skills groups, and processing groups.

Medication Management

Medications can also be used to alleviate symptoms of PTSD. Based on the symptoms the patient is experiencing, medications can be adjusted or started in small doses in a controlled environment.


Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is an evidence-based therapy technique used in PTSD recovery treatment. In this technique, the patient repeats aloud the story of their trauma while following a therapist’s hand motions back and forth with their eyes.

In order for the brain to heal from trauma, the trauma must be fully processed. If the mind is not allowing the person to think through an experience or is attaching emotion-heavy thoughts, guilt, and shame to an event, the brain cannot fully process the trauma. EMDR allows the client to think through an experience fully while mimicking the REM sleep eye movement pattern, allowing the brain to rewire the traumatic memory and process the event.

Levels of Mental Health Care for PTSD

Inpatient treatment

Inpatient mental health care is appropriate for those experiencing severe symptoms of PTSD. Suicidal or homicidal thoughts, self-harm or self-harming urges, and other acute symptoms can be addressed in an inpatient environment. If the PTSD symptoms reach a point where they are interfering with the individual’s ability to complete daily functions such as personal hygiene, work, school, household tasks and other responsibilities, inpatient treatment for PTSD should be considered.

A patient coming in for an inpatient stay might wonder “Will inpatient hospitalization cure my PTSD?” In our inpatient PTSD program for military members in our hospital, we have seen individuals experience a dramatic reduction in their PTSD symptoms after being hospitalized.

Dedicated hospital recovery programs for PTSD last several days, even weeks. PTSD medications take several days to adjust, and doctors like to have time to oversee the patient as they try the new prescription.

PHP, or a Partial-Hospitalization Program, is a level of care in which patients participate in full programming within a hospital during the day, but then return to their own homes in the evening. This level of care is usually used after the patient has been in the hospital full time.


An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is 2-3 hours of therapy, 2-3 days a week. The therapy is usually conducted in a group setting. IOP is used for those that need more support than weekly one-on-one therapy, but who do not need a higher level of care.


Outpatient therapy is what people often think of first when they start to seek help for mental health. Outpatient therapy usually consists of hour-long sessions, once or twice weekly.

Common coping skills for PTSD

Aside from traditional mental health treatments and therapies, there are many common coping skills that people with PTSD use to manage some of their symptoms. While these may not provide a direct cure for PTSD, patients do find them helpful in coping with their symptoms.


Art, and art therapy, is a common coping skill. Sometimes patients find that they can more easily express through color and shape what they cannot put words to. In an inpatient setting, an art therapist may talk with the patient about what different shapes and colors represent, and how they make them feel.

Listening to music

Listening to music is a helpful coping skill because music has been shown to have a major effect on mood.


It’s common knowledge that exercise improves physical health, but exercise can also benefit mental health as well.


For some, guided meditations can be used as a coping skill for PTSD. There are many free meditations available as podcasts and on YouTube.

If you or a loved one has PTSD and is an active member of the US Military, our 30-day live-in PTSD recovery program might be the right fit. Visit for more details or call 801-850-1982 for the care coordinator. Below is a video testimonial from a former patient.