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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening or traumatic event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.

VA Montana health care offers a robust mental health treatment program for Veterans suffering from PTSD and Complex PTSD (CPTSD). Those who have gone through trauma can learn to feel safe in the world and cope with stress. There are several helpful treatments, so you have options. There is no one treatment that is right for everyone. Working with your health care provider, you can decide together which is best for you based on benefits, risks, side effects and other preferences.

Discuss PTSD treatment programs with your current provider, which may include but are not limited to: Primary Care Mental Health Integrated (PCMHI), Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP), PTSD Clinical Team (PCT), and Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (RRTP).

If you are not established with a PACT or Mental Health team, please call 406-447-6000 for a mental health appointment.

Treatment Options

Talk Therapies

Studies show that certain talk therapies (psychotherapies) work best. The talk therapies with the most research support are trauma-focused.

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
    CPT teaches you how change the upsetting thoughts and feelings you have had since your trauma.
  • Prolonged Exposure (PE)
    PE teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations that you have been avoiding since your trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
    EMDR helps you process and make sense of your trauma while paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone).

Learn more about PTSD talk therapies


Certain medications can be used to treat PTSD symptoms. The three recommended medications for PTSD are paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine. If you decide to try a medication, you will work with your provider to check on your response, side effects, and to change your dose, if needed.

Learn more about PTSD medications