Where Can College Students With PTSD Turn To When They Need Help?
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Having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is challenging for anyone. If you’re a college student with PTSD, you will likely face your own set of unique challenges. Your college years can be an exciting time. College tends to offer a wide range of exciting new experiences and opportunities. You may have a great time meeting new people and broadening your horizons. However, college can also come with new difficulties. For many people, college is accompanied by a higher level of personal accountability. You may also have more difficult classes than in high school. PTSD can exacerbate these challenges. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. Need help? There are many resources available to college students with mental health conditions.

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder typically caused by a traumatic experience. Traumatic experiences can vary a lot: Some people experience the symptoms of PTSD after a single intense event. Others have PTSD as a result of ongoing trauma. The experiences that lead to PTSD tend to be disturbing and are often dangerous. As a result, you may experience physical or psychological harm. Many people experience traumatic events in their youth that can make the transition to college harder. Some people also have experiences during their college years that lead to PTSD. Regardless of your background, managing your PTSD is important. By utilizing mental health resources, you can find relief as you navigate the college experience.

Resources that can help college students with PTSD

  • Academic accommodations — Is your PTSD preventing you from engaging properly with your classes? Academic accommodations can help. Colleges can provide many different accommodations to students with mental health conditions. These include test accommodations and adjusted attendance policies. If you have a hard time attending classes in person, for example, you might be able to request a hybrid schedule. You may even be able to substitute courses if a particular course contains triggering material. Accommodations vary between colleges. In general, colleges tend to offer solutions to help their students succeed.
  • Supportive community — College is a communal experience. When you start attending college, you enter a community that can offer invaluable support. From professors to residential assistants, there are likely many people around you who can help. These people can offer guidance and help you feel supported through your struggles. Many colleges even have on-campus counselors with whom you can share your thoughts and feelings. Talking to someone about your experiences can help provide much-needed comfort and validation.
  • Mental health treatment — If you’re struggling to cope with the symptoms of PTSD, it may be time to seek professional care. Mental health professionals, such as psychotherapists and psychiatrists, can provide specialized support and guidance tailored to your needs. Standard treatment methods include peer support sessions and family therapy. The best mental health care providers will collaborate with you to determine a range of effective strategies tailored to your symptoms, needs and goals. 

Levels of mental health care for college students with PTSD

The best mental health treatment providers generally provide multiple levels of care. These are tailored with the varied needs of different clients in mind. Residential Treatment Centers, Partial Hospitalization Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs are the main levels of care. 

Each kind of care is designed to help people address mental health conditions like PTSD through an integrated, comprehensive treatment plan. Exact treatments vary between clients and levels of care, but treatment for PTSD tends to include psychotherapy to help you process your trauma.

  • Residential Treatment Centers — Residential Treatment can be helpful for people who need tailored 24/7 care. Effective Residential Treatment tends to take place in a comfortable, home-based setting. Clients stay on-site for the duration of their treatment, and clients can expect a structured schedule in a supportive environment. Treatment  includes group sessions and frequent one-on-one sessions with your primary therapist.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs — Partial Hospitalization offers an intermediate level of care. This kind of treatment involves full days of structured treatment while enabling clients to return home each evening after treatment. Treatment programs typically run for several hours each day during most of the week. Your treatment may include specialized forms of care such as Safe & Sound Emotion Regulation sessions, which can help you manage heightened emotional states. The structure of Partial Hospitalization makes it a great treatment level for people transitioning out of Residential Treatment.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs — Need structured treatment that accommodates your current schedule? IOPs typically offer several hours of programming each week. Programming typically includes frequent group sessions and ongoing family therapy, providing plenty of support on your mental health journey. Each client’s weekly treatment plan is individualized to meet their specific needs. For clients who need treatment but don’t require the structured support of residential care, an IOP can offer major benefits.

Guidance and treatment from Lightfully U can help you address your PTSD

PTSD can pose challenges in your everyday life, but the right care can make a notable difference in your mental health journey.

If you need treatment to address PTSD symptoms, you can find excellent data-driven and whole-person-centered care provided by compassionate experts at Lightfully U. At Lightfully U, we offer a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) specifically geared toward college students. With services including one-on-one therapy sessions, medication support and alumni workshops, our treatment is designed to help you grow and make lasting progress in managing your PTSD.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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