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Excerpt 2
John H. Greist, MD, James W. Jefferson, MD and David J. Katzelnick, MD

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Guide

(Excerpt 2)

How long should I take medication for PTSD? In order to prevent relapse after improvement, treatment should not be stopped as soon as a person feels better. Relapse means the return of symptoms of PTSD because of premature lowering of dose or discontinuation of the PTSD medication.

To decrease the possibility of relapse, "maintenance treatment" is often necessary. The APA Practice Guideline recommends a length of treatment for acute PTSD that is 6-12 months long; for chronic PTSD, 12-24 months and perhaps even longer if you are still having significant symptoms. The best course of treatment for each person must be developed individually with the doctor. Keep in mind that PTSD medications should not be stopped abruptly unless they are causing intolerable side effects. Gradually tapering the dose will be gentler on your body and reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms or an abrupt return of PTSD symptoms.