How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5837
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
TherapistMarryAnn is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My son - early 20s - was beaten and robbed at gunpoint in

This answer was rated:

my son - early 20s - was beaten and robbed at gunpoint in his hotel room while on a trip. Three gunmen terrorized him and friends - but didn't kill them. He now has nightmares nearly every night for a couple of months that wake him fighting in his sleep. He is sleep deprived and near the brink. Therapist is talking him through the experience but meantime he has started drinking heavily because he is afraid to go to sleep. She has said he has PTSD -- and also was recently diagnosed with a sleep breathing disorder.
Don't know how to stop the nightmares -- they are now worse than the original event. Appreciate any advice? Southern California area.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It definitely sounds like your son has PTSD. It is a natural reaction to going through a life threatening event such as your son did.

If therapy did not help, he may need to try another therapist. Sometimes, finding a therapist is like finding a family doctor. You need to see a few before you click with one. He can ask his doctor for a referral or if he attends church, his pastor can help. He can also look on line at

In order to stop the nightmares, he needs to treat the original problem, which is the trauma he suffered. Cognative Behavioral therapy (CBT) can help him address his thoughts about the trauma. Here are also some very good links to help him find more treatment options:

Your son needs to work out his feelings about his trauma in therapy and relearn how to feel calm. He also can learn relaxation techniques that will help him relax anytime he feels anxious, and especially before he goes to sleep.

It takes time, but PTSD can be overcome with some good therapeutic work and practice. Medications can also help. His therapist can let him know if medication may be needed in his case.

Please let me know if you have any more questions I can help with,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks very much for your answer and the additional information. It is very helpful and I will certainly accept your answer.

I am worried that he has slipped into alcoholism to cope with this. Should a rehab be considered as an initial step? Can they typically provide the necessary trauma counseling while treating what seems now to be an alcohol dependancy?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Kate - fyi. The find a therapist link is under construction for a few months.

I am sorry about the link not being up for you. My apologies. You can also try this link:

If he is also dealing with alcoholism, then he should seek treatment with a drug treatment center separate from his trauma therapist. His therapists can coordinate his care, but typically, treatment for alcohol use is a separate type of therapy dealing with Alcohol Anonymous and other types of specific treatment. You can try AA first as a resource and also talk with his regular therapist about referrals in your area for alcohol treatment.