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Coping with PTSD

Many people live with PTSD and struggle to cope with it every day, but there is help available, and there is definitely hope. Many people can recover and live healthy, productive lives with proper treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to support you on your journey to healing.

This blog will cover the basics of PTSD and the things you wish you knew about it. You will learn about its causes, symptoms, and how it can be treated. What to do when someone you know has PTSD and the consequences of untreated PTSD.
In the aftermath of a traumatic event, many people experience PTSD-like symptoms at first, including being unable to stop thinking about the event. Trauma triggers many common emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and guilt. 
Traumatic events can temporarily make it difficult for people to adjust and cope, but with time and good self-care, they hopefully get over them. But, when the symptoms worsen and persist for months or years and interfere with your everyday functioning, you may have PTSD.
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can develop after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. It's not just veterans or people who have been through a traumatic event. It can happen to anyone at any time. It's important to remember that PTSD is a real, serious condition that can be very debilitating.

There is an estimated 1 in 3 people suffering from PTSD who have experienced a traumatic event, but it is unclear exactly why some people suffer from this condition and others do not.

Let's have a closer look at the causes of PTSD.

Causes of PTSD

Someone can develop PTSD from any situation they personally find traumatic so that it can vary for each individual. 
Causes of PTSD may include:
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Violent crime, including sexual assault, muggings, and robberies
  • Serious health issues
  • Experiences with childbirth
Someone may develop PTSD immediately after experiencing a disturbing event, or it may develop weeks, months, or even years later.
Another type of PTSD is 'Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A person with complex PTSD may have repeatedly experienced traumatic situations, such as severe neglect, abuse, or violence. Symptoms of Complex PTSD may be similar to PTSD, but they may not develop for years after traumatic events.

Symptoms of PTSD

As a result of PTSD, people often experience nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of guilt, isolation, irritability, and depression. It is common for these symptoms to be severe and persistent enough to affect day-to-day lives significantly.
In general, PTSD symptoms can be divided into four categories:
  1. Intrusive memories: are memories of the traumatic event that are unwanted, distressing, and recurrent. Some people may experience flashbacks, nightmares, or physical reactions to anything that reminds them of the trauma.
  2. Avoidance: avoiding thoughts, conversations, and places that remind the victim of the traumatic event.
  3. Negative changes in mood and thinking: negative thoughts about oneself, other people or the world, hopelessness about the future, memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event, difficulty maintaining close relationships, feeling detached from family and friends, lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed, difficulty experiencing positive emotions, feeling emotionally numb
  4. Changes in physical or emotional reactions/arousal symptoms: difficulty sleeping and concentrating, easily startled or frightened, being constantly on the lookout for danger, drinking too much alcohol or driving too fast, being irritable, angry outbursts or aggressive behaviour, feeling of guilt or shame, etc.
It is possible for symptoms to change over time and to vary from person to person. If you receive timely support and assistance, you may prevent normal stress reactions from worsening and developing into PTSD which is why it is key to form a support group. Reach out to friends and family who can offer support and comfort during stressful times. You might also benefit from some short-term therapy provided by a mental health professional, or you may find it helpful to reach out to a faith community for support. By reaching out and receiving support, you might also help prevent unhealthy coping methods, such as alcoholism and drug abuse.
When struggling to recover from traumatic events for more than a month, you should consult a mental health professional or doctor. A professional can help you understand your symptoms and develop a plan to manage them.
The good news is that PTSD can be treated successfully, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event.

How PTSD can be treated

There is no standard treatment for PTSD, but it depends on how severe the symptoms are and how quickly they occur.
Treatment may include any of the following options:
  • Watchful waiting
  • Medications
  • Psychological therapies
Psychological therapies
Cognitive behavioural therapy CBT 
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. CBT is based on the premise that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours are all interconnected and that we can change our emotions and behaviours by changing our thoughts. 
CBT is effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, sleep disorders and. PTSD. CBT is usually provided in a short-term, time-limited format and is often delivered in individual or group therapy sessions.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing EMDR) 
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a treatment that helps people process and heal from trauma. It is a relatively new therapy and is very effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
EMDR therapy uses a combination of eye movements and bilateral stimulation (such as tapping or auditory tones) to help the brain process and heal from trauma. The therapist will guide the client through a series of eye movements while the client focuses on a specific memory or event. The bilateral stimulation helps to stimulate both sides of the brain and allows the client to process the trauma more holistically.
EMDR therapy is very effective in treating PTSD and can be used to treat other trauma-related disorders such as anxiety, depression, and phobias.

Yoga and meditation

When it comes to yoga and meditation, there are many benefits that these two practices offer. For starters, both yoga and meditation can help to improve your flexibility and range of motion. Additionally, they can help to improve your balance and coordination. Furthermore, these practices can also help to strengthen your muscles and improve your endurance. But most importantly, yoga and meditation can also help increase happiness by reducing stress and anxiety. Focusing on positive emotions nourishes the brain and calms the emotions.

Social and family support

The way a person deals with traumatic events can vary from person to person, but isolation is not the answer. While you may enjoy being by yourself, we are meant to live in a community with different people, being open and vulnerable. It is important to find a group that can help with this. When people feel like they belong to a group, they are more likely to feel connected and supported. This sense of belonging can increase self-esteem and reduce stress. 

Self-care and stress management

Self-care and stress management are critical after a traumatic event. Trauma can disrupt your life and leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally after a traumatic event is important. This may include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. You should also reduce your stress and surround yourself with positive people.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog and learn more about PTSD. We hope that this information was helpful to you in some way and that it will help you to understand better and support those who suffer from this condition. We are truly sorry if you are struggling with PTSD, and we encourage you to reach out for help. Because there is help available for you, and there is hope. The right treatment allows many people to recover and live productive, healthy lives.