What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Therapy?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that may develop following a traumatic or life-threatening situation. Some of these events include being in a war, the unexpected death of a person you love, rape or assault, a plane crash, or experiencing a natural disaster. The typical psychological response to a traumatic experience is shock or experiencing acute stress. Dealing with PTSD can create many of emotional challenges, and in some cases, these may be so severe that your health can be negatively affected. This makes it critical to address this condition immediately and work to find effective treatments and techniques to allow you to cope better in your daily life.
One of the things that typically occurs to any person in this predicament includes being extraordinarily disoriented and unable to comprehend the things that are happening around them. It is very common to feel numb, endure nightmares, experience restless nights, and have continuous thoughts about the traumatic event long past the day it occurred. However, as the mind begins to process this situation, these symptoms typically become less severe and may potentially start to gradually lift.
However, when it comes to PTSD, it is possible for a person to remain in a state of mental shock for a long time. If this happens to you, there is a high potential for symptoms to begin to worsen. The good news is not every individual dealing with a life-changing occurrence will develop PTSD, and this will vary greatly. It is also possible for this condition to wait to present itself following the trauma for many individuals. In fact, there have been some cases where severe symptoms only start to develop several days or even years later.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD affects millions and may occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is substantial evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may even be hereditary. If you had family members with PTSD, this makes it more likely for you to deal with this condition.
One of the major concerns for most medical providers is that similar to many other mental health illnesses, PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. This can deter from the quality of life of any person living with this condition, and it’s important to treat these negative feelings.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD symptoms can cause significant problems at home and with other family members. There’s also a high potential for your work and other important areas of your life to be negatively impacted.
It’s possible for PTSD sufferers to begin to experience these symptoms by hearing a loud noise, seeing a specific image, or a smelling a scent that brings back memories of the traumatic event. Bear in mind that symptoms appear seemingly unexpected and may come on suddenly.
Common symptoms of PTSD include:
- Feelings of stress or fear when reminded of the traumatic experience that may even lead to panic attacks.
- Re-living the event in the form of a flashback that merely comes on any time of the day or night.
- Experiencing nightmares of the event or other
- Experiencing fear and worry that may impact your ability to complete daily tasks, care for your family, or hold down a job.
- Avoiding specific situations that are associated with the trauma.
- Not enjoying life as much as before the ordeal and continually feeling detached or emotionally numb.
- Consistently having difficulty concentrating at work or doing simple tasks at home and being easily startled by any throughout the day.
- Showing out of control bursts anger or becoming violent
- Constantly being on alert for danger
- Frequently being more isolated due to fear of leaving the home and getting out into the world
- Experiencing physical pain that tends to worsen as the day moves along. Some of these symptoms include headaches, migraines, nausea, racing heart, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and dizziness.
- Withdrawal from activities that were once pleasurable and added to your quality of life. It’s common to be less sociable and prefer beginning alone more frequently.
- Harming another individual that may be a part of your life or simply a stranger that you may encounter during the day or while doing an activity.
- Loss of appetite that may contribute to a significant amount of weight loss. Failing to take care of your health and body is possible in extreme situations.
Find Treatment for PTSD
One of the positive sides of this medical condition is PTSD typically responds very well to treatment. Using the most effective treatment method is the key to being able to live a normal life.
However, it’s essential for you to consult with a medical expert on this topic to allow you to learn the best way to work towards getting better. It’s common for either psychotherapy or medication to be used to assist you in coping with PTSD.
There are a variety of medications you can select from, and your physician will be the best resource for learning what these are and guiding you to the right one. Below are some types of medication that are helpful in treating PTSD:
- Sleep medications
- Anti-anxiety drugs
Depression and anxiety are conditions that commonly accompany PTSD, and prescription drugs may better enable you to live with it. However, keep in mind any medication you take will not entirely relieve your of your depression or anxiety. There are varying doses that you can take and the more severe your situation the greater likelihood that a higher amount will be necessary. Medication, coupled with therapy, is the most effective approach to treating PTSD.
Be sure to look at specific research that is available for each type of medication and then work with your doctor to find the best one to suit your needs. It may take some trial and error before you will find the best prescription drug solution to assist in controlling PTSD. However, you will want to keep the faith and work towards finding the best medication to help you feel your best in both the short and long-term as you recover from PTSD.
There are three types of psychotherapy that may be extremely helpful in allowing you to overcome symptoms of PTSD and live a fuller and happier life:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): One of the most successful ways to aid you in coping with the negative way of thinking that commonly accompanies PTSD is with CBT. This treatment type will encourage you to change your thoughts and work to make these much more positive on a daily basis. Over time, this can help create a better mood and may allow you to have fewer PTSD symptoms.
You can typically expect to enroll in a 12-week treatment to enable you to get the most benefits from CBT. Sessions may last from 60-90 minutes, so you will want to prepare so you can fully commit to your therapy.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET): With PET, you will work to confront things that have been bothering you due to the traumatic event you encountered. Doing this should work to alleviate your symptoms and allow you to lead a happier and healthier life.
During PET, you will make a list of things you fear and these often are items that remind you of the traumatic event that caused your PTSD. Through guidance from your therapist, you will gradually begin to expose yourself to your fears. Your therapist will also encourage you to focus on your breathing to enable you to cope better while working through your fears.
Stress Inoculation Training (SIT): This method of psychotherapy can last for a few months and can be very effective. It’s common to do SIT with a group of other individuals who also have PTSD where you can share as little or as much as you’d like about the details of your experience. SIT will demonstrate techniques such as massage and breathing methods that may assist in alleviating your stress.
One way to enable you to live with PTSD more positively is by choosing behaviors that you can do alongside therapy to assist you in your healing process. Incorporating various strategies into your daily life can be useful and enable you to feel better in both the short and long-term. Some self-care strategies that you can try include:
Eat a healthy diet: The food you eat each day will have a tremendous impact on your health and well-being. Incorporating nutritious foods that are low in fat and sugar can be helpful in reducing depression and anxiety. Be sure to choose more servings of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats rather than sweets and foods that are highly processed.
Join a support group: Communicating with a group of individuals going through the same thing as you may help you feel better. It’s a great idea to have people you can talk to when you’re struggling. Find a community of individuals you can reach out to and communicate with routinely.
Start an exercise program: One of the best things you can do for your physical and mental well-being is to be more active. Taking the time to go for a long walk or making a trip to the gym can help release endorphins, and this is an efficient way to instantly boost your mood. Be sure to work towards a routine that can help you stay active and get in some type of exercise daily.
Keep a journal: Working to identify your feelings and what may trigger negative ones when living with PTSD is something you should consider doing. Taking time to write down your thoughts daily, describing your feelings, surroundings, or what you were doing, is helpful. Regular journaling will give you most optimal results from your efforts.
Create daily affirmations: It’s ideal to have a list of positive and affirming statements you say out loud each day. This may be helpful in helping you become stronger and more able to cope with the symptoms of PTSD. Be sure to have these at a place that is easily visible to you to help you get your day started off right. You may find that you tend to say these affirmations to yourself as the day continues to progress. Repeating affirmations may feel forced or unnatural to begin with, but can be very helpful over time.
Find a Therapist for Assistance with PTSD
You can live a happy life and one that enables you to reach your full potential, even if you have PTSD. The key to doing so when living with PTSD may largely rest in working with a TherapyTribe professional.
Finding a therapist can be done with ease and efficiency when you solely rely on the right resources to do so. There are numerous online therapists that possess the necessary qualifications to help you learn practical techniques and coping strategists to lead a better life with PTSD.
Don’t suffer needlessly when there is hope and help that can is achievable by working with a skilled therapist in your area. You are worth the time and effort it takes to get to a more positive place when living with PTSD and this is entirely possible with the right help.
If you feel suicidal at any point and need a person to talk, you can get assistance by reaching out to an online hotline and speaking to a professional that understands your pain. It’s essential to talk to the right individual that will allow you to get past this challenging time and enable you to have a higher quality of life in the process.