Monday, November 21, 2022

How To Deal With Ptsd Triggers

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How to overcome PTSD triggers!

Just about everyone has some emotional triggers, though these might look a little different from person to person.

They might include reminders of unwanted memories, uncomfortable topics, another persons words or actions, even your own behaviors.

Common situations that trigger intense emotions include:

  • sweaty palms

Therapy Approaches For Trauma Treatment

Psychotherapy is commonly used in trauma treatment. Among other things, this form of treatment can help decrease your sensitivity to trauma triggers. Not everyone receives benefits from the same kinds of therapy.

For this reason, there are multiple therapy approaches for trauma treatment.

Many of the most effective approaches belong to a treatment category called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. All forms of CBT aim to help you understand and change damaging:

  • Thought patterns
  • Emotional responses
  • Behaviors

Two forms of CBT are especially useful for dealing with trauma triggers. The first of these approaches is stress inoculation therapy. This therapy acknowledges the role that stress can play as a trigger. During stress inoculation, your therapist exposes you to limited amounts of stress.

Like a flu shot, this limited exposure inoculates you. In other words, it helps you develop a higher level of tolerance for stressful situations.

You may also benefit from prolonged exposure therapy. This therapy purposefully exposes you to your triggers under controlled conditions. This exposure can take the form of either:

  • Gradually increasing amounts of time in a triggering situation
  • A detailed mental exploration of what happened to you in a traumatic situation

Whichever method is used, it may help you gain a sense of self-control over your triggers.

PTSD and Traumatic Event Recovery

In addition, your therapy options may include such things as:

  • Psychodynamic therapy

Keys To Manage A Flashback

From personal experience and from experts, these are helpful ideas for managing a flashback:

  • NAME the experience as a flashback
  • Use LANGUAGE that categorizes the flashbacks as a memory (example- I was attacked, rather than I am being attacked
  • Use the SENSES to GROUNDself in your CURRENTenvironment:

In summary, flashbacks and dissociation are symptoms of trauma triggers.

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Trauma And Mental Health Issues

Lingering trauma is the root cause of a number of diagnosable mental illnesses. The best known and most widespread of these illnesses is posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Another condition, called acute stress disorder, or ASD, produces the same kinds of symptoms as PTSD. However, these symptoms occur within a shorter span of time than PTSD symptoms.

Both PTSD and ASD belong to a group of illnesses known as trauma- and stressor-related disorders. Additional conditions in the same category include:

  • Disinhibited social engagement disorder
  • Reactive attachment disorder

Signs And Symptoms Of Ptsd

Trauma Triggers

PTSD develops differently from person to person because everyones nervous system and tolerance for stress is a little different. While youre most likely to develop symptoms of PTSD in the hours or days following a traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.

While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are four main types of symptoms.

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event through intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or intense mental or physical reactions when reminded of the trauma.
  • Avoidance and numbing, such as avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma, being unable to remember aspects of the ordeal, a loss of interest in activities and life in general, feeling emotionally numb and detached from others and a sense of a limited future.
  • Hyperarousal, including sleep problems, irritability, hypervigilance , feeling jumpy or easily startled, angry outbursts, and aggressive, self-destructive, or reckless behavior.
  • Negative thought and mood changes like feeling alienated and alone, difficulty concentrating or remembering, depression and hopelessness, feeling mistrust and betrayal, and feeling guilt, shame, or self-blame.
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    Coping With Lingering Traumatic Reactions

    How to Deal With Triggers From Trauma? At some point in their lives, most people go through a traumatic experience. Experiences of this type strain your normal ability cope emotionally.

    In most cases, people exposed to trauma will naturally regain their sense of emotional balance.

    However, this does not always happen. Instead, a significant number of exposed people develop lasting and damaging traumatic reactions.

    If you are affected by a long-term traumatic reaction, you may re-experience feelings of that reaction. And like the original trauma, these feelings can interfere with your normal ability to function. The things that cause you to re-experience traumatic feelings are often referred to as trauma triggers.

    Fortunately, with proper treatment, you can learn to cope with the effects of these triggers.

    Managing Them In The Moment

    Once youve identified your emotional triggers, you might think, Well, thats easy. All I have to do is avoid those situations.

    Its not really that simple, though. You cant avoid or escape from every difficult situation life throws at you. And its pretty much a guarantee that unpleasant emotions will come up occasionally.

    In other words, youre better off scrapping that getaway plan and preparing yourself to deal with any triggers that might come up in your day-to-day life.

    Here are a few pointers to help you respond.

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    The Five Stages Of Ptsd

    According to Australasian Psychiatry, over 1.15 million Australians or around 4.4% of our population experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder each year, and that number is set to rise to rates higher than ever previously reported.

    The groups of people in our community with the highest rates of PTSD emergency workers and Defence Force personnel were those called on in 2019 and 2020 to provide the bushfire response and assistance during COVID-19 quarantine and lockdowns.

    While these rates are expected to increase within these careers, the percentage is also increasing among health care workers who were quarantined. These pandemic heroes are now suffering PTSD at higher rates than the general public, due to the impact of COVID-19.

    Due to the traumatic events we are all seeing in our lifetime, the prevalence of PTSD in Australia will only increase.

    PTSD has long been associated with armed and emergency services, but we are finding that so many more everyday Australians are now dealing with the consequences of traumatic events, resulting in more and more PTSD, says Dr Anja Kriegeskotten, The Banyans Health and Wellness Consultant Psychiatrist.

    Added to this is Australias increase in mental illness in veterans, who currently suffer PTSD at rate of 17.7% in the four years after discharge.

    Sexual Assault And Ptsd

    Dealing with TRAUMA TRIGGERS

    A sexual assault is a nonconsensual sexual encounter between at least two individuals. This kind of assault may occur through physical force against the victim, using a date rape drug to make them intoxicated, or when the victim is otherwise unable to consent. Roughly one in every five women reports being raped or sexually assaulted during their lifetime. The numbers for men and children are less well known because these conditions are likely underreported.

    After the assault, the victim will likely experience confusion, anxiety, panic, guilt, shame, or fear. These are normal reactions to a traumatic event. However, if these feelings persist for several weeks, get worse over time, or do not occur until time has passed, the victim may develop PTSD.

    There are specific triggers associated with people struggling with PTSD after a sexual assault.

    Some of these may include:

    • Seeing the aggressor or someone who looks like the aggressor
    • Being in crowds
    • Certain clothing, smells, places, or foods
    • Verbal harassment on the street
    • Jokes, especially those about rape or assault
    • Trying to form relationships with others

    Because substance abuse and PTSD are closely associated, it is important to get help if signs of PTSD surface. People who are victims of assault, crime, natural disasters, accidents, or combat are not at fault for their condition, and they deserve evidence-based treatment to help them heal.

    Its Never Too Late to Get Help

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd In A Child

    Children and teens with PTSD feel a lot of emotional and physical distress when exposed to situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Some may relive the trauma over and over again. They may have nightmares and disturbing memories during the day. They may also:

    • Have problems sleeping

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    How To Identify And Cope With Your Ptsd Triggers

    Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.

    PTSD triggers may be all around you. Even though it may sometimes feel like PTSD symptoms come out-of-the-blue, PTSD symptoms rarely spontaneously occur.

    Instead, whether you are aware of it not, PTSD symptoms are often triggered or cued by something in our internal or external environment.

    Because certain thoughts, feelings, or situations can bring up uncomfortable PTSD symptoms, such as memories of a traumatic event or feelings of being on edge and anxious, one way of coping with these symptoms is by increasing your awareness of these triggers.

    You can prevent or lessen the impact of certain PTSD symptoms by identifying what specific types of thoughts, feelings, and situations trigger them, and then, take steps to limit the occurrence or impact of those triggers.

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    Seek Treatment At Red Oak Recovery Today

    At a PTSD treatment center, individuals can learn how to recognize their PTSD triggers. More importantly, clients learn how to cope with triggers through techniques like muscle relaxation, psychotherapy and mindfulness meditation. Through the right treatment program, individuals can recover from problems like substance use disorders, mental illnesses, and PTSD.

    In a treatment center, individuals can get help through options such as:

    • Gender-specific programming
    • Nutritional, physical, psychiatric and clinical evaluations
    • Dual diagnosis treatment
    • Family, group and individual therapy

    No one has to deal with the stress, fear and trauma of PTSD alone. At Red Oak Recovery, you can recover from PTSD and start a new page in your life. Find out more about our services by calling us at today.

    Kinds Of Ptsd Triggers

    Partner with PTSD: what is it like to have PTSD and how to ...

    Triggers can fall into two categories: Internal Triggers and External Triggers. Internal triggers are things that you feel or experience inside your body. Internal triggers include thoughts or memories, emotions, and bodily sensations .

    External triggers are situations, people, or places that you might encounter throughout your day . Listed below are some common internal and external triggers.

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    Treating Ptsd Triggers With Neurofeedback Therapy

    Trauma profoundly impacts our brains and our nervous systems. So, another useful technique for treating PTSD triggers is neurofeedback therapy. Here, both you and your therapist will obtain real-time data about how your brain processes a trigger. Heres what happens:

    • Sensors are connected from your head to an electroencephalography machine . This provides a readout of your brainwaves.
    • You and your therapist can observe this data in real-time, including periods when recalling a traumatic memory is stressful.
    • Through coaching, you train your stressed brain to respond differently.

    The advantage of this treatment method is that data supports positive change. In fact, many clients find that neurofeedback therapy can help undo even long term, treatment resistant anxiety, depression and insomnia. Here is one additional benefit: often clients report to me that because they like neurofeedback therapy because they dont have to talk so much about what happened to them. For them, that makes the trauma treatment easier.

    What Are Complex Ptsd Triggers

    One of the hallmarks of Post Traumatic stress disorder is the presence of intrusive symptoms. Common PTSD symptoms are:

    • Memory flashbacks
    • Physical or emotional reactivity to triggers

    Thats not all. Clients with PTSD also commonly experience:

    A trigger is an event or situation that stimulates a trauma symptom. For example, Marion saw me for Complex PTSD treatment. During the course of her trauma therapy, we used both neurofeedback therapy and EMDR. While she ultimately benefited enormously, working in these modalities were not without their challenges.

    Neurofeedback therapy required my gently placing sensors on her head. And due to her history growing up with a violent mother, this took her some time to get used to. In the beginning, her heart raced and her hands trembled when I would approach her. When we began EMDR treatment for her Complex PTSD, her hypervigilant fear spiked whenever she would begin a session, as she felt highly vulnerable not being able to focus some of her attention on the office door.

    Fortunately, Marion was blessed with a stubborn determination. She patiently worked with herself and me and gave herself plenty of time to get used to all the triggers that arose for her in trauma therapy.

    An added burden that many C-PTSD clients bear, is that their bodies have learned to expect relationships to be dangerous. So that means that complex trauma therapy itself can become a lot more complicated.

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    Rape Or Sexual Trauma

    The trauma of being raped or sexually assaulted can be shattering, leaving you feeling scared, ashamed, and alone, or plagued by nightmares, flashbacks, and other unpleasant memories. But no matter how bad you feel right now, its important to remember that you werent to blame for what happened, and you can regain your sense of safety, trust, and self-worth.

    Types Of Treatment For Ptsd

    How to Deal with Triggers from Trauma

    The sooner a person dealing with PTSD seeks help and treatment the better. Symptoms can get worse over time if they are not addressed. Finding a therapist to help process a persons trauma and relieve symptoms is essential for someone with PTSD. There are several types of PTSD treatment that can be effective.

    At Lasting Recovery, we provide both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in peer group sessions for individuals struggling with PTSD. These two therapeutic approaches help individuals learn how to manage distressing emotions, traumatic memories, and negative behavior patterns.

    Another therapeutic process we provide at Lasting Recovery is EMDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Combining eye movements and other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation , works to reboot the brains information processing system, which can often be disrupted by traumatic stress.

    Medication is another way to help someone handle PTSD. Prescriptions can help address feelings of depression and anxiety, but medication cannot treat the root causes of PTSD. Our board-certified medical director works individually with each Lasting Recovery client to ensure they are receiving the appropriate mental health treatment for both their symptoms and their long-term needs.

    Lasting Recovery is here to help you or your family member manage their PTSD. Contact our trained staff today to learn about our treatment program and the many ways we can assist you.

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    Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing

    Finally, an incredibly powerful tool for treating PTSD triggers is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy . With EMDR, you and your therapist identify topics that need to be treated. Then, you participate in an EMDR session where you recall a specific topic while your therapist waves a pen or finger in front of your eyes. They may also provide specific coaching as well. The combination of memory recall and physical movement engages the brain. It allows both hemispheres of the brain to process the trauma optimally and accurately. This promotes safe storage in your long-term memory.

    Finally, PTSD triggers can be distressing and interfere with your quality of life. But treating PTSD and these corresponding triggers is possible. We have several options available for trauma treatment including CBT, Neurofeedback, and EMDR. Please contact me to learn more about trauma counseling soon.

    What Are Ptsd Triggers

    First, its helpful to explore what PTSD triggers are and how they affect you. A PTSD trigger is, in many ways, a reminder. Exposure to a trigger causes your mind to reexperience a terrible event or time period. Anything could be a trigger. For example:

    • seeing a news report on TV
    • hearing an explosion or sudden, loud, noise
    • touching objects connected to the trauma
    • tasting food
    • smelling an odor, such as gasoline, perfume, or cologne

    In some ways, our brains do this when we interact with the world. For instance, the smell of fresh-baked bread might remind you of your travels to Italy. With trauma, its a bit different. A triggering event sends your brain back to the traumatic experience. You relive it in detail. This happens because your brain still hasnt fully processed what happened and is stuck in danger mode. So, how to deal with PTSD triggers? An important step is finding a therapist who specializes in treating trauma.

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    Identify Early Signs Of Triggers

    Sometimes, triggers may seem like they come out of nowhere and youre swept away to memories of a traumatic event.

    When triggers happen, there are usually early cues or signs that the traumatic memory is being triggered. The key is learning to identify those early symptoms.

    5 Ways to Identify early Trigger Symptoms

    Increase your awareness by identifying early trigger symptoms, by Very Well Mind.

  • What happened right before the flashback or dissociation?
  • What were you feeling? Change in mood?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What was happening around you or to you? Did the situation become stressful?
  • How does your body feel when stressed? Pressure in your chest? Suddenly sweating?
  • The more you practice increasing your awareness of yourself and your surroundings, the more aware you will become.

    How Do Children And Teens React To Trauma

    PTSD: Coping, Support, and Living Well

    Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as those seen in adults. In young children under the age of 6, symptoms can include:

    • Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
    • Forgetting how or being unable to talk
    • Acting out the scary event during playtime
    • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult

    Older children and teens usually show symptoms more like those seen in adults. They also may develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They also may have thoughts of revenge.

    For more information, see the National Institute of Mental Health brochure, Helping Children and Adolescents Cope With Disasters and Other Traumatic Events.

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