What Can I Do To Help Myself
It is important to know that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment. Here are some things you can do to help yourself:
- Talk with your health care provider about treatment options, and follow your treatment plan.
- Engage in exercise, mindfulness, or other activities that help reduce stress.
- Try to maintain routines for meals, exercise, and sleep.
- Set realistic goals and do what you can as you are able.
- Spend time with trusted friends or relatives, and tell them about things that may trigger symptoms.
- Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Avoid use of alcohol or drugs.
Finding A Therapist For Ptsd
When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.
Beyond credentials and experience, its important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe. Trust your gut if a therapist doesnt feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel comfortable and understood.
Also Check: Phobia Medical Definition
Identify The Signs Of Ptsd
You can learn how to help someone with PTSD by knowing the signs. Learning to recognize the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in a friend or loved one means youll be able to understand when theyve been triggered and can take action.
Some of the main PTSD warning signs to keep an eye out for:
- General negative mood symptoms
- Vivid memories of a traumatic event
- Having extreme reactions in unwarranted situations
- Unable to be vulnerable with others
- Feeling stuck in one area of your life despite best efforts
Many people with untreated PTSD engage in alcohol use, drug use, or other self-destructive behaviors. They are commonly used because they offer short-term help by making you feel better in the moment, however, they ultimately create long term problems. Think of it as bandaid to a deeper wound that needs proper healing.
Its important to remember that post-traumatic stress disorder is treatable. Progress can be made to lessen symptom frequency and severity in a relatively short time. Learning self-healing techniques can be beneficial for anyone with PTSD. If symptoms are allowed to continue untreated, theyll generally worsen over time. This is why its essential to begin healing and learning today.
Also Check: What Can Schizophrenia Do To You
Other Effects Of Ptsd
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you might also find that you have difficulty with some everyday aspects of your life, such as:
- looking after yourself
- remembering things and making decisions
- your sex drive
- coping with change
- simply enjoying your leisure time.
If you drive you may have to tell the DVLA that you have PTSD. For more information on your right to drive, including when and how to contact the DVLA, see our legal pages on fitness to drive.
My behaviour changed and became erratic. I would alternate from wanting to shut myself away and not see or talk to anyone to going out to parties in the middle of the week and staying out late.
Common Internal Ptsd Triggers
- Physical discomfort, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, sickness, and sexual frustration.
- Any bodily sensation that recalls the trauma, including pain, old wounds and scars, or a similar injury.
- Strong emotions, especially feeling helpless, out of control, or trapped.
- Feelings toward family members, including mixed feelings of love, vulnerability, and resentment.
You May Like: Can You Get Rid Of Panic Attacks
How To Diagnose Ptsd
The first step in diagnosing trauma is making an appointment with a doctor, preferably someone trained in mental health disorders. The doctor will talk with the patient to determine their state of mind. The practitioner will have to determine whether the prerequisite symptoms for PTSD are present before deciding how to proceed. For a diagnosis of PTSD, the patient must have experienced the following for at least one month:
- At least one event in which they re-experience symptoms
- At least three avoidance symptoms
- At least two hyperarousal symptoms
- Symptoms that interfere with daily life activities
Create Healthier Coping Strategies
It is often said that the best way to overcome an unhealthy coping strategy is to put a healthy coping strategy in its place. This helps you get some relief without making you feel as if you have to stop a behavior “cold turkey.”
For example, you may decide to seek out social support or distract yourself whenever you feel like engaging in the unhealthy behavior. Or maybe you do self-soothing exercises or practice mindfulness. There are many options to consider.
Admittedly, these may be very hard to do during a crisis situation, and you may not feel as though they’re working that well. However, the more you use these healthier coping strategies, the more distance you put between yourself and an unhealthy behavior.
Also Check: Is Bipolar A Mental Disorder
Rebuild Trust And Safety
Trauma alters how a person with PTSD sees the making, and it might even seem like a dangerous and frightening place. If theres any way you can rebuild their sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery in the long term. You should express your commitment to the relationship and let them know youre here for them so that they feel supported and loved.
Supporting A Loved One Through Ptsd Or Panic Attacks
This cartoon , in my opinion, illustrates the perfect way to handle every PTSD or anxiety episode. If I could actually live inside a blanket fort forever, I would.
Unfortunately, flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, memories, triggers, and all those other lovely things that survivors have to live with dont have the courtesy to always wait for blanket forts to be available.
Its scary for the person experiencing the attack, but its also scary for any loved ones who are trying to comfort and support someone through an attack.
This post is for the supporters.
Often in the midst of the episode, the distressed person doesnt necessarily have their full vocabulary and cant articulate exactly what they need in that moment. Afterwards, they may avoid talking about it out of embarrassment, fear, or a desire to preserve the peacefulness of the present.
So how do you learn what is helpful?
If youre like my partner, mostly through trial and error. However, this cartoon inspired me to draw up a list of tips, taking from my own preferences as well as those of some friends. Theyre not universal, but theyre a starting point, I think, for the right mindset.
Usually when someone is having an episode, theyre not actually in danger. Their body just thinks they are in danger. The first step to helping anyone is to remind them of their safety. It seems obvious, but just telling them theyre going to be okay can alleviate some of the stress of whats happening.
Also Check: What Is Another Name For Schizophrenia
Is It A Ptsd Attack Knowing The Signs And Symptoms
Once relegated to the annals of wartime histories and considered a plague specific to individuals who have seen or fought in the war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an increasingly common problem and one that does not require a history of military service or presence in a war-torn country. Instead, PTSD is being recognized as an issue plaguing adults and children alike, with causes ranging from a traumatic event recognized by almost everyone , to a more covert traumatic event, such as a case of narcissistic abuse. Regardless of the exact trigger or traumatic event at the core of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a treatable disorder, and individuals who have been diagnosed are not alone in their experiences. If you start to notice any signs of PTSD, it’s important that you seek help in case a treatment plan is necessary.
What You Can Do To Help Someone With Ptsd
Although post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may seem overwhelming and frightening, there are numerous ways you can help someone with PTSD. Keep the following in mind:
- Learn about PTSD triggers: Situations that remind your son or daughter of past trauma can trigger PTSD symptoms. For example, a person who experienced a car accident may have a panic attack when asked to get into a car. For how to deal with PTSD triggers, Gent said its important to understand that rationalizing or trying to logically or rationally eliminate the effects of the trigger or symptoms is ineffective, increases feelings of shame, and damages relationships. Instead, he advised you attune with your childs needs, sit with them during these intense moments, and use eye contact, safe touch, empathy, and words of affirmation and acceptance to create an emotional experience of unconditional love.
Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Fear And Phobia
Why Do Some People Develop Ptsd And Other People Do Not
Not everyone who lives through a dangerous event develops PTSDmany factors play a part. Some of these factors are present before the trauma others become important during and after a traumatic event.
Risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing of PTSD include:
- Exposure to dangerous events or traumas
- Getting hurt or seeing people hurt or killed
- Childhood trauma
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
- Having little or no social support after the event
- Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home
- Having a personal history or family history of mental illness or substance use
Resilience factors that may reduce the likelihood of developing PTSD include:
- Seeking out support from friends, family, or support groups
- Learning to feel okay with ones actions in response to a traumatic event
- Having a coping strategy for getting through and learning from a traumatic event
- Being prepared and able to respond to upsetting events as they occur, despite feeling fear
Recommended Reading: Is Sex Good For Depression
Ptsd And The Importance Of Therapy
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious mental illness triggered by experiences that are terrifying, life-threatening, or perceived as life-threatening. Potential causes of PTSD include being a victim of assault, witnessing violence, being in a terrible accident, or seeing combat in the military.
Not everyone develops PTSD after a traumatic experience, but those who do struggle with disruptive, frightening, and difficult symptoms including:
- Intrusive and scary memories
- Irritability and angry outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
Because this mental illness is so disruptive to a normal, satisfying life, professional treatment is essential. Therapy is the foundation of treatment, which teaches patients to change their negative thoughts, cope with difficult memories, and relate better to other people. There are several types of therapy with a trauma focus that can be very helpful for managing and reducing symptoms.
Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Blood Phobia
Treatments For Night Terrors
The most important treatment for night terrors is addressing the underlying condition. For someone with PTSD, this means regular therapy, trauma-focused therapy, and in some cases medications. Because PTSD is so serious, and symptoms like night terrors can be so disruptive, a residential mental health facility is often a good idea. It gives the individual the chance to benefit from intensive treatment, round-the-clock safety, and the ability to focus on their wellness.
Successful treatment of PTSD should reduce and ultimately eliminate night terrors. In the meantime, strategies such as managing stress, meditation, good sleep hygiene, and anticipatory waking can help. Anticipatory waking means setting an alarm to wake up about 15 minutes before the terrors usually begin.
Begin Your Recovery Journey Today.
Ways To Help Someone Experiencing Dissociation
Our bodies seem to want to protect us when our environments or even our own heads feel too scary to sit with. I believe this is why dissociation occurs. Dissociation is a protective measure. It is a way of disconnecting ourselves from the triggers that are making us feel unsafe or out of control.
Dissociation feels different for every person. For me, it feels like being in control of my own actions and my own body, but feeling like I am in a dream. Nothing around me feels real, even if I logically know it is truly happening. It is like watching my life happen around me, but being more dead than I am alive. When I come out of these dissociative episodes, I often dont remember what happened during the episode, and sometimes am disoriented about where I currently am. The aftermath of a dissociative episode can bring up panic, fear, embarrassment and so many other feelings. It is important to know that dissociation occurs within the context of post-traumatic stress disorder , anxiety disorders, depressive disorders and other mental illnesses. It can also occur without the context of a mental illness. Many people may find that they dissociate during times of everyday stressful situations, but may not know that what happened was dissociation.
Heres how you can help someone having a dissociative episode cope with this truly frightening feeling. These tips can also be applied to yourself if you are struggling with dissociation.
1. Take the person to a safe space.
You May Like: What To Do When Your Partner Has A Panic Attack
Why Does Dissociation Happen
Dissociation is usually a trauma-response, which can be a mental, emotional or physical response after exposure to a person, place, or thing that is reminiscent of the trauma that was experienced. Dissociation is a coping skill for trauma survivors, it allows the person to continue functioning at a moment of severe traumatization. Situations that are threatening or non-threatening, directly related or seemingly unrelated to the original trauma, can trigger a dissociative state all the same. Dissociation can occur during or after a traumatic event. Dissociation happens usually as an automatic response, and is typically a state entered subconsciously or in other words the person enters a dissociative state without their knowledge. Dissociation happens usually without planning or awareness.Some things that can cause dissociation include:
- traumatic events
- difficult relationships
Ptsd Treatment And Therapy
Treatment for PTSD can relieve symptoms by helping you deal with the trauma youve experienced. A doctor or therapist will encourage you to recall and process the emotions you felt during the original event in order to reduce the powerful hold the memory has on your life.
During treatment, youll also explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma, work through feelings of guilt and mistrust, learn how to cope with intrusive memories, and address the problems PTSD has caused in your life and relationships.
The types of treatment available for PTSD include:
Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to feelings and situations that remind you of the trauma, and replacing distorted and irrational thoughts about the experience with a more balanced picture.
Family therapy can help your loved ones understand what youre going through and help you work through relationship problems together as a family.
Medication is sometimes prescribed to people with PTSD to relieve secondary symptoms of depression or anxiety, although they do not treat the causes of PTSD.
EMDR incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation, such as hand taps or sounds. These techniques work by unfreezing the brains information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress.
Don’t Miss: When Do Symptoms Of Schizophrenia Appear
Helping Someone With Ptsd
This page provides suggestions and help on how to help rebuild the trust and safety between you both, along with information on how to help deal with flashbacks or panic attacks and anger that may result from PTSD.
TIPS FOR REBUILDING TRUST AND SAFETY
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages peoples ability to trust others and themselves.
Anything you can do to rebuild your loved ones sense of security will contribute to recovery. This means cultivating a safe environment, acting in a dependable and reassuring way, and stepping in to help when needed. But it also means finding ways to empower the person. Smothering someone with PTSD or doing things for them that theyre capable of doing for themselves is counterproductive. Better to build their confidence and self-trust by giving them more choices and control.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO INCREASE YOUR LOVED ONES SENSE OF SAFETY
ENCOURAGING AND SUPPORTING TREATMENT
Despite the importance of your love and support, it isnt always enough. Many people who have been traumatized need professional PTSD treatment. But bringing it up can be touchy. Think about how youd feel if someone suggested that you needed therapy.
HOW TO HELP IN THE MIDDLE OF A FLASHBACK OR PANIC ATTACK
TIPS FOR COPING WITH PTSD IN THE FAMILY
What Are Flashbacks
A flashback is a vivid experience in which you relive some aspects of a traumatic event or feel as if it is happening right now. This can sometimes be like watching a video of what happened, but flashbacks do not necessarily involve seeing images, or reliving events from start to finish. You might experience any of the following:
- seeing full or partial images of what happened
- noticing sounds, smells or tastes connected to the trauma
- feeling physical sensations, such as pain or pressure
- experiencing emotions that you felt during the trauma.
You might notice that particular places, people or situations can trigger a flashback for you, which could be due to them reminding you of the trauma in some way. Or you might find that flashbacks seem to happen at random. Flashbacks can last for just a few seconds, or continue for several hours or even days.
You can read some tips on how to cope with flashbacks on our page on self-care for PTSD.
I feel like I’m straddling a timeline where the past is pulling me in one direction and the present another. I see flashes of images and noises burst through, fear comes out of nowhere. My heart races, my breathing is loud and I no longer know where I am.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Spell Phobia