Go To Appointments With Them
It can be intimidating going to the doctor, a psychiatrist, therapy, or other forms of treatment all on your own especially when you know youre going to have to face your triggers. Its scary as fuck! So, give your loved one that extra bit of support by joining them when they have treatments . Even if you cant go in with them, just knowing youre there waiting for them can be a huge comfort.
Tip : Learn Ways To Cool Down Quickly
Once you know how to recognize the warning signs that your temper is rising and anticipate your triggers, you can act quickly to deal with your anger before it spins out of control. There are many techniques that can help you cool down and keep your anger in check.
Focus on the physical sensations of anger. While it may seem counterintuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when youre angry often lessens the emotional intensity of your anger.
Take some deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counteract rising tension. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible into your lungs.
Get moving. A brisk walk around the block is a great idea. Physical activity releases pent-up energy so you can approach the situation with a cooler head.
Use your senses. You can use sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to quickly relieve stress and cool down. You might try listening to a favorite piece of music, looking at a treasured photo, savoring a cup of tea, or stroking a pet.
Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.
Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.
Give yourself a reality check
When you start getting upset about something, take a moment to think about the situation. Ask yourself:
Reframe The Situation Into Something Positive
My interest in trauma is based on personal experience. About four years ago, I was in a serious bicycle accident that caused multiple injuries, put me in a coma for weeks, and took more than a year to recover from. I walk with a slight limp and still suffer from fatigue from the brain injury.
During my early recovery in a rehab hospital, I met regularly with a psychiatrist who talked to me about my trauma during every session. At that time, it was unclear how well I would recover.
I was learning to manage simple tasks like dressing myself, how to type on a computer and how to walk again on a badly damaged leg with an impaired sense of balance. He dug into the impact of my trauma on my life,career and family.
One day I asked him if he was treating me for PTSD.
No, he said, youre one of the fortunate ones. Because of the way youre processing your accident, and the way youre thinking and even writing about it, your trauma probably wont define you negatively. In fact, its likely to become a turning point in your life, and one that in many ways will strengthen you. Through introspection, and telling your story, youll learn many valuable lessons about yourself.
During one workshop, I told my story as a way to illustrate the technique. It dawned on me that many of their stories were about traumatic experiences, yet most of them were not exhibiting serious symptoms of PTSD. At least to my untrained eye.
Certified Trauma Recovery Coach
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How Is Ptsd Treated
PTSD doesnt usually go away on its own. Getting treatment and support can make all the difference.
Mental health providers have the experience to work with patients with PTSD. Treatment for PTSD can include therapy and/or medicines to help with anxiety, mood problems, and sleep issues.
Therapy for PTSD is called trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy . This type of talk therapy uses talking and learning activities, guided by a mental health therapist. It can help anyone who has been through a trauma, not just people with PTSD. Getting therapy soon after a trauma helps them cope well.
PTSD therapy often includes:
- cognitive processing therapy activities: to help with thoughts and feelings about the trauma
- prolonged exposure activities: to help someone lower anxiety and learn to safely face things they avoid after trauma
- eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy : combined cognitive therapy with directed eye movements to reduce the power and pain of the trauma. This helps the brain reprocess memory of the trauma. There are therapists who specialize in this type of trauma therapy.
Trauma therapists also guide parents on how to listen and show they understand. The support of caring adults helps young people open up, feel safe, and do well.
Ptsd Is A Very Real Illness
PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that occurs after a traumatic event, like war combat. Experts estimate 8 million adults have PTSD to varying degrees each year in the United States. Like depression or other mental and behavioral issues, its not something that a person can snap out of.
Symptoms arise anywhere from three months to years after the triggering event. In order to be characterized as PTSD, the person must exhibit these traits:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom . D. installed security cameras in his home to monitor threats and had terrible nightmares.
- At least one avoidance symptom. D. didnt like crowds and would avoid activities that included a lot of people.
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms. D. had a very short fuse and would get frustrated easily when he wasnt understood.
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms, which includes negative self-esteem, guilt, or blame. D. would often say to me, Why do you love me? I dont see what you see.
D. once described his PTSD to me like a constant waiting game for ghosts to jump from around the corner. It was a reminder that bad things happened, and that that feeling might never stop. Loud noises made it worse, like thunder, fireworks, or truck backfire.
There was a time we sat outside watching fireworks, and he held my hand until my knuckles turned white, telling me the only way he could sit through them was to have me next to him.
He also had explosive outbursts of rage, which left me in tears.
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Tip : Anticipate And Manage Triggers
A trigger is anythinga person, place, thing, or situationthat reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers dont have to be external. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.
Living With Someone Coping With Ptsd
Living with a person who is struggling with PTSD is a challenge, but you shouldnt feel alone when supporting the person you love. You should never take these symptoms personally because PTSD hijacks the nervous system and causes a constant state of hyper-awareness.
Consider the following strategies to help you cope with another persons PTSD. These include:
- Writing out your feelings and thoughts that you want to work through or discuss during therapy sessions
- Having a plan for setting boundaries, such as expressing discomfort with topics
- Writing down questions or goals for improvement that you have about PTSD, which could be coping with it and healing from it
Written by: Christopher Schumacher
About Vista Pines Health: Vista Pines Health is a mental health treatment program that is dedicated to providing quality care to those who are suffering from mental disorders. Conveniently located in sunny Pembroke Pines, Florida, we help clients, from all over the country, find healing from conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Our programs are designed to put the client first every step of the way, helping them conquer the struggles they deal with on a daily basis.
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Keep Listening With Empathy
Dont shut down, no matter how much you may want to. Continue to listen actively, and be empathetic. One reason that its a good idea to give us a call is that were trained to handle some of those harsher truths, so you wont have to bear all of them on your own.
Repetition can also get hard to deal with, but allow yourself to focus on the hopeful details. Look for small changes, and find ways to make this moment feel less uncomfortable. Yes, the truth is that youre going to have mixed feelings about all of this.
One day you might feel annoyed, and another day youll feel tired or frustrated. Youre not the only one. Acknowledge these feelings and keep going. Talk to someone from our hotline, or find a trained professional near you to help process your stress, which can be substantial.
How To Help Someone With Complex Ptsd
Its awful to see someone you love suffer. You see how anxious and triggered they can get. Their mood swings. You see how troubled they become in intimate relationships. And you say to yourself I wish I knew how to help someone with Complex PTSD.
Complex PTSD is the result of surviving repeated abuse. Sadly, it often occurs at the hands of those who are supposed to love and care for us the most. Often the signs of complex trauma are overlooked. The survivor my struggle with how to explain complex PTSD to their loved ones.
Its this fact that is makes recovery from C-PTSD so challenging.
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Research On Caregiver Burden
A few studies have looked at caregiver burden among partners caring for loved ones with PTSD. In one study, researchers looked at 154 spouses of veterans with PTSD. They found that the severity of the veterans’ PTSD symptoms was connected to the amount of caregiver burden and distress experienced by the spouse.
As the veterans’ PTSD symptoms got worse, their spouses’ caregiver burden and distress increased.
Researchers have also looked at how PTSD symptoms such as depression, anger, and violence play out in relationships between people with PTSD and their caregivers. There may be a connection between how much detail about the trauma is shared with a partner and mental distress in the relationship, but more research is needed to better understand the issues.
Studies looking at the wives of combat veterans have found that the stress associated with caregiving can have damaging psychological consequences. Among wives of combat veterans with PTSD, there was an increased risk not only of PTSD, but somatic disease, clinical depression, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and an increased level of suicidality.
Tip : Stay Calm By Taking Care Of Yourself
Taking care of your overall mental and physical well-being can help ease tension and diffuse anger problems.
Manage stress. If your stress levels are through the roof, youre more likely to struggle controlling your temper. Try practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or deep breathing. Youll feel calmer and more in control of your emotions.
Talk to someone you trust. Nothing eases stress more effectively than chatting face-to-face with a friend or loved one. The person doesnt have to provide answers, they just need to be a good listener. But talking about your feelings and seeking a different perspective on a situation is not the same as venting. Simply venting your anger at someone will only fuel your temper and reinforce your anger problem.
Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate negative thoughts and leave you feeling agitated and short-tempered. Try to get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep.
Exercise regularly. Its an effective way to burn-off tension and ease stress, and it can leave you feeling more relaxed and positive throughout the day. Aim for at least 30 minutes on most days, broken up into shorter periods if thats easier.
Be smart about alcohol and drugs. They lower your inhibitions and can make it even harder to control your anger. Even consuming too muchcaffeine can make you more irritable and prone to anger.
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Next Steps For Ptsd Research
In the last decade, progress in research on the mental and biological foundations of PTSD has lead scientists to focus on better understanding the underlying causes of why people experience a range of reactions to trauma.
- NIMH-funded researchers are exploring trauma patients in acute care settings to better understand the changes that occur in individuals whose symptoms improve naturally.
- Other research is looking at how fear memories are affected by learning, changes in the body, or even sleep.
- Research on preventing the development of PTSD soon after trauma exposure is also under way.
- Other research is attempting to identify what factors determine whether someone with PTSD will respond well to one type of intervention or another, aiming to develop more personalized, effective, and efficient treatments.
- As gene research and brain imaging technologies continue to improve, scientists are more likely to be able to pinpoint when and where in the brain PTSD begins. This understanding may then lead to better targeted treatments to suit each persons own needs or even prevent the disorder before it causes harm.
Ptsd In Children And Teenagers
Older children and teenagers experience similar problems to adults when they develop PTSD. Younger children can express distress in a different way. For example, they may re-live the traumatic event through repetitive play rather than having unwanted memories of the event during the day. Many children have frightening dreams without recognisable content rather than nightmares that replay the traumatic event. Children may also lose interest in play, become socially withdrawn, or have extreme temper tantrums.
About one third of children who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Other problems that can develop alongside PTSD include anxiety or depression, defiant behaviour, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and in teenagers and young adults, suicidal thoughts and alcohol or drug use.
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Understanding Ptsd In Veterans
Are you having a hard time readjusting to life out of the military? Are you always on edge, always on the verge of panicking or exploding, or, on the flip side, do you feel emotionally numb and disconnected from your loved ones? Do you believe that youll never feel normal again?
For all too many veterans, these are common experienceslingering symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder . Its hard living with untreated PTSD and, with long V.A. wait times, its easy to get discouraged. But you can feel better, and you can start today, even while youre waiting for professional treatment. There are many things you can do to help yourself overcome PTSD and come out the other side even stronger than before.
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.
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Educate Yourself On Ptsd
This condition tends to be misunderstood, and theres often a stigma attached to it. If you have a friend who is struggling with PTSD, start by learning about it. Learn not only the symptoms but also learn about how it can make people feel and the emotional experience that can come with PTSD.
Learning about PTSD and gaining PTSD education can help you be more understanding and empathetic, and can also clear up misconceptions you might have.
When you learn more about PTSD, youll see that most peoples experiences arent like what you see in popular culture. The symptoms and the effects of PTSD can be more subtle and less overt, but no less difficult for the person experiencing them.
Look After Your Own Mental Health
It’s important to remember that your mental health matters too. Our pages on supporting someone else to seek help, how to cope when supporting someone else, managing stress and maintaining your wellbeing all have lots of information and tips on how to look after yourself.
Support options for you
A traumatic event can have a major impact not just on those who lived through it, but also on that person’s close family, friends and colleagues.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in healthcare – says professionals should consider the impact of traumatic events on relatives and think about how to provide appropriate care.
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