Prioritize Your Mental Health
Taking care of your mental health and developing healthy coping strategies can reduce resting anxiety, the general level of anxiety you feel before experiencing any trigger, says Boateng. Lowering your level of resting anxiety makes it much more manageable, and when youre able to manage your anxiety and fear at this level, youre better able to manage stressors and triggers when they happen, she says.
A strategy Boateng recommends is talking to a therapist or a related mental health professional for emotional support during fireworks season. Another option is spending quality time with trusted friends and family members and telling them about things that may trigger symptoms, as well as how they can support you if those symptoms flare, she adds.
Who Is At Risk For Post
You can develop PTSD at any age. Many risk factors play a part in whether you will develop PTSD. They include
- Your sex; women are more likely to develop PTSD
- Having had trauma in childhood
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
- Going through a traumatic event that lasts a long time
- 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 history of mental illness or substance use
How Can I Find Help
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides the NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Getting Professional Help For Ptsd
If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder, its important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is treated, the easier it is to overcome. If youre reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.
Its only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, PTSD will only get worse. You cant escape your emotions completelythey emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guardand trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.
Why you should seek help for PTSD
Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.
Ptsd: National Center For Ptsd
Available en Español
People respond to traumatic events in a number of ways. They may feel concern, anger, fear, or helplessness. These are all typical responses to a violent, malicious, or traumatic event. However, research shows that people who have been through trauma, loss, or hardship in the past may be even more likely than others to be affected by new, potentially traumatic events.
Here a bag of trash is usually a bag of trash. Over there, who knows what’s inside of it.
Everyone Thinks They Understand Ptsd But What Is It Really
Posted August 1, 2014
You cant turn on the television or read a newspaper or blog without hearing about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .Yet most people have no idea of what it is, or that you can truly recover from it. Some writers say you never, ever heal and that there is always a hurt and reminder from severe trauma. However, there are many people, myself included, who believe that when getting the proper treatment, you can heal and recover from PTSD.
If you have PTSD, you know that even the slightest sound or movement can trigger a wider array of symptoms from slight dissociation of current time and place , to total dissociation, where you are reliving the traumatic event again, such as the death of a spouse.
Create Safety And Stabilization In Cptsd Recovery
One of the key issues with C-PTSD is your need and craving for security. The first step in recovering from complex CPTSD is the safety and stabilization phase. This includes both physical safety and emotional safety. You cant even begin to recover from CPTSD unless you feel protected. So a good trauma therapist will help you develop a deep felt sense of calm stability.
Youll also learn skills that support that.
For a significant period, a sense of safety was not present in your life. So its very likely that your nervous system has an overactive habit of of being in fight, flight or freeze responses. One of the hallmarks of trauma is that it leaves your nervous system chronically dysregulated. And if you suffer from CPTSD, then relationships are triggers. Because therapy involves relating to another person, its usually a trigger too. But, when you learn how to help your body feel and recognize safety, you can then learn how to have your needs met.
Over time, you can begin to increasingly feel steady and support yourself. Yes, we all need food, water, shelter, etc. But we also need to know that we wont be hurt or punished for expressing thoughts and feelings. Physical, mental, and emotional support are vital for all of us.
Do bear in mind that at any other step in the stages of healing you might need to come back to safety and stabilization.
Breathe Deeply And Slowly
Breathing exercises are another critical coping strategy for managing PTSD. When we are anxious or afraid, our bodys survival system kicks in, Bryan notes. Because of that, our breathing becomes shallow and fast, our hearts start to race, and we start sweating. This is a programmed biological response.
Slow, deep breaths send a physical message to the brain to quiet this survival response, essentially telling the brain that everything is okay and its safe to calm down, he explains. This technique works best in a crisis if you practice it repeatedly when feeling safe.
Identifying And Recognizing Ptsd Triggers
Identifying PTSD triggers is not always obvious; someone with PTSD might not be aware of what sets them off or provokes their feelings of fear or anger. This is particularly true with sensory triggers like smells, colors, tastes or touch. Recognizing triggers may require a combination of talk therapy, or observation by a psychiatrist to examine parts of the environment that provoke an emotional response.
Recognizing PTSD triggers when they occur can be different for different people. While some people may be fearful or avoidant, others may be angry, aggressive or panicked. While some people may be able to recognize these behaviors in themselves, others may not. In these cases, healthcare professionals and family and friends may be needed to help to identify triggers.
What Can I Do If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- ask a relative, friend or advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a legal right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.
You can find out more about:
Ptsd In Military Veterans
For all too many veterans, returning from military service means coping with symptoms of PTSD. You may have a hard time readjusting to life out of the military. Or you may constantly feel on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding. But its important to know that youre not alone and there are plenty of ways you can deal with nightmares and flashbacks, cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, and regain your sense of control.
When To Get Medical Advice
It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but most people improve naturally over a few weeks.
You should see a GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome.
If necessary, your GP can refer you to mental health specialists for further assessment and treatment.
Connect With Other People
Interacting with other people doesnt mean that youll have to talk to them constantly.
It is important for veterans dealing with PTSD to look for a person who is willing to listen without judgment when you share your feelings or just hang out when you dont feel like opening up.
They can be your significant other, a family member, one of your friends from the service, or even your civilian friends.
What Events Can Lead To The Development Of Ptsd
You dont have to experience a specific trauma to develop PTSD. Many people associate this disorder with military veterans. While PTSD is common in military populations, simply witnessing an event, like a car accident, can trigger PTSD symptoms.
In these cases, painful, traumatic memories can appear out of nowhere, creating intense physical and emotional reactions. During World War I, this was referred to as shell shock. When the horrors of war were too much for the brain to manage, the brain, or at least part of the brain, simply shut off.
Children and teens often experience PTSD as a result of traumas that impact them, such as school shootings, domestic violence, auto accidents, neglect, or abuse. 15-43% of adolescents will experience a traumatic event, with about a quarter of those individuals experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
How Is Ptsd Diagnosed
A psychiatrist will diagnose PTSD through a mental health assessment. Your GP should carry out an initial assessment to decide what care you need. Your assessment should include information about:
- your physical needs,
- your social needs, and
As part of the assessment they will decide if you need to be referred to the community mental health team . You should be referred to the CMHT if you have had symptoms for more than 4 weeks. Or your symptoms are very bad. A CMHT is part of the NHS. They are a team of mental health professionals.
Doctors use the following manuals to help to diagnose you:
- International Classification of Diseases produced by the World Health Organisation , and
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association.
The manuals are guides which explain different mental health conditions.
Learn As Much As You Can About Stress Acute Stress And The More Difficult Forms Of Ptsd And Chronic Stress Learn To Manage Your Primary Symptoms
Knowledge is power. When you know you are not crazy or losing your mind but that the things you are experiencing are common responses to what you have been through, then it is easier to look for the things others have found useful in recovering from their chronic stress.
Accept what you feel. Try to learn to feel what you are feeling rather than run from the uncomfortable feelings. The feelings will come and go. Learn that you dont have to run from feelings, but you do need to move away from real danger.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Post
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is considered to be one of the leading psychological treatments for post-traumatic stress. All of our online courses use CBT strategies to help ease symptoms. Click below to see if CBT can help you tackle your symptoms to improve the way you feel.
Strategies for Managing Post-Traumatic Stress
People with PTSD often feel stressed, nauseous, tense, and irritable. This is generally because the traumatic thing they experienced has made them feel vulnerable to danger their mind feels like it needs to be on high alertat all times. Relaxation strategies can help reduce the physical symptoms of stress and help people with PTSD start to feel safe again. These can be formal therapeutic strategies, like progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing, or the things that people normally do to relax, like yoga, aromatherapy, or having a warm bath.
Coping with Symptoms of PTSD
Its generally recommended that people with PTSD seek professional help. However, some of the below strategies may help you manage some PTSD symptoms.
How Can I Help A Friend Or Relative Who Has Ptsd
If you know someone who may be experiencing PTSD, the most important thing you can do is to help that person get the right diagnosis and treatment. Some people may need help making an appointment with their health care provider; others may benefit from having someone accompany them to their health care visits.
If a close friend or relative is diagnosed with PTSD, you can encourage them to follow their treatment plan. If their symptoms do not get better after 6 to 8 weeks, you can encourage them to talk to their health care provider. You also can:
- Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
- Learn about PTSD so you can understand what your friend is experiencing.
- Listen carefully. Pay attention to the persons feelings and the situations that may trigger PTSD symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of C
C-PTSD symptoms are the same as those of PTSD plus 3 extra groups of symptoms:
These extra symptoms are similar to symptoms of borderline personality disorder .
Ways To Cope With Triggers During Ptsd Recovery
Sometimes triggers are outside of your control and impossible to avoid. When that happens, though, there are some things that you can do to lessen the anxiety and negative responses that follow. Some things that may work for you are:
Using mindfulness: Making yourself aware of where you are, in the present moment, and knowing that in that moment you are alright and can work to alleviate the anxiety and fear that has been triggered .
Using your recovery support system: Talking to someone who understands your PTSD and is supportive in your recovery, is a way to let go of the effects of being triggered .
Telling yourself the truth: Identifying that the feeling or situation you are in is not the same as your traumatic event, and becoming aware that your fear and anxiety, while real, are not necessarily accurate reactions. Remind yourself that you are safe now. Positive self-talk or journaling when triggered feelings come up can be helpful dealing with those emotions.
Using grounding techniques:Grounding techniques use your senses to get yourself back in the present moment, much like mindfulness. Hold onto a special object, listen to music, smell or taste something with a strong scent or flavor, take notice of your surroundings, or hold someone’s hand to bring yourself back into the here and now.
Dealing with PTSD triggers in recovery isn’t easy, but with awareness and some practice, it can become much more manageable.
LPamTina Eriksson SuzHealsMarieLaniBrianDenise
Ptsd Can Be Treatedyes Theres Hope
If you are overwhelmed by symptoms or negative thoughts that you suspect are related to PTSD, you should contact your health care team to discuss the possibility of a PTSD diagnosis. You can also contact a local mental health facility, like McLean, to get the help you need. You dont have to struggle on your ownthere is a path to recovery.
If you recognize the symptoms in a friend or loved one, you should always reach out to them and offer support. Whether they accept your help or not, knowing that youve offered can be incredibly helpful to those who are affected by mental illness.
Recovering From Complex Ptsd: 3 Key Stages Of Long
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, or CPTSD, doesnt spring up overnight. That means that recovering from complex PTSD requires commitment.
Its terrible to acknowledge, but often, there are years of abuse and trauma involved. Emotional and physical scars probably make up a significant part of your history.
Still, you are a survivor and there are solutions available for CPTSD recovery. These stages of trauma recovery are a kind of healing roadmap. And clients tell me that just having such a plan can provide reassurance and clarity that makes a big difference.
Where once you experienced nightmares, flashbacks, and constant anxiety, there is a proven path toward feeling calmer, more in control, and even more comfortable in your own body.
How Ongoing Trauma Interrupts Healing
Skills For Coping With Ptsd
Working with a trained therapist is essential when dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In conjunction with a professional, you can learn and practice several key skills to better cope with PTSD. These include:
1. Use the Window of Tolerance
When someone is living with PTSD, they most likely have periods when they feel fine and can function normally. At other times, something will trigger their traumatic memories and they will experience distressing symptoms. It can be helpful to have a way to identify and explain this shift in thinking. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends the concept of a Window of Tolerance as a means of describing a persons current mental state. In other words, when someone with PTSD is doing okay, they are within their window of tolerance. Later, they may experience a reminder of their trauma that puts them outside of their Window. When an individual first experiences symptoms of PTSD, their Window of Tolerance will probably be small. As they begin to learn other tools to manage their trauma, however, the Window will expand.
Using this terminology, the individual with PTSD can learn to identify their current mental state and identify when they need to stabilize their emotions. Additionally, when someone can verbally articulate their Window of Tolerance, friends and family can adjust their expectations of what the individual can currently handle, as well as their own behavior around that person.
3. Behavioral Activation
What Is Complex Post
The main symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD are the same. But if you have complex PTSD you will have extra symptoms such as:
- constant issues with keeping a relationship,
- finding it difficult to feel connected to other people,
- constant belief that you are worthless with deep feelings of shame and guilt. This will be related to the trauma, and
- constant and severe emotional dysregulation. This means it is difficult to control your emotions
You are more likely to have complex PTSD if your trauma is linked to an event or series of events. The trauma will be very threatening or frightening. Most commonly from a trauma which you were not able to escape from such as:
- a long period of domestic abuse, or
- a long period of sexual or physical abuse
What is the treatment for complex PTSD?
You may respond to trauma focussed therapies if you have complex PTSD. Please see the section below on therapies and additional needs for PTSD.
There is some overlap of symptoms for complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder . If you have complex PTSD you may benefit from certain treatments that help people with BPD.
You can find more information about ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ by clicking here.
Where To Get Help
- Your doctor
- Mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, with experience in treatment of PTSD
- Community health centre
- Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health Tel. 9035 5599
- Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2013, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. More information here.
Effects Of Retraumatization On Ptsd Sufferers
Retraumatization wont necessarily sabotage the recovery of a PTSD sufferer. People diagnosed with PTSD know that, even as treatment progresses, triggering events can take them back to difficult times and force them to relive harsh and painful memories. The techniques theyve learned to manage their symptoms can still be effective, and the perspective theyve gained on their illness may not be totally lost.
Nevertheless, because of the intensity of the reaction it causes, retraumatization does represent a legitimate setback in the recovery process, and it will have consequences.
Some of the possible effects of retraumatization include:
- Loss of trust and security
- Feelings of pessimism, fatalism, and cynicism
- Less enthusiasm for treatment or optimism about its benefits
- More intense-than-normal flashbacks and nightmares
- Persistent fears or paranoia that lead to a higher level of hypervigilance
- Agoraphobic behavior as the person becomes reluctant to leave the house or other safe environments
- Increase in vulnerability to triggers, either responding to more of them or reacting more strongly to their occurrence
- Greater reactivity to stress and increased susceptibility to other psychiatric or behavioral health conditions
- Higher incidence or self-harm, including attempts at suicide
- Possible delusions or hallucinations related to the re-experiencing of the emotions connected to the retraumatization
Everyone Has Different Ptsd Triggers
Now, some PTSD triggers are obvious, like watching a news report on assault. Other triggers are not as obvious. For example if someone suffered trauma on a sunny day they may begin to get upset if they are outside and see a bright sunny blue sky. This kind of trigger is more subliminal than the concrete types of PTSD triggers. Their brain associates sight, touch, smell, and sound with details pertaining to their trauma. In turn, the associations become buttons to ignite their bodys alarm system that prepares for danger.
Most importantly, understanding your loved ones triggers will help them become aware of each one. And, Once thats done, as a team, you can begin working on each PTSD trigger. The best part is that less triggers = reduced severity and frequency of the heartwrenching PTSD episodes.