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PTSD

September 07, 2020

 

Fear is a normal and even beneficial part of life. In times of danger, fear triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, alerting us to stay on guard. However, a person struggling with PTSD experiences a reaction whether danger is real or perceived.

 

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is most often associated with war veterans, but anyone is susceptible after a traumatic event. Nearly 3.5% of Americans suffer from PTSD after such events, which might include physical abuse, a car accident, natural disasters, sexual assault, or any other traumatic situation.

 

EVALUATE YOUR STRESS MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

 

Physical, emotional, and mental symptoms are natural after a trauma. However, if they persist after several weeks or months, it’s important to check in with your doctor or a mental health professional. An official PTSD diagnosis might be warranted.  Symptoms  include  three  major categories:

 

  • Re-experiencing  –  Often  triggered  by  words, thoughts, or situations.
  • Flashbacks or reliving the trauma
  • Scary thoughts, nightmares
  • Avoidance – Switching up a routine to prevent re-experiencing thoughts.
  • Avoiding places that remind you of the event
  • Feeling guilty, depressed, or emotionally numb
  • Losing interest in enjoyable activities
  • Hyperarousal – Experiencing heightened emotions.
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Angry outbursts
  • Easily startled or tensed

 

Substance   abuse,   depression,   and   anxiety disorders can also accompany PTSD. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, ask for help or call a suicide hotline immediately. .

 

RISKS AND TREATMENT

 

PTSD is more likely to affect those with a family history  of  mental  illness,  no  social  support network, or a history of childhood trauma. Your brain’s chemical response to stress is also a contributor. You can reduce your PTSD risk with healthy coping strategies, such as leaning on family or friends, attending a support group, and eliminating self-blame.

 

Those  seeking  PTSD  treatment  typically use medication, psychotherapy, or both. Talk therapy is also effective to practice anger management, identify  guilt  or  shame,  and  learn  relational techniques. If your loved one is struggling with PTSD,  remember  to  give  them  space  when needed. If they’re seeking help, don’t pressure them to talk about everything with you too.

 

ACTION STEPS

 

✓  Identify – Make a list of any symptoms you have and how long you’ve experienced them. Write down anything helpful for your doctor, including past events triggering intense fear, medications you use, and other diagnoses. Consider   bringing   someone   along   to appointments to help you remember any information.

✓  Practice self-care – Proper rest, a healthy diet, and exercise are beneficial. Avoid self- medicating with alcohol and drugs.

✓  Seek community – Isolating yourself from people who  care  about you won’t  help. You don’t need to talk openly about the event, just spend time with those who care. Also,  consider  finding  a  support  group. Community resources or your doctor can help you find the right one for you.

 

KEEP IN MIND

PTSD is not something you need to battle alone. Turn to others, personal or professional, to  receive  help  and  learn  healthy  coping strategies. What  positive  steps  will  you  take  today  to address PTSD and move towards a healthier life?

 Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call us at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.




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