If you or someone you care about is struggling with PTSD, it’s important to educate yourself about what kind of things will happen during recovery. This way, it can better prepare you and give you the tools and coping mechanisms that you need to deal with the disorder. Here are some of the most common and damaging symptoms involved in post-traumatic stress disorder:
Nightmares involving the traumatic event – triggers that cause flashbacks and unwanted memories that flood the brain. It’s helpful to identify these triggers as soon as possible to prevent flashbacks.
Negative thinking and extreme paranoia – the traumatic event can cause the patient to have negative thoughts and develop a general distrust in others and the world as a whole
- The traumatic event in question can become fuzzy and broken up
- Inability to concentrate and relax, making it hard to focus, sleep, or go in public without being jumpy or paranoid
Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Although the most common traumatic event that causes PTSD involves combat and war, there are a variety of different situations and circumstances that can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Other than combat and war, here are some other events that can cause an individual to have symptoms of PTSD:
- car accidents, especially those that cause serious injuries and hospitalization
- assaults, including physical acts of violence and sexual abuse
- experiencing someone’s death, especially when the death was tragic
- being involved in some kind of hostage situation
- witnessing a terrorist attack, hate crime, or other kinds of targeted violence
- living through a natural disaster like earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or tsunamis
- being diagnosed with a condition that compromises one’s health or quality of living
- experiencing a death in the family or within a close circle of friends.
- Coping with PTSD: Do’s and Don’ts
Just like many other kinds of mental disorders, it’s important for patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to find healthy coping mechanisms that can aid them in (suggestion: add ‘their journey towards’) recovery. It is also crucial for individuals with PTSD to avoid developing coping mechanisms that are unhealthy for them. Here is a list of common coping mechanisms that can be damaging to a patient:
- substance abuse, particularly the misuse of drugs and alcohol
- unhealthy, reckless behaviors
- social isolation and pushing others out
- paranoia and having a constant guard up
- overworking to try and avoid thoughts and feelings regarding the traumatic event
- avoiding social situations and public places to prevent being triggered
Instead of using these kinds of negative coping mechanisms, there are many ways to cope with PTSD in a much healthier manner. Although the best case scenario would be for a patient to seek help from a medical professional, self-help and constructive coping mechanisms can also be crucial to the recovery process. Here are some of the best, most successful coping mechanisms that have been proven to speed up and assist in a PTSD patient’s recovery:
- Changing one’s lifestyle
- Interacting with other PTSD survivors
- Exercising and being active in general
- Keeping yourself busy, such as volunteering or finding a constructive hobby
- create stronger relationships with loved ones
- Finding a support animal
- Search for a cat, dog, or another animal that can help regulate your emotions and stay calm in triggering situations.
- Coping exercises
- There are many different exercises that can help calm yourself down in a situation where you’re feeling triggered, or if you feel as though you’re about to be triggered. Breathing exercises, hobbies, meditation, and other healthy physical activities can really help an individual calm their heart rate and help them relax in stressful, triggering situations.
Although these are helpful coping mechanisms, the most successful route to recovery involves therapy and/or some kind of medication.