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How To Properly Cope With PTSD | Heal After Trauma

I’m sure that we all have heard of PTSD, but it is more common than you may think. Triggers may derive from many events other than military combat.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Moreover, this event can be a physical or emotional threat to your safety or the safety of others. While some level of emotional distress is normal after a trauma, PTSD symptoms are typically more severe and persistent.

Prevalence of PTSD in the US

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The National Center for PTSD at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that about 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives. That’s a lot.

Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, with an estimated 8% of women and 4% of men experiencing it in their lifetime. However, PTSD can develop at any age and it’s important to seek help if you suspect you or someone you know might be struggling with it.

What Triggers PTSD?

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Firstly, know that events that trigger PTSD are diverse and can vary greatly from person to person. The most common examples include…

  • Military combat
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Serious accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Witnessing a violent event

However, it’s important to remember that not everyone who experiences a trauma will develop PTSD. Moreover, several factors influence whether someone develops the condition, including…

The Severity – The more severe and life-threatening the event, the greater the risk of developing PTSD.

Your Proximity To The Trauma – Being directly involved in a traumatic event or witnessing it firsthand can increase the risk of PTSD compared to hearing about it secondhand.

Coping Mechanisms – Individuals with healthy coping skills for dealing with stress may be less likely to develop PTSD. And, vice versa.

Your Mental Health History – People with a history of mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, may be more vulnerable to developing PTSD.

Living With PTSD Symptoms

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People with PTSD experience a variety of symptoms that can interfere with their daily lives. Thus, these symptoms can be categorized into four main groups according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Intrusive Memories – Flashbacks, nightmares, and unwanted thoughts about the traumatic event.

Avoidance – Avoiding people, places, or situations that remind them of the trauma.

Negative Thoughts & Feelings – Feeling hopeless, guilty, or emotionally numb.

Increased Arousal & Reactivity – Feeling easily startled, irritable, or on edge.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than a month after a traumatic event, please seek professional help. Specifically, a therapist specializing in trauma treatment can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and manage your PTSD symptoms.

However, if money is part of the problem, there are plenty of free resources that are online and legitimate. It won’t cost you a dime, and it never should.

What To Do Next…

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Living with PTSD can feel overwhelming, but the good news is that healing is possible.

Remember, you are not alone. Millions of people cope with PTSD, and there is help available. By seeking professional help, practicing self-care, and connecting with loved ones, you can manage your symptoms and rebuild your life after trauma.

i. Seek Professional Help

Firstly, a therapist trained in trauma-focused therapy can be an invaluable resource. Since they are trained in therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), they will guide you through the process of traumatic event.

Through developing healthy coping mechanisms, they are able to reduce your PTSD symptoms.

For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a national helpline (1-800-662-HELP) that can connect you with mental health treatment options.

ii. Join A Support Group

Connect with others who understand what you’re going through. Consequently, this can be incredibly helpful. Because support groups offer a safe space to share your experiences, you will receive encouragement and learn from others’ coping strategies.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) often have listings for PTSD support groups in your area.

iii. Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is essential for healing from trauma. So, get enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly. Self-care also involves relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Therefore, these practices can help reduce stress and change your mindset completely.

iv. Connect With Loved Ones

Social support is massive for healing. Lean on your friends, family, and loved ones for support and understanding. Talking about your experience can be cathartic and help you feel less alone.

For instance, try and exercise with your loved ones. This allows for open communication.

v. Be Patient With Yourself

Lastly, you must know that healing from trauma takes time. There will be good days and bad days. In all, don’t be discouraged by setbacks, and celebrate your progress along the way.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

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