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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD—Coping With It

by | Mental Health

Apr 15, 2020

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when an individual must have survived or been exposed to a traumatic event. This kind of disorder was initially studied primarily in connection with military veterans. Many of them were usually affected after returning from wars due to their tragic experience on the battlefield.  

Many people today who have experienced sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attacks, accidents, kidnapping, childhood neglect, and wars have post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Additionally, medical procedures or heart attacks have also triggered PTSD in some individuals. Many people diagnosed with PTSD usually have flashbacks, nightmares, and fearful thoughts about the event that occurred.

Even though the incident has passed, the memories and terrors of those moments or memories of what transpired continue to take up permanent residence in the person’s mind.

How Common is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

A 1992 study found that one week after a rape, 94 percent of the survivors evaluated have PTSD. And even after twelve weeks, 47 percent continued to do so. PTSD is a prevalent disorder today.

Sadly, out of every 100 people, about 7 or 8 have PTSD at some point in their lives. Besides, as of 2018, about 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year.

People who have PTSD can be wounded in many ways. In body, mind, and spirit. It poses physical health problems to the sufferer, and consequently, to the immediate family.

On the other hand, the pain of living and suffering from PTSD is very hard to express. Therefore, If you have survived trauma and are experiencing similar after-effects, it is important to know that you are not alone. 

Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder 

  • Hyper alert to danger and fear it might happen again.
  • Avoiding places, activities, or people that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Flashbacks of the events
  • Nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Overwhelming guilt and feeling negatively about yourself and others
  • Aggressive and self-destructive behaviors
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Trust issues and always defensive
  • emotional numbness, anxiety, and anger

Post Traumatic Stress disorder diagnosis

There’s no specific test to diagnose PTSD. It can be difficult to diagnose because people with PTSD may not want to recall or discuss the trauma or their symptoms. A mental health specialist is best qualified to diagnose PTSD. 

Ongoing research into the effects of trauma on the brain and body has led to the development of trauma-informed therapies and practices. To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must experience all of the following symptoms for one month or longer:

  • Unwanted upsetting memories, nightmares, and flashbacks
  • Trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma
  • Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma
  • Symptoms create significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important functioning areas not attributed to the direct physiological effects of medication, drugs, or alcohol.
  • Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, serious accidents, or sexual violation
  • Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders.

Helpful Suggestions To Take Into Consideration 

1. Consult with a competent health professional

There are effective therapies that exist which could help someone with PTSD. These include Talk Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.

If you are receiving professional help, be honest with that person and ask for help to overcome any of the above symptoms.

Moreover, It’s good to know that; when trauma survivors take direct action to cope with their stress reactions, they put themselves in a position of power. Importantly, learn about healthy coping strategies that you can use after a trauma.

2. Encouragement and Comfort

An individual with PTSD needs a lot of encouragement and comfort from family and friends. That could go a long way to help such ones. Sometimes it may be difficult to try to help someone with PTSD.

They can be very unresponsive to help because of the experience they have faced. It’s very vital to understand what these persons must have passed through. So, it’s normal to be unresponsive. Everyone has to keep trying to comfort the sufferer. 

Also, someone with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder should avoid illicit drugs and overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. Although alcohol and drugs may give promise of temporary relief, they will eventually make matters worse.

They could also lead to social isolation, rejection of the people who want to help, workaholism, uncontrolled anger, self-destructive behavior, etc.

3. Peer Support Groups

A lot of people have benefited from peer support groups. Not just those with an experience of post-traumatic stress, but from all walks of life. Peer support groups can be safe.

They can also be supportive and non-judgmental spaces to make friends, get current, break patterns of isolation, and develop collective problem-solving skills. 

A peer support group has the added potential of being facilitated by a person with the same interests or lived experiences as those of its members. This interest, or lived experience, is usually the reason for the group’s formation.

Locate and learn more about peer support groups to help those diagnosed with PTSD. Secondly, to care for someone with PTSD.

See also: The Complete Stress Management Guide

By Aleksandra Nico

Dr. Aleksandra Nico is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is in private practice in Brunswick and has experience in a wide variety of areas, including mood-related difficulties, anxiety, psychosis, trauma, addictions, personality disorders, and anger management. Dr. Nico completed a Ph.D. at the University of Nevada. Her goal is not to make very good people out of good, but to get the unique out of them.

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