Whether a combat vet, victim of a violent crime, survivor of a natural disaster, or have faced any other traumatic event, you may have PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health diagnosis that can affect anyone who's experienced trauma. Thankfully, getting a PTSD diagnosis isn’t a bad thing. It’s the beginning of healing and recovery.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after experiencing a traumatic event. Temporary distress is the result of trauma for many, but for some, PTSD develops out of the lingering effects of trauma. Characteristics of PTSD are:
Flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts around the traumatic event is common in individuals suffering from PTSD. These thoughts are unwanted, uncontrolled, and can be both disruptive and distressing to daily functioning. These intrusive thoughts can cause a person to feel as though they are reliving the traumatic experience.
People with PTSD will go out of their way to avoid people, places and things associated with the trauma. In order to cope with the memories, individuals with PTSD will do anything possible to not think about the traumatic event - including abusing drugs and alcohol.
Negative Changes in Mood and Cognition:
Persistent negative emotions, inability to experience positive emotions, apathy, struggles with memory, and a distorted sense of self. These are all ways in which PTSD can change how a person feels or thinks.
Arousal and Reactivity:
Hypervigilance is a common trait of those suffering from PTSD. They are more likely to startle easily and become irritable and aggressive. It’s also common to struggle with sleep and have difficulty concentrating.
Getting diagnosed with PTSD puts you one step closer to understanding, managing, and healing your condition. The diagnosis comes from a therapist or psychiatrist. They will conduct an evaluation where they’ll learn about your experiences, medical history, and current symptoms to better assess. Once the evaluation is complete, they will meet with you to discuss their findings.
Learning as much as possible about PTSD can help to avoid stigma, demystify the condition, and make recovering more manageable.
Trauma therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and exposure therapy are evidence-based approaches to treating PTSD. Talk with a therapist about creating a unique therapy plan for you.
Talk with your healthcare provider if you feel that medication could help you manage your symptoms. Oftentimes, medicine is used to treat sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety related to PTSD.
Consider talking with friends and family about what you’re going through. Vocalizing your thoughts and feelings can lessen their power over you and invite others to share your burden. There are also many PTSD support groups out there that provide spaces where you can connect with others that are going through the same thing.
It’s important to be gentle and forgiving with yourself during this time. Take care of your physical and mental health. Spend time in activities that help you relax and that reduces stress. Proper nutrition and regular exercise will help ease your mind and improve your overall well-being.
Patience & Persistence:
Recovering from PTSD is nothing that is done in 30 days. Healing trauma takes time and consistent work. You will experience setbacks. That is okay. As you continue to progress, you’ll gradually notice a reduction in symptoms and a growing sense of peace.
Getting diagnosed with PTSD and pursuing treatment is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite - it is a sign of strength and a desire for healing. With the right plan of action and support, you can regain control of your life. If you’re struggling with PTSD, call Country Road Recovery today to discuss your options. Let us help you find hope for a better tomorrow.