Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder, that can happen after a very traumatic, threatening or scary event. Even if you weren’t directly involved in the event, the shock of what happened can be so big that it can have a long lasting effect.
When you have PTSD, it may feel as though you will never get your life back and that things will never go to usual. But there is hope – treatment is available to help you through each step of your journey towards wellness.
The Center • A Place of HOPE has experienced specialists that can help you so if you or any of your loved ones are suffering from PTSD, it is important that you ask for help.
Symptoms of PTSD
Some of the symptoms of PTSD can be:
- Avoiding certain situations out of fear
- Avoiding any situation that you think may be stressful
- Hiding your feelings of anxiety or worry
- Being more emotional and worrisome than usual
- Withdrawing from close relationships
- Emotional numbing
- Physical distress
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite and eating patterns
- Unable to work to your full capacity
- Difficulty with concentration and focusing
- Relieving the trauma, or flashbacks
- Suicidal thoughts
For more detailed information about the symptoms of PTSD, have a look here.
Different types of treatment for PTSD
There are different types of treatment available for PTSD. It is important that you get the right treatment for you and this will be advised by an experienced health professional.
Some of the types of treatment that may work for you are:
PTSD there are usually 3 goals for talk therapy, and they are improving your symptoms; teach you skills to deal with your PTSD; and restore your self-esteem.
There are different types of talk therapies available but most of them usually fall under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea behind therapy is to help you to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your life. These changes might happen with talking through your trauma, or concentrating on where your fears are coming from and dealing with those.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of eye guided movements that help you process traumatic memories and change how you would normally react to them. The goal is to be able to think about something positive while you are remembering your trauma.
Prolonged exposure therapy
If you have been avoiding things that remind you of that traumatic event that happened, then prolonged exposure therapy will help you to confront these things.
The treatment will also involve some breathing exercises to help you to ease your anxiety when you think about your traumatic event. Focusing on your breathing can help you to relax and focus your thoughts.
You may then make a list of the things you have been avoiding and then slowly you will confront each of these things on the list one at a time. You will do this at your own time, but with the support of your health professional.
Sometimes the chemicals in the brains of those suffering with PTSD are not balanced properly and this can add to some of the symptoms you may be experiencing. If your chemicals are on edge, you may be easily triggered by your “fight or flight” response which will result in you being jumpier, and on-edge.
Medications can help to balance the chemicals in your brain and help you to react less to the flashbacks and memories you may be having.
Some of the types of medications you may be prescribed may be anti-depressants or anti-anxiety tablets. You and your health professional will work together to work out what the best medications are for you with the best effects and the fewest side effects. It usually takes a few weeks to notice changes with medications. Medications won’t usually change your symptoms, but they can help them to be less intense and more manageable.
Coping and support
It is important that you see a health professional to help you to manage your condition, however there are some things you can do yourself to help yourself:
- Follow your treatment plan – it is important that you follow the routine given to you by your health professionals, both with therapy and medications. It’s important that you know that it takes time for the treatment to work, so stick with it and follow your prescribed routine.
- Learn about PTSD – the more you know about your condition, the more it can empower you to take control of the symptoms you may be feeling.
- Take care of yourself – looking after yourself with enough rest, exercise, healthy eating and time to relax can all help you to cope better. Reducing caffeine and alcohol can also help you to reduce anxiety.
- Break the cycle – when you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or do a hobby or chat to a friend to help you to refocus and break the anxiety cycle.
- Consider a support group – talking to other people who are going through the same thing, or have gone through something similar, can help you to feel supported. Some of the things that helped other people, may also help you too. It also helps you to not feel as alone in your experience.
If you still have more questions about The Center • A Place of HOPE, what your treatment will look like, what your care entails or how long your treatment may last at The Center • A Place of HOPE, then have a look at our FAQs page as it will help to answer these questions and more.
If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, don’t give up hope. This isn’t someone you have to live with alone, there is help available.