Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment, Symptoms, Self-help
Post traumatic stress is a disorder that an individual can suffer from after experiencing a distressing event that causes him to feel sudden fear, anxiousness and helplessness right after the incident. Examples of traumatic happenings that could lead to post traumatic stress disorder are being raped, a war, a sudden death of a loved one, plane or car crash, being kidnapped or assaulted, natural disasters and the like.
It is normal for anyone to feel fear right after experiencing a harrowing incident, but eventually, the feeling of fear will cease through time and one can enjoy life once again. However, there are those who can’t move on, who feel as if their lives are put in danger all the time, and he/she would have troubles in reconnecting with people and getting back to reality. If this feeling continues for an extended period of time, then he or she may indeed be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, hence, needs immediate help.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Since trauma after a terrifying incident is normal, we need to recognize whether what the person is suffering from is already a post traumatic stress disorder or not. Here are some of the indicators or symptoms:
• Reviving the traumatic past
o When an individual gets repeated flashbacks of the upsetting event that happened. Flashbacks are normal but when these happen all the time over a long period of time, it is already something serious that needs to be addressed.
o Getting more and more upset every day. After a traumatic event, an individual usually feels fear which will lessen through time. But if the feeling gets worse rather than be alleviated even after a while, he/she might be suffering from post traumatic stress.
o Having constant nightmares of the shocking event that result to the individual showing uncontrolled and uncomfortable reactions of crying, freaking out or palpitating.
• Avoidance due to trauma
o When a person suddenly separates himself or herself from others; and detaches oneself from reality.
o When the individual acts like he/she doesn’t care about anything anymore, and the people surrounding him/her cannot tell what he/she really feels because of minimal showing of true feelings.
o Avoiding places or things that would remind them of the traumatic experience.
o The individual also thinks that he/she has no future anymore and suffers lack of interest in the day to day activities he/she used to do or enjoy.
• Awakening of feelings of anxiety
o The patient usually feels restless and has trouble concentrating on things. He feels that he has to do something but cannot recall what it is.
o The individual with post traumatic stress disorder often has an exaggerated reaction when he/she is startled by something. Even just the simple banging sound of the door could lead the sick individual to cry or scream out loud.
o The individual starts to feel conscious and keenly aware of almost everything that is happening around him or her.
o The person becomes more irritable and sensitive over little things. Often times, he/she will have sudden bursts of anger.
o Sleeping becomes a difficult thing to do. One would have difficulty in sleeping, or upon sleeping, would wake up in the middle of the night because of some nightmare.
Self Help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The first thing one has to do is to help him/herself overcome the disorder. If an individual is unwilling, then treatment for this disorder is hard to accomplish. Here are some self help tips in overcoming post traumatic stress:
• Give yourself a break. Try to have some relaxation. Think of ways or things that can help you feel relaxed. Some suggestions for these are the basics such as watching a good movie, a comedy flick perhaps that could make you laugh and forget the trauma. If you enjoy reading, engage yourself in a good book, a mystery novel or a romance novel that would take your imagination to a happier place than the trauma.
• Don’t mope around in the house feeling sorry for yourself. Get up and get some exercise; take a walk and enjoy the view or jog around the neighborhood while listening to an upbeat music in your portable music player.
• Distract yourself and give yourself something to do or get busy with. If you start thinking of the harrowing experience, divert your attention to the things that you enjoy doing.
• Socialize. Do not separate yourself from the crowd. By doing so, there is a huge possibility for you to remember the dreaded event.
• Lastly, seek help. Helping yourself is a big step to recovery from post traumatic stress. However, the truth is you cannot do it alone. Start by opening up to the person you feel most comfortable sharing your trauma with, then work your way up to the best people to talk these things to – the doctors or the psychologists.
Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress
There are different approaches to treating post traumatic stress:
• Desensitization – This is an approach wherein the individual is asked to recall the actual happening of the trauma. While the victim shares this, the listener encourages the patient to talk until all the emotions are let out. Every day, or every session, this is done over and over until such time that victim doesn’t feel that much afraid anymore.
• Family Therapy – The family is the best support group. This is an approach where there is constant communication between the patient and the family, where they can talk about the trauma and help support each other.
• Medications – Most of the symptoms of post traumatic stress include anxiety and being depressed. Anti depressants will help minimize these feelings. Some examples are Prozac and Zoloft.
It is hard to overcome something that makes you feel so vulnerable. But don’t let it lead your life. Post traumatic stress is a disorder that you can win over only if you help yourself and allow others to help you as well.