Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects about 3.5% of US adults each year, according to the American Psychiatric Association. People battling with PTSD often have continual vivid and frightening memories of a significant traumatic event and these could result in extreme physical and emotional reactions. Recovery from these can be tough and not many people pull through. However, PTSD is far from being a hopeless situation.
With the right steps and approaches and a good counselling platform like BetterHelp, victims can overcome their symptoms and put all the negative reactions and memories behind them forever.
Embrace Your Feelings
Trauma gets you overwhelmed and anxious. But you won’t overcome it by pushing your feelings away. Instead, accept that your feelings are valid. By acknowledging your emotional responses, you gain confidence and comfort in your actions. Gradually, you would notice that your anxiety eases and you feel calmer. One way to embrace your feelings is to practice meditation.
Meditation does not have to have religious undertones or be cumbered with rules to be effective. It could be as simple as practicing mindful breathing. Or you may opt for professional programs such as Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBSR,) both of which have proved effective for people battling trauma.
Book a Therapy Session
There are different therapy approaches to overcome traumas. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT,) where the counselor helps you to determine how thoughts related to your trauma experience affect your life. Prolonged Exposure Therapy, or simply exposure therapy, is for overcoming your fears by being gradually exposed to them so that you can learn when your fear is unwarranted.
The advantage of getting therapy is to get personalized advice for dealing with trauma. Different people, even if they had had the same traumatic experience, respond in different ways. Hence, the need to speak to a counselor who understands your needs and is ready to walk with you through your challenges. More than 77% of trauma victims who attend therapy sessions would notice a reduction in their symptoms. With a few clicks, you can easily book an online therapy session and find a professional counselor to talk to about your challenges.
Eat Well and Live Healthily
Trauma often leads to eating disorders, which manifest in the form of binge eating, poor diet quality, anorexia nervosa (eating too little out of fear of gaining weight,) and so on. These lead to even more problems as the victim may fall into depression. Besides this, unhealthy eating also impacts physical health negatively. To avoid these, it is important to watch what you eat and as much as possible, embrace a healthy dietary lifestyle.
An Australian study conducted a couple of years back, found that fruit and vegetable consumption resulted in a lower prevalence of psychological distress among adults who are 45 years or older. Further, you would need to limit the consumption of processed food and junk. And also watch your cravings. For instance, a good distraction can take your mind off food if you are struggling with binge eating. In general, the key to healthy eating is to slowly implement sustainable changes to your diet.
It is not uncommon for people battling traumatic stress disorder to turn to alcohol for solace. But this habit can only lead to debilitating consequences. Alcohol might numb your negative feelings in the short-term. However, those feelings return once the effects of the alcohol wear off. This severely affects the process of recovery. And it is far worse when such abuse turns into dependency and addiction.
It is totally understandable that trauma victims constantly deal with memories of their past unpleasant experiences intruding in their thoughts. But substance abuse is not the way to go. The human body is quite tolerant of alcohol. Therefore, when you self-medicate with alcohol, you would increasingly need larger and more frequent doses to feel satisfied. That means dependency has set in.
Social support is very important for recovery from trauma. To deal with trauma is to constantly feel like being withdrawn from people. But this would do nothing to improve your condition. Instead, reach out to people in order to create a strong support system. In the course of reaching out, you could find people who are facing the same challenges as you are. Exchanging details from each other’s experience is often a strong motivational factor to help you pull through.
Likewise, simply having a band of family and friends to support you is immense motivation and it can significantly influence your outlook. As much as possible, try to adapt to normal social life, even if not necessarily to share your challenges with others. Going out and exploring can really distract you from negative thoughts and feelings. And if going out to meet and socialize might not be too easy for you, you can go online to join some social media group battling with the same issues you are having or better still download BetterHelp apps.
It is quite obvious that recovery from PTSD is quite an effort, and requires a lot of endurance. As you go through the process, keep in mind that some of the steps may be contrary to your natural inclinations. But keep on with them, even if with reluctance. Being confident that you are on the right path helps a great deal.