Did you know? According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, in the US, approximately 70% of adults experience a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime. Out of these, 20% develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The number of people with PTSD each year amounts to 8 million, which is approximately 3.5% of the US population. These statistics are indeed astonishing and emphasize the rising number of people affected by PTSD and the significance of dealing with it. But before we delve into different ways to deal with PTSD, we first need to understand it.
What Is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental condition that develops in people who have gone through a traumatic experience that threatened them or their close ones. Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event develops an irrational fear or panic among PTSD patients in certain situations. These traumatic events include facing a near-death experience in an accident, losing a loved one, sexual abuse, or war/combat. For example, an individual who witnessed one of his or her parents pass away in a car crash right before their eyes can develop PTSD and may fear car rides.
Dealing with PTSD is not easy – if left unattended, the victim can even turn suicidal. Hence it is best to seek help from medical professionals since they are the right people to decide how to counter and cure PTSD among patients. Psychologists can deal with mental health concerns and are well-equipped with the treatment methods that may help patients recover from PTSD.
Given the rise in the number of people requiring mental health care, there has been a significant surge in the scope of this profession. Today, many students enroll themselves in online Psychology Bachelor’s degree programs, while those who are already practicing earn their Doctorate in Psychology.
What Are The Symptoms Of PTSD?
Patients with PTSD may show minor to major symptoms depending on the level of trauma. Some of the common symptoms found among PTSD patients include:
- Flashbacks of the past
- Emotional outbursts at seeing things that remind you of the event
- Experiencing nausea, trembling, or other pain
- Disturbed sleep routine
- Aggressive behavior
- Feeling emotionally cut-off
- Resorting to substance abuse to numb the pain, etc.
Along with seeking professional help, there are some ways through which PTSD patients can help themselves in coping with the symptoms. Here we list four effective tips on how to deal with PTSD:
Take Time Out To Relax
Just a disclaimer here: by relaxing, we do not mean sleeping in for hours. It will just ruin your mental health further and aggravate anxiety and depression. Taking time to relax means doing something that interests you and gives your mind and body some relief and consequently makes you happy! For instance, you can look into meditation or yoga as a way to soothe your nerves.
Meditation is extremely helpful in addressing anxiety and agitation, both of which are symptoms of PTSD. It also helps you connect to your surroundings and detach from your overpowering negative thoughts.
Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
Undoubtedly, a healthy diet directly impacts your emotional and mental well-being, although we often tend to ignore this. Processed foods, especially those high in trans-fat, develop negative effects on your brain. Such food drops your serotonin levels, which is the brain chemical responsible for keeping you upbeat and happy. A low serotonin level can cause depression, mood swings, anxiety, etc. Hence, it is best to eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Make Exercise A Part Of Your Routine
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to fight off anxiety and depression, and most of us know the science behind it. Regular exercise helps the brain release endorphins, a chemical that helps you feel good and happy. But for patients with PTSD, exercising does way more than making them feel cherished. It helps their brain come out of the feeling of being stuck at one point and enables them to counter the immobilization stress response linked to PTSD.
Exercises like running, swimming, dancing, boxing, weight-training, etc., can help you detach yourself from the negative past and lets you feel productive. Outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, camping, etc., can provide you the added relaxation of spending time close to nature.
Interact With Your Family And Friends
One obvious symptom of PTSD-related anxiety or depression is being anti-social and avoiding people. However, this only worsens your mental health. When suffering from mental issues, seeking help from your trustworthy friends and family members is all you need. They can lend an ear when you feel like sharing and expressing your emotions. Talking about your disturbing past to someone who can genuinely understand can prove extremely helpful in dealing with PTSD symptoms.
However, if you feel vulnerable while discussing your feelings with family and friends, you can look into support groups. These are social groups led by professionals that include other people suffering from the same dilemma as you. It is effective since you get to meet people who understand the pain you are going through and relate to your journey and struggle.
Suffering from mental health disorders is painful. If left untreated for long, these issues can massively aggravate. PTSD is one such mental disorder that needs immediate attention. A person with PTSD should seek professional help instantly along with trying to cope with PTSD symptoms themselves. We have listed four effective tips to deal with PTSD above. We are positive that these tips will help you minimize your PTSD symptoms and leave an average, cheerful life.