How to Cope with PTSD
Most people have experienced some kind of stressful or traumatic event in their lives. Traumatic events can affect people who experience or witness an injury, threat of injury or death or feelings of extreme helplessness. While many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with veterans, the condition can also affect people whose responses to any type of trauma grow progressively worse.
“PTSD reactions can impair the way a person is able to function at work, in school, with family and friends and other important parts of their life,” said Tisha Bayless, LCPC, manager at Memorial Behavioral Health. “If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, reach out to a mental health professional for help.”
There are many factors that influence a person’s recovery from PTSD including age, nature of the trauma, timespan of the trauma, the person’s support system, resiliency and other factors that can play a key role in recovery time. According to the CDC, PTSD symptoms fall into three areas.
- Reliving includes re-experiencing events through flashbacks, nightmares or extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the event.
- Avoidance includes avoiding places, activities, thoughts or feelings that relate to the trauma.
- Increased arousal involves being easily startled, overly alert, sleeping problems, irritability, angry outbursts or difficulty concentrating.
The following coping mechanisms may help if you suffer from PTSD: acknowledge your feelings; maintain a routine; limit other causes of stress; practice self-care; share your experiences with family or friends; participate in activities; and recognize when you need help. If PTSD symptoms continue or interfere with day-to-day activities, speak with a healthcare provider.