Coping Strategies for PTSD
Compared to physical disorders, those which are psychological in nature are known to a lesser degree. Things like what causes them, how varied each individual’s experiences are, and more so, how to cope with PTSD escapes us for those not well versed in the field. If we do know, we often times tend to avoid them due to the stigma that surrounds such conditions, which makes it even harder for those who are suffering to actually acknowledge that they are suffering. This creates a circle that, at the same time, makes it even more difficult to cope. What we need are some coping strategies for PTSD.
So, what are some coping strategies for PTSD?
There is no one definite solution. Instead, it is a combination of interventions that leads to the best coping strategies, and this applies to anyone who suffers with the condition.
The very first step towards coping with PTSD is to acknowledge that you are suffering from it. It is important to also consider what you do for as a profession to have played a part in the causation of the trauma. For example, if you are military, deployments will happen in the future, and that fact may put you in similar scenarios as previously experienced. If you are a paramedic, you will continue to be called to “less than ideal” situations where your skillset is required.
Firefighters are also not excluded from this condition because they can just as easily suffer debilitating trauma from calls. Who are typically the first ones to arrive to an accident scene, firefighters. If you choose to continue to pursue your chosen profession, then the simple fact is you face similar experiences in the future. This should tell us that trauma caused by our jobs is not out of the question. Acknowledging this fact is a coping strategy in and of itself.
Monitoring your symptoms might also help in the process. Learn when the anxiety attacks happen and what events happened leading to the attack because knowing all of these helps you avoid them in the future. Take a good, long, hard look at your triggers and acknowledge them. Let others around you know what they are as well.
Who can you reach out to?
The next step in coping with the disorder is to see a professional to whom you can talk about the trauma that you are going through. This is more about having someone who understands you to express yourself without any prejudice because this part is important. You need someone who you can tell everything that you are going through without any kind of judgment. Remember that in spite of the population having an increased sense of awareness regarding the issue, there is still a stigma which surrounds it. This is a “know your audience” type of thing because not everyone is necessarily ready to hear it either.
Seeking professional help is very important because, believe it or not, there are medications which can help control the anxiety attacks and only professionals are able to prescribe these. Also, they can teach you more effective ways of coping and working through your trauma in order to keep the anxiety attacks under control, at the very least. Professionals are unbiased and are there to be your rock. Find one that you can confide in and that you trust. Not all mental health professionals work well with anyone, so if you need to find a different one, they will understand. It is about you and who you trust and can work with.
Who else could you reach out to?
After asking a professional to help you out regarding your PTSD, you might find it even more helpful to reach out to others for help. Maybe start with your loved ones, who might need time to process everything, so, give them time and it will benefit you in the long run. They, in turn, might also encourage you to reach out to support groups for help because knowing that you are not the only one suffering such trauma helps ease the mind, even just a little bit.
What can you to keep your mind off things?
Taking away the focal point of the trauma can also help you cope with PTSD, which includes getting your body moving and discovering hobbies.
Physical exercises that moves both arms and legs are preferred by professionals, such as running or walking. It helps you feel good about yourself, and at the same time, helps release endorphins, which are basically the happy hormones naturally released by your body. The more of them, the better you will feel. Keep active and keep healthy.
Moreover, discovering new hobbies, indoors or outdoors, can help you even more by making you focus on the task at hand. Maybe reading a book, painting a picture, or even going out to do a hike or climb a rock. Any of these can help relax the mind and drive your focus elsewhere for a time. Something that I did, and after talking with many others, they did the same, was taking up motorcycle riding (as well as a few other hobbies). Focus for the mind and, because I ride super-sport, focus for the body.
Avoid excessive anything, especially alcohol, drugs and gaming. The reason I say “excessive anything” is that it is far too easy to use the “anything” as a crutch and prevent you from working through the trauma. Moderation is key and going beyond that will not necessarily help you. Alcohol, drugs and gaming are quickly destructive when done in excess. Avoid going down this road.
PTSD is debilitating and can be very difficult for the individual especially if they do not get the support they need. By learning more about the condition – its causes and its symptoms – as well as knowing the steps that could help you cope, it will make the lives of those who suffer with it and those around them better. There are lots of different coping strategies for PTSD and only some are given here. This can provide a solid foundation for you to discover what works for you.
Despite the increasing awareness of psychological disorders, stigma around it still exists. This can lead individuals to keeping it to themselves. However, with a healthy and nurturing environment around them, they do not need many to know about it, they just need those who are important to them to care.