Managing post-traumatic stress

Most people associate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with soldiers and victims of rape, but this is a common misconception. A variety of things can cause PTSD, even things like car crashes, natural disasters, and childhood abuse. This disorder doesn't necessarily happen immediately after the incident. It can take years for it to reach the surface and it can be hard to realise what you are suffering from without help.

Whether it’s in the form of nightmares, flashbacks or mood swings, like unhappiness and isolation, there are methods to help you overcome this trauma and take steps towards recovery. Here are just a few ways to help yourself recover from a traumatic experience and reduce your symptoms.

Remember you aren’t alone

A lot of people suffer from PTSD and it's a perfectly normal reaction to trauma. You aren't the only person who has gone through this and you shouldn't feel weak or alone. If you try to find reasons to blame yourself for reacting to the trauma in this manner, you could end up feeling depressed. PTSD isn’t a condition without a cure. You can work through it with time.

Get some support

There are support groups designed for people who are in the same boat as you and mixing with people who have had similar experiences as yourself could help you to feel less isolated. If you don't feel that a group setting is right for you, professional therapy could be the option. You can talk freely and honestly with someone who understands what you are going through and knows methods to relieve your symptoms.
Identify your triggers

Trying to recognise what your triggers are can help you to reduce them. As seen in movies, some veterans can suffer from episodes when they are exposed to loud bangs or flashes, but people can also experience flashbacks for other causes that are harder to find the reason behind. Once you understand where the disorder stems from you can work on ‘grounding’ techniques to help you separate the traumatic past from the present. This can help to reduce your flashbacks.

Try to be yourself

Sometimes people who suffer from PTSD can shut themselves out and end up feeling isolated. It’s important to try to keep to a normal routine and continue to do the things you enjoy. Getting a job, regularly exercising or finding a new hobby can help you to fight against your disorder and keep you from losing sight of yourself. Don’t let PTSD define you and make an effort to return to normality - even if it feels impossible at first.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 6NU
Written by Dr Liddy Carver, Dr. Registered MBACP (Accred), PhD Counselling
Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 6NU

With her wide-ranging knowledge of how the mind and body respond to traumatic events and the recommended current treatments, Liddy has a special interest in working with adults experiencing post-traumatic stress and dissociation. This skill set and expertise gives her the edge when helping people with complex needs from all walks of life

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