PTSD can be extremely difficult to live with. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with it in a healthy and productive manner.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health issue caused when one has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Those suffering from PTSD will experience flashbacks to their trauma that can bring disturbing images, overwhelming emotions, and terrifying thoughts. PTSD has most commonly been thought of as affecting veterans after they return to war, but it can affect civilians who have experienced traumatic events in their lifetime, as well.
People who are struggling with PTSD tend to struggle with disturbing, unwelcome thoughts and emotions that are related to the trauma they have experienced. They might struggle with feelings of fear, anxiety, or depression.
PTSD tends to look different for different people, depending on factors like their personality, severity of PTSD, and environment. Despite this, there are a few symptoms you can look for if you believe that you or a loved one are struggling with PTSD, including:
- Intrusive thoughts. This can appear as unwanted flashbacks, nightmares, or disturbing thoughts related to your trauma. Some people experience extremely intense flashbacks, feeling as though they have stepped out of reality and back into the traumatic event.
- Shifts in mood. People who are struggling with PTSD may experience intense anxiety, fear, depression, irritability, anger, and overall moodiness. They may experience extreme guilt and shame related to the event and begin to withdraw from activities they once enjoyed, like hanging with friends or enjoying hobbies. Many people struggling with PTSD tend to struggle to feel any sense of happiness or joy.
- Inaccurate cognitions. People struggling with PTSD may struggle to remember or remember a distorted version of certain moments of the traumatic event. Their entire view of themselves and the world around them may become distorted into a much more negative view.
- Fear and avoidance of triggers. When one is struggling with PTSD, they may begin to feel fearful or upset at certain stimuli that trigger a memory of the traumatic event. This can cause the person to begin to withdraw and avoid any circumstances that may trigger their memory. Doing so can begin to cause the person to avoid living their lives out of fear of being triggered by something.
Some of these symptoms are normal occurrences directly following a traumatic event. However, when these symptoms are causing a decline in one’s overall health, wellness, and quality of life and it lasts for longer than one month, that person may be struggling with PTSD.
There are two main treatment options for PTSD, psychotherapy and medications. Both options are first line treatment and are equally as effective.
Regular sessions of therapy with a licensed health professional can help individuals cope with PTSD. When it comes to psychotherapy, it is important to choose a therapy where there is a specific focus on the trauma-related symptoms, namely Trauma-Focused CBT or EMDR.
Talk with your doctor about treatment with medication. Anti-depressants are a safe, effective, and well-tolerated treatment for those with PTSD.
How Telehealth Can Help
The most important thing you can do to work toward your recovery is to talk to your doctor. PTSD can be extremely difficult to deal with. You don’t have to suffer through it alone. After speaking to a health professional, you will be able to pinpoint the reason you are feeling the way you are, learn how to cope with your triggers, and begin your journey to healing. Telehealth can help you get the help you need from the comfort of your home.
PTSD may require the use of medication, therapy, or a combination of the two in order to promote healing. If you are struggling with PTSD, know that you are not alone. Seeking help from a health professional can get you on track to healing.