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PTSD - How do I combat it?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can develop after an individual has suffered through a traumatic event or an overwhelming life experience. Many combat soldiers experience this condition, but others can experience it as well after a life-threatening situation such as child abuse, domestic abuse, natural disasters, car or plane crashes, rape, assault, war or terrorism.

Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

It is normal for anyone who has experienced a traumatic event to relive the experience, but PTSD will trigger more severe symptoms which generally include:

  1. The tendency to relive the event.

  2. Withdrawal and avoidance of any situation that can remind them of the trauma.

  3. An increased emotional response or anxiety level

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  or PTSD can range from the minor to severe and often include depression, anxiety, insomnia, avoidance, rage, emotional withdrawal, hyper-vigilance and nightmares. Intense physical reactions are also common for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  or PTSD sufferers including sweating, muscle tension, rapid breathing, an increased heart rate and vomiting.

Risk Factors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  or PTSD

Although a traumatic event generally triggers PTSD there can be additional risk factors for individuals including a history of abuse or substance addiction, previous traumatic events in life, high levels of stress, a lack of adequate support following a traumatic event and a history or family history of depression or mental illness.

Combating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  or PTSD

Finding healthy ways to deal with your PTSD is critical to recovery. Steps following a traumatic event or symptoms of PTSD should include the following:

1.    Getting educated

Talk to your doctor and find a therapist or mental health professional. Now, more than ever, the medical community is aware of PTSD, its symptoms, and ways to deal with this condition. Do not try to do this alone. Get information and get help.

2.    Find a support group

Finding other individuals who have successfully navigated through what you are currently dealing with is critical to your success. A good therapist is a first step, but finding other friends or family members who can support and encourage you is ideal.

3.    Follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan

Don’t be afraid to get good counseling or take medication which has successfully helped many other PTSD sufferers.

4.    Find activities you enjoy

Relaxation and developing hobbies you enjoy can help manage your fear and anxiety. Avoiding activities will increase your despair and depression. The most important thing to do after getting good medical treatment is to stay involved and do not isolate yourself, even if you do not get immediate pleasure from them. Distraction can be a powerful tool, and it does not have to be complicated. Find a friend, take a walk, talk on the phone or read a book when you are feeling stressed.

5.    Get healthy

Exercising will release natural endorphins that will make you feel better. Getting healthy through exercise and a good diet can improve your overall health and reduce your PTSD symptoms.                               

Remember, if you have a severe mental health disorder and you are not be able to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is provided by the Social Security Administration for qualifying individuals.
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