Posted on October 18, 2022 at 2:14 pm

Biz Lifestyle Lifestyle Mental Health

Living with PTSD: dealing with the condition and defeating it!

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a type of anxiety disorder very common nowadays and manifests through symptoms such as a negative view of the world, trouble sleeping, anger, or intense memories of the event that caused PTSD.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 7 percent of American adults are prone to develop PTSD in their lifetime, though people assigned female at birth (AFAB) are more likely to develop this condition. Most individuals connect PTSD with tragic events such as the death of a loved one, a significant and sudden loss, or military veterans. The truth is that any event that leaves one emotionally shattered can be a PTSD cause, particularly if it feels uncontrollable and unpredictable.

Everyone reacts distinctively to trauma, so the best you can do is to be kind to someone with PTSD and constantly support them. Insights about PTSD are worth documenting, as they help understand this condition and cope with it if the case.

This article provides science-backed facts about PTSD and many more relevant details, so read on.

 

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What causes PTSD?

The leading cause of PTSD is a frightening, stressful, or distressing event that can take various forms, including a vehicle accident, childhood or domestic abuse, the death of a loved one, sexual assault, conflict and war, etc. While it is not entirely understood why some people are more sensitive to such events than others, one thing is for sure; these above-mentioned happenings are easy to endure by no one.

If we dig deeper into how PTSD is acquired, we find that our nervous system reacts with the so-called fight or flight response when in danger. Does it sound familiar when your heart beats faster than usual, your muscles tighten, and your blood pressure increases? Then, you may have undergone an adrenaline-inducing experience. Nonetheless, these sensations calm down after a while when the danger is no longer there, at least in most cases. In exceptional cases, the nervous system cannot return to the normal state of things and remains stuck in that terror.

That is why PTSD-related treatment and therapy focus on helping the nervous system get out of that state so you can overcome the trauma.

As for the diagnosis, a psychologist will evaluate you and prescribe treatment accordingly. Ensure you tell your doctor everything that comes to your mind or suspect that might have caused your condition. Remember that there are not only events related to abuses that can lead to PTSD but also some situations involving considerable (non-)material damage. According to https://www.databreachclaims.org.uk, security breaches can result in severe non-material (mental) damage. So, if you or a loved one have been recently the victim of a data breach, learn that it is possible to be diagnosed with PTSD. In this case, ensure you receive proper medical help and take the legal steps required to get compensated for your trauma. A professional data breach lawyer can help in this regard, as they have the expertise to prove such a delicate case. 

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD is not the same for everyone, and it is only normal since people’s tolerance for stressful situations varies. While some might develop PTSD hours after the traumatic event, others can catch the disease days, months, and even years later. Besides, symptoms can occur out of the blue, with no clue on the horizon, so it would be helpful not to assume that PTSD is only activated by a happening that reminds patients of the original event, including particular words, actions, and smells.

That being said, someone with PTSD can experience one or more of the following:

  • Re-experiencing the distressing event through nightmares, intrusive memories, or intense physical and mental reactions.
  • Hyperarousal or feeling “on edge.” It is common for people with PTSD to be hypervigilant and constantly irritated. This state is called hyperarousal and comprises, among others, angry outbursts, self-destructive behaviour, sleeping problems, and trouble focusing.
  • Emotional numbing and avoidance, including discarding any thought that reminds of trauma. Freud wrote hundreds of pages about this defence mechanism called repression, according to which any unpleasant impulse, thought, memory or emotion is blocked and “stored” deep down in the subconscious in a quest to avoid re-experience or guilt feelings. The famous psychoanalyst claimed that one way or another, and at some point, these repressed emotions will eventually find their way out, but violently. That is why it is highly advisable to go to therapy when dealing with PTSD. A specialist can help you bring out these troublesome emotions and overcome them through psychoanalytic techniques.
  • Mood changes, including distorted opinions about oneself or others, the inability to remember crucial aspects of the frightening event, and distorted thoughts about the reason or outcomes of the happening. Individuals who experience mood swings are often prone to blame themselves for the situation, leading them to harmful and anxious thoughts and, in rare cases, suicidal attempts.

Ways of coping with PTSD

  • Mindfulness. Being more aware and in touch with the present moment can help your brain become “unstuck” and escape the traumatic memories that stop you from living your best life. You can practice at-home mindfulness or work with a professional in this sense.
  • Social support. People you surround yourself with matter more than you can imagine. Thus, get in touch with positive people able to soothe and understand you or simply be there when you need them the most.
  • Professional help – medication, trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy, family therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle – avoid drugs and alcohol, get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, take time to relax
  • Exercise. It is well-known that sports can release endorphins and put you in a better mood. Since PTSD is associated with mood swings, negative thoughts, and hyperarousal, it can be coped with by getting moving. Consider sports like weight training, rock climbing, martial arts, or lighter and rhythmic exercises that imply both arms and legs. Spending time in nature can also be beneficial, as outdoor recreation helps relieve anxiety and stress by diminishing the cortisol levels in the brain.
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