People who have been through or witnessed a traumatic event may experience significant stress associated with the event. Traumatic events may include witnessing or involvement in a car accident, military action, terrorist attack, rape, or other act of violence. Most people get better on their own. But it often takes time. Sometimes professional help is needed.
People who feel unable to control their lives because of their responses to trauma may develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms vary. For some people, symptoms appear soon after the event. For others, it may be days, weeks, or even months later. PTSD has been linked to other mental illnesses. It can be depression. Or it may lead to depression. People with PTSD may not know they are affected by it.
Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder can help you regain control of your health. The main treatment is psychotherapy, but it can include medication. Combining these therapies can help improve your symptoms by:
- Teaching skills to deal with your symptoms
- Helping you think better of yourself, others, and the world
- Learning ways to deal with when symptoms appear again
- Treating other problems often associated with traumatic events, such as depression, anxiety, or alcohol or drug abuse
- You do not have to try to handle the burden of PTSD alone.
Find out what helps you to feel better and to add to your life
- Be patient: Be aware that this will be a difficult time in your life. Allow yourself to grieve over the loss you have experienced.
- Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and try to get enough sleep: When you are depressed, you are more open to illness. Eating nutritious food and getting enough sleep can help you stay healthy. Regular exercise can relieve stress and depression.
- Talk about it: Victims of a disaster also need to cope with their grief. This usually means repeating the same story over and over again for days, weeks, or even months. But depending on the event that caused your PTSD, it may be best to talk to a therapist about issues related to the event itself. Counselors are more likely to understand trauma and its consequences than friends or family. And they are not even better prepared to help you identify the triggers and effective coping strategies.
- Spend time with others: Attend a place of worship, a book club, a gym class, or other gatherings as often as possible.
- Try ways to relax: These can include full-body relaxation or breathing exercises, meditation, stretching, yoga, listening to quiet music, and spending time in natural settings.
- Stay away from actions to deal with negative situations: These include drug or alcohol abuse, overwork, violence, and threats. This may seem helpful in providing immediate relief. But they make the illness worse and make recovery worse.
- Involve: Volunteer to help out with charities of your choice. Helping others can give you a sense of purpose.
- Connect with friends and family: It is easy to feel alone when you have experienced trauma and do not feel well. And it can be especially hard when your friends and family are experiencing the same trauma and you feel like you don’t want to add to their burden. But isolation can make you feel worse. Talking to your friends and family can help you get the support you need. Studies show that having meaningful social and family relationships can have a positive effect on your health and your well-being.
- Join a support team: Being in a group with other people with PTSD can help reduce isolation. It can also help rebuild your trust in others.
Self-care. Recovery from PTSD is an ongoing process that takes time. You will usually need the help of others to get through it. But there are healthy steps you can take on your own to help you recover and stay healthy.
– Amrin Ahmed