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Eight Ways to Cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Breathe in, Breathe Out: 3 Alternative Medicine Options for Anxiety

Post-traumatic stress disorder results from encountering or witnessing any frightening and shocking event. It can impact your daily life and productivity. PTSD can also be a natural reaction to various disturbing experiences such as physical assault, sexual abuse, accidents, or different types of violence. Increased anxiety and persistent reoccurrence of any traumatic event are the major symptoms of PTSD. Following are mentioned some very effective and useful ways to cope with the symptoms associated with PTSD.

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

CBT is among the most popular treatment for short-term and long-term PTSD. It is a type of psychotherapy that helps many individuals to cope with symptoms of PTSD. This therapy is trauma-focused, indicating that traumatic events are the main purpose of treatment. CBT focuses on recognizing, understanding, and improving thinking and behavior patterns. It is an active treatment that involves the patient to engage them in and out of weekly appointments and teach them skills that can be implemented to their symptoms. Traditionally, CBT occurs over 12 to 16 weeks.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

It is an evidence-based treatment that helps decrease the symptoms associated with PTSD. It heals the major cause of the symptoms. However, EMDR therapy is beneficial in treating anxiety, depression, grief, and panic attacks. Moreover, it is an efficient way to get rid of negative beliefs that hold you back, such as the thoughts of ” I am good for nothing”. It will prevent the repetition of these thoughts. 

  • Mindfulness Meditation

Increasingly, mindfulness-based relaxation therapies and meditation have proved to help manage a wide range of disorders. The following techniques effectively reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and negative thoughts in individuals with PTSD.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): It is a crucial 8-week program focused on performing mindfulness meditation. It aims to train individuals to concentrate on their breath and avoid distractions by intrusive thoughts impacting their lives badly.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): It is described as an adaption of mindfulness-based stress reduction and has the same structure. However, MBCT is designed to impact and improve depressive moods along with negative thoughts more particularly.

Mindfulness-Based Exposure Therapy: This therapy involves a 16-week non-trauma-focused program incorporating mindfulness-based exposure therapy techniques. It favors controlled and secure exposure to ignored stimuli, concentrating on self-compassion training.

Meditation-Relaxation: Meditation relaxation, like a loving-kindness meditation, is an effective way to enhance self-compassion and lessen depressive symptoms associated with PTSD.

  • Restore Focus Via Physical Activity

Many individuals who have PTSD said that having an enjoyable and exciting physical activity that you can do regularly will help reduce stress levels. Some people find running very effective in coping with severe stress symptoms that impact their life. It will help reduce negative thoughts and flashbacks from past distressing experiences. Symptoms associated with PTSD can be effectively managed by different physical activities such as playing with your pets, children or going for a walk or run.

  • Aromatherapy

MNT conducted a study in which it was revealed that orange essential oil is very beneficial in decreasing symptoms of anxiety and chronic stress associated with PTSD. However, this study was conducted on mice, and these findings are yet to be seen in a human cohort. Still, some people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder have stated that aromatherapy is a helpful relaxation therapy and an excellent way to release your stress. Lavender sage, peppermint, and any other relaxing oil, when massaged between your eyebrows and pulse points, can be extremely calming. Aromatherapy can provide a soothing effect that can help reduce stress levels.

  • Art therapy

Art therapy is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder therapy getting popular over the past few years. This therapy is performed by professionals trained to work with individuals who have already experienced traumatic events. Art therapy aims to support people in externalizing their emotions and cope with their disturbing memories through art such as sculpture or painting. A case study revealed that individuals with PTSD and other traumatic brain injuries benefit from this therapy. They overcome the symptoms by using art. They also started leaving behind all their distressing memories by strategically utilizing art projects.

  • Self-Soothing

Whenever you experience anxiety, it’s good to find effective ways to deal with these feelings. For instance, asking for social support is an ideal way to improve your mood. However, in case of anxiety associated with post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, you need to think of something else. These symptoms can happen unexpectedly, and you can’t have social support all the time. Therefore, anxiety coping strategies that you can do by yourself will work best. Self-soothing strategy is one of them and focuses on making your mood better and lessens your anxiety. You can do this self-care coping strategy anytime you get feelings of anxiety.

  • Pets for PTSD

Adopting a pet is another effective approach towards coping with the unruly symptoms of PTSD. These pets are well-trained to identify and prevent or interrupt the onset of these symptoms. Studies have shown that a trained pet can profoundly impact the short-term symptoms associated with PTSD. It helps individuals to manage depression, anxiety, and other severe PTSD-related symptoms like nightmares. Research revealed that if a person with PTSD spends at least one week with a well-trained dog can improve symptoms related to PTSD by 82 percent.

Conclusion

People diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder suffer severe anxiety, stress, depression, nightmares, and more. Often, it is tough for them to avoid or cope with these symptoms impacting their lives. Fortunately, certain effective ways and treatment therapies helped many people deal with the symptoms associated with PTSD. Psychotherapy is among the best treatments that involve cognitive behavioral therapy. EMDR is another effective intervention in treating PTSD and reduces symptoms associated with it. Individuals with PTSD should get involved in various physical activities, as proved beneficial in many cases.

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