Though PTSD is often mentioned in the same breath as the military, trauma can and does happen to anyone and comes in a nearly infinite variety of forms. Untreated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can lead to many issues, some less severe like morning anxiety and others much worse, such as suicidal thoughts. No matter the source of your trauma, you should never be shy about seeking help to treat your PTSD.
Here are some steps to getting help overcoming PTSD.
Do I Have PTSD?
Trauma, and subsequently post-traumatic stress, can come from a personal experience or witnessing something horrible happen to someone else. It’s normal for people to take some time to deal with difficult situations, but if after a few weeks things like nightmares and constant thoughts of the event are still impossible to escape, there is a good chance you have PTSD and should seek help. It’s never too early.
Some more telling symptoms include:
- Constant reminders (often irrational reminders) of the event
- Detached feelings in crowds
- Negative thoughts
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Blank spots in your memory regarding the event
- Trouble sleeping
- Substance abuse
If one or more of these things is still occurring a month after the event, seek help. Here are some ways how.
One of the silver linings of the COVID pandemic was an increase in the availability of online health services, including those related to mental health and PTSD. You can start getting treatment for your PTSD literally right now. Betterhelp.com is a great resource you can start right now, and they have licensed therapists available 24/7. There are also many online services with search engines to help you find a local, in-person therapist.
Another option that is great for those who worry that their experiences may be too unique for help is group therapy. For many, the group validation of this form of treatment can be a crucial point in the road to recovery. Simply seeing others going through the same experiences can be a catalyst for overcoming the pain those experiences continue to cause. It’s also difficult for some people who have not experienced PTSD to talk to those who do have it about their issues. Even people who are “always there for you” may not be able to help you talk through your experiences. Group therapy allows individuals to meet people they may depend on for the rest of their lives when flashbacks or down periods occur.
In addition to sharing stories, listening to stories and helping others is great for building confidence to overcome your own issues. Group therapy offers many win-win scenarios for you and the individuals you meet at the sessions.
You should always consult a physician before starting any medication, but some have proven very effective with individuals experiencing PTSD. Most insurances, including military plans, will cover the costs of medicine related to PTSD, and help is available for the uninsured, as well. The most common medications for PTSD are Paroxentine and Sertaline, which act on the brain to reduce the effects of PTSD.
Of course, you can’t always be in a room with a group, and you can’t always have access to a therapist (though it is much easier than it used to be!). Fortunately, there are also some things you can do to help yourself avoid the negative impacts of your PTSD. First and foremost, constantly remind yourself you are not alone. Call a loved one, and don’t be afraid to say you’re having a bad day.
There is a line to toe regarding how much “normal” you want to get back to, but if there are parts of your life related to your trauma that you can avoid without any loss, avoid them.
Remember, you’re not alone!
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in the wellness industry, wearable technology, and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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