How to Manage Your PTSD
When most people hear the term PTSD, they think it only applies to someone who has had a bad experience when being sent to war. In reality, PTSD is a mental disorder that can impact anyone — no matter their age — that has gone through a traumatic experience in their life.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD — also known as posttraumatic stress disorder — affects 3.5% of all adults in the United States each year and 1 in 11 Americans will be diagnosed with the disorder in their lifetime. In fact, it’s more common than ever before.
Although PTSD is a serious disorder that can impede an individual’s ability to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life, most people are unaware of what it is. Even those that are diagnosed with PTSD aren’t sure what to do to manage their symptoms — both short-term and long-term.
So, what is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that someone is diagnosed with following a traumatic experience. These experiences can include natural disasters, physical abuse, sexual harassment, a major injury, war/combat, or someone who was threatened with death.
These people are known to relive these experiences long after the experience is over. They might have disturbing or distressing thoughts and feelings related to the experience. When being diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms generally fall into one of four different categories:
- Cognitive/Mood Changes – any changes in the individual’s brain function or mood that’s related to the traumatic event. They might not remember certain parts of the event, have negative feelings or thoughts, ongoing fear or anger, or inability to think positively.
- Arousal/Reactive Changes – these include changes that cause the individual to have angry outbursts, being extremely irritable, reckless behavior, paranoid, easily startled, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping as a result of the traumatic event.
- Avoidance – symptoms that fall under this category include avoiding anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This includes people, places, situations, talking about the experience, or even thinking about the traumatic event.
- Intrusion – these symptoms include any intrusive or excessive thoughts about what transpired during the traumatic event. Most people experience nightmares or flashbacks that are vivid enough that the individual feels like they’re reliving the event all over again.
Before a mental health professional diagnoses someone with PTSD, it’s very important they understand the symptoms the individual is experiencing. Without this information, they wouldn’t know how to properly treat the individual and better help them manage the different symptoms.
Tips for Managing Your PTSD
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, learning to manage the symptoms is extremely important to leading a healthy and fulfilling life. As traumatic as that experience was, it shouldn’t have to take away from that individual’s ability to live.
Here are five of our most prominent tips for managing PTSD symptoms on a daily basis:
Find a New Hobby That You Enjoy
When dealing with PTSD symptoms, it’s important that you find effective and efficient ways to keep your mind off of that traumatic experience. The more you think about it, the more it’ll wreak havoc on your mental health. Of course, that’s where finding a new hobby comes into play.
Some people take up a sport, some people tap into their artistic abilities, some people turn to writing, and others start learning how to fix things around the house. It doesn’t really matter what you end up choosing, so long as it’s something you enjoy doing and it keeps your mind busy.
Meditate, Exercise, & Self-Regulation
Meditation and self-regulation is another thing that can help you keep your mind off your PTSD symptoms. It allows you a chance to relax your inner mind and ease yourself of any stress or anxiety you feel on a daily basis. Not only that, but it’s extremely easy to do wherever you are.
You can also turn to a regular exercise routine that helps you maintain your physical and mental health. It’s a great way to release energy, relieve yourself of stress, and keep yourself busy throughout the day with a healthy activity. It doesn’t take much to stay active on a daily basis.
Turn to Your Support Group
Everyone living with PTSD should have a solid support group that they can turn to when things start to get rough. This support group should be by your side whenever you need them and should be well-aware of your symptoms, that way they know how to help you cope with them.
Your support group can consist of your family members, closest friends, health professionals, and others that might be going through the same experiences as you are. They don’t necessarily have to be a doctor, but they do need to be someone you trust with all your heart.
Adopt a Trained Pet
Believe it or not, adopting a pet can do a lot for your mental health when dealing with PTSD symptoms. In fact, there are trained dogs that you can adopt to specifically help with your symptoms. They make great companions and are always right by your side — no matter what.
These service dogs have helped give many people living with PTSD an extra sense of purpose and help them maintain their meaning in life. Even if you’re not a dog person, you can adopt any type of pet that might make you feel happier and more positive on a daily basis — it’s up to you.
Seek Help From a Therapist
The final tip we have when learning to manage your PTSD symptoms is seeking help from a therapist. These professionals are trained to help you navigate all the different feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and decisions you make on a daily basis related to your symptoms.
Seeking a therapist is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s highly recommended for anyone living with PTSD and is sometimes extended to the family members of that individual. If you need help finding the right therapist in your area, contact our good friends over at BetterHelp and seek a counselor that has experience with PTSD therapy.
At Film Daily, we encourage everyone to get the help they need — whether that’s from a therapist, a service dog, finding a new hobby, adding to your support system, meditating, or exercising regularly. There’s nothing more important than living a happy and healthy life!