• 5 Healthy Ways of Coping with PTSD

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Sep 13th, 2018

Probably best known as the condition that affects military veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur whenever a person experiences a distressing situation, such as a witnessing a disturbing event on the battlefield, being sexually assaulted, or violated in any other way.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 7.7 million people in the U.S. live with this disorder, and women are twice as likely to develop PTSD than men. Some of the most common symptoms include considerable anxiety, constant flashbacks of the traumatic event, insomnia, and agitation. People suffering from PTSD also tend to avoid places or social situations that might cause their flashbacks.

Unfortunately, PTSD isn’t something that can be solved overnight, as the symptoms can last for years, and in most cases it severely affects the quality of life of the person who has the condition. A lot of times, people turn to negative coping mechanisms (alcohol and various substances) in order to feel better, but this decision often leads to addiction.

That’s why it’s important to recognize which coping mechanisms are positive ones and start applying them as soon as possible. Proper treatment (prescribed by a doctor), such as cognitive behavioral therapy is one of them, but there are also other things a PTSD patient can do, on their own, to somewhat improve the quality of their life.

1. Practice mindfulness meditation—Over the years, mindfulness-based treatments and meditation have been known to help manage certain disorders. Some therapies have been found effective when it comes to PTSD, as well—mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (targets depressive moods and negative thoughts), mindfulness-based stress reduction (people learn to focus on their breath, rather than intrusive thoughts), and mantrum repetition practice (effective in targeting anxiety and depression) being some of them.

2. Engage in physical activity—Different kinds of physical activity have proved to be, time and again, extremely beneficial for our mental health. People with PTSD have reported that running, for example, helps them fight anxiety and cope with their symptoms. According to Anglia Ruskin University’s study (Cambridge, the United Kingdom), surfing is another sport that can function as an effective coping mechanism for veterans.

3. Try aromatherapy—A study conducted by MNT showed that orange essential oil can reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress that PTSD brings. This theory is yet to be tested on people (the experiments were only performed on mice), but there are individuals who have reported that aromatherapy has helped them noticeably calm down and relax when they’d have a PTSD episode.

4. Create art to relax—Using art therapy as a way to treat PTSD has been gaining popularity over the past couple of years. Usually led by professionals trained to work with people who suffer from a traumatic disorder, art therapy’s main aim is to help individuals learn to cope with disturbing memories through painting or sculpting. A lot of people are unable to talk about their traumatic experiences, while art allows them to express themselves non-verbally.

5. Adopt a pet—Research has shown that when a person with PTSD spends just a week with a specially trained dog, their symptoms improve by 82%. These dogs know how to recognize and interrupt the disruptive symptoms of PTSD, and can help their owners calm down, manage nightmares, and deal with anxiety.

If you know someone suffering from PTSD, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Best and the Neuroscience team, and decide what the best course of action for you is.

Contact us:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md

Author Caroline Ryther

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