S You Can Take To Help Someone With Ptsd
You can take steps to help someone with PTSD. Learn about the disorder so you can relate to what your loved one is going through and know what to expect. Talk to your loved one, and acknowledge spoken feelings. Encourage treatment as its paramount for recovery. Invite your loved one to accompany you for a walk or some other peaceful activity. Its good for the person to rejoin the world. Show your support in all ways, and above all, be patient.
People who suffer from PTSD feel like theyve lost control. Taking an active role in your loved ones recovery can help to empower them. One good practice is to focus on repairing the rift the trauma left behind. Encourage your loved one to spend time with family and friends and to leave the house for a little while each day. You might advise becoming involved in PTSD awareness as a step toward empowerment. The smallest action can help a person regain control.
How To Cope With Traumatic Stress
Traumatic stress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. Usually, symptoms get better with time, but people with more intense symptoms may need professional help.
How to cope with traumatic stress.
Over the course of a lifetime, its common to be exposed to a traumatic event, whether it is a violent act, a serious injury, a sexual violation, or other shocking event. In response, many will experience traumatic stressa normal reaction to an abnormal event. People may even experience traumatic stress by just witnessing a highly distressing event or having a close family member or friend experience such an event.
In the days and weeks following such a trauma, its common for people to have a flurry of unpredictable emotions and physical symptoms. They include:
- Feeling nervous, jumpy, or on high alert
- Irritability or anger
- Intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares
- Trouble feeling positive emotions
- Avoiding people, places, memories, or thoughts associated with the traumatic event
Usually, these symptoms get better with time. But for some people, more intense symptoms linger or interfere with their daily lives and do not go away on their own. Some people may develop acute stress disorder in which they have extreme symptoms of stress that significantly interfere with daily life, school, work or social functioning in the month after a traumatic event. Others can develop , with symptoms that interfere with daily life and last for more than a month after the trauma.
Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
Recommended Reading: How To Lower Stress Hormones
Symptoms Of Stress Disorders
One major feature is mentally reexperiencing the trauma. This occurs in the form of nightmares or flashbacks. These memories feel intrusive and uncontrollable and can disrupt sleep and normal functioning. I mentioned my intrusive memories of my familys accident. I have also had a number of pandemic nightmares.
A second major feature of stress disorders is a sense of being numb, disassociated from others, and trying to avoid anything that reminds one of the trauma. When our new puppy died in surgery, I ran through the house, collecting anything that reminded me of her and put it out of sight. Throughout 2020, I felt like I was dreaming and hoped I would wake up.
A third major feature of stress disorders is heightened arousal. A traumatized person is often jumpy, startling easily. Severe anxiety and irritability are common. After 9/11, I kept anticipating the next attack. For a while, I was afraid to go to some public places. Current stress seems to have taken a toll on flight crews as the irritability was noticeable on flights I took recently.
When someone is suffering from the effects of extreme stress, they will not respond to reason. Someone could have said to me that the odds of our local shopping mall being targeted by terrorists in the aftermath of 9/11 were infintesimal and they would have been correct. But it wouldnt have changed my anxiety.
Learning To Cope With Ptsd
You must not get so wrapped up in your loved ones disorder that you neglect yourself. Dont feel guilty for not having all the answers no one does. Remind yourself that you cant speed up the process of recovery as these things always take time. Make time for your family and remember all the good things in your life. Learning to cope with PTSD is equally important for your well-being. Keep in mind that in a given year, approximately 5.2 million people suffer from PTSD. That means almost as many caregivers are dealing were with the disorder. You and your loved one arent alone.
Talk to your family about concerns you might have. You need their support. Learn methods of relaxation, like meditation or yoga, that can help you take a break. Use positive activities as a distraction. Make an effort to spend time with people who arent connected to your loved ones trauma. Dont allow yourself to be suffocated by the PTSD.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Stress Incontinence
When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
Be Gentle And Thorough
If you are wondering how to deal with divorce, there isnt a single answer. There isnt a single formula for this. The only way to discover what works for you is to try different strategies and make them your own.
Take time to understand what you are feeling, find support in your social network where you can share them, and keep focusing on what is to come. The future can hold many beautiful experiences if you keep working through divorce stress and anxiety.
Among so many ways to cope with divorce stress, choose the strategies that work for you and reiterate often. Dealing with emotional stress takes time and practice.
Allow yourself to explore, and if you try something that doesnt work for you, try something else. Choose to move on from the activity, such as painting or journaling, but not from the goal behind it healing and getting better.
Choose one activity today that you havent tried and give it a shot. Take it one step at a time and with care.
Also Check: How Do You Stop Stress
Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
Helpful Organisations For Money Worries
It is important if you are worried about your finances and debts that you do not try to deal with them alone. There is a lot of help and support available to you through organisations such as Step Change and Citizens Advice.
You should also talk to your GP or a trusted health professional if you are worried about how debt is affecting your mental and physical health.
Also Check: How To Deal With High Levels Of Stress
Get Enough Sleepbut Not Too Much
The thought of hiding away under the covers sounds pretty great when there’s so much to deal with beyond your bedroom door, but sleeping too much isn’t the answer. Research shows that the more you sleep, the more tired you actually feel. Plus, studies that have shown an association between chronic oversleeping and diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, and even higher rates of death . Adding health problems to your already heavy load is only going to exacerbate your stress levels. That said, too little sleep can make stress worse, too. “When you are tired and depleted, things look worse and less manageable than when you’re rested,” Smith says. The sweet spot to aim for, per the National Sleep Foundation, is between seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind too!
However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.
You May Like: How To Stop Stress Weight Gain
How Can We Handle Stress In Healthy Ways
Stress serves an important purposeit enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, lengthy exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties or increased physical health problems. A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover.
There are several other methods you can use to relax or reduce stress, including:
Examples Of What Can Cause Stress Include:
- 1. Being Robbed, Mugged, Or Attacked
- 2. Major Natural Disasters, Such As Earthquakes, That Can Damage Your Home Or Destroy It Altogether
- 3. Losing Your Job
- 4. Getting Into A Fight With Your Spouse Or Significant Other
- 5. Getting Into A Car Accident, Which Can Cause Physical, Emotional, And Financial Stress
Certain Lifestyle Choices Can Also Contribute To Your Stress Levels. This Is Especially True If They Affect Your Overall Health Or If You Become Dependent On Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms. Lifestyle Choices That Can Increase Your Stress Include:
- 1. Heavy Or Excessive Consumption Of Alcohol
- 2. Spending Too Much Time Watching Television Or Playing Video Games
- 3. Not Getting Enough Exercise
- 4. Smoking Or Using Illegal Drugs
- 5. Working At A High-pressure Job
Don’t Miss: Does Stress Cause Diabetes Type 2
Build A Support Network
While relationships can sometimes be a source of prolonged stress, having supportive people in your life to lean on also acts as an important buffer against acute and chronic stress. Research has found that social support is critical for both physical and mental health.
Not only does support help people become more resilient, but it also helps protect people from developing mental disorders related to stress and trauma. For example, one study found that social support helped reduce the effects of stress on symptoms of depression.
Finding support doesn’t mean you need to have an enormous network. The American Psychological Association suggests that having a handful of friends and family members can provide the emotional support you need to better manage your stress.
Some Of The Reactions To Stress Among Teens Who Are Having A Hard Time Coping Include
- Feeling anxious: Anxiety and stress are often closely related, and can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Anxiety is also often tied to various signs of depression in teens.
- Becoming withdrawn: Its not uncommon for teenagers to become a bit withdrawn, this introspection can be a part of self-discovery, but when its lead-on by immense stress, then its good to try to utilize teenage coping skills to resolve it.
- Being aggressive: Sometimes, with a lack of coping skills in teens, stress is handled by being aggressive, either physically aggressive or speaking and acting in an aggressive way.
- Feeling physically unwell: A lack of ability to cope can lead a teenager to feeling unwell physically including an increase in their rate and breathing. Hands can be sweaty or clammy, along with an increase in blood flow.
- Fight, flight, or freeze: Stress can trigger someones fight or flight reaction, or it can just cause them to freeze up in a form of parallels.
- Substance issues: When someone lacks the ability to cope with things, they may turn to alcohol or other substances. This is not a way to actually deal with the issue, and often leads to even greater problems. Learning skills to cope for teens is much more productive, so lets go over some of those right now.
Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Stress In Shoulders
You Can Do It: Coping With Extreme Stress Is A Learned Skill Researchers Say
This article was published more than 9 years ago. Some information may no longer be current.
A woman carries her dog while walking through charred homes in Breezy Point which were left devastated by Hurricane Sandy in the New York borough of Queens November 12, 2012.ADREES LATIF/Reuters
Among the thousands of people whose houses were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, some are already bouncing back. They’re out helping their neighbours, looking into rebuilding their homes and day by day, getting on with their lives. Others, however, may be traumatized for years to come.
The difference between the two groups is not mainly genetic, research suggests. Rather, the ability to cope with extreme stress involves a set of skills and habits that most people can acquire, according to psychiatrists Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney, authors of the timely new book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges.
Southwick, an expert on post-traumatic stress disorder at Yale University, explains what we can learn from emotionally healthy combat veterans, sexual-assault survivors and former prisoners of war.
What is resilience?
Most people see it as the ability to bend, but not break. And it’s multidimensional. Someone could be highly resilient in their work lives, but not so much in relationships, and people can be more or less resilient in different stages of their lives.
Your book suggests 50 to 90 per cent of us will experience a traumatic event. What are the most common?
Make Gratitude A Regular Practice
Several studies have revealed the positive effects of expressing gratitude. While studying brain activity, National Institutes of Health researchers found subjects who showed more gratitude had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that has a huge influence on our stress levels. Plus, gratefulness also activated the regions associated with dopamine, one of those feel-good neurotransmitters. To reap these stress-reducing benefits, write down your feelings of gratitude daily in a journal, or by sending little notes to friends or family letting them know how much you appreciate them.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Stress Migraines
Momentary Vs Lasting Stress
Sometimes a stressful situation just lasts a moment like getting through a school play audition or making the foul shot that could win the game.
But life also can bring situations that might keep us stressed for a few days, weeks, or months. Even if we’re not always thinking about this stress, it can be like a background soundtrack playing in our lives.
If you’re like most people, you’ve faced these kinds of lasting stressful situations. Feeling unprepared or unhappy about the situation increases the stress. Stressful situations can wear us down over time. Finding ways to deal with them can help us grow strong.
Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
You May Like: What Do Stress Hives Look Like