How Can I Help Myself
If you have been through trauma, or think you might have PTSD, here are things you can do:
- Confide in an adult you trust. Reach out to someone who will listen and care. Its OK if you need extra time and support for a while. Pay it forward by being kind or helpful to someone else. Helping makes the helper feel good too.
- Get treatment for PTSD or trauma. This can help you cope with what you have been through. It can help you discover strengths you never knew you had. Your parent, doctor, or school counselor can help you find the right person to work with.
- Practice ways to relax. Make time every day to take a few slow breaths. If you can, make the exhale just a bit longer than the inhale. Try this: Breathe in while you count to 3. Breathe out while you count to 5. Take 34 breaths like this. It seems so simple. But it has a powerful benefit. It helps to reset the brains threat sensor. The benefit adds up, so practice it often.
- Do things that you enjoy. Trauma can make it harder to feel the positive emotions that naturally help you recharge. Play, laugh, enjoy nature, make music or art, cook. These activities can reduce stress, build your resilience. They even help you be a better learner when its time to focus.
- Know that you can do this. Believe in yourself. Everyone has the ability to adapt and grow, even with difficult challenges. It takes patience and effort. And there are people who will help you.
Arousal And Reactivity Symptoms Include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
How Is Ptsd Diagnosed
There are several steps involved in fully diagnosing post-traumatic stress disorder, including a physical and psychological evaluation in addition to meeting the criteria in DSM-5 . Some of the criteria established in the DSM-5 include one or more of the following factors:
- Direct experience of a traumatic event
- Witnessing trauma to others
- Learning someone you love was threatened or affected by a traumatic event
- Repeated exposure to graphic details of traumatic events
Also, symptoms of PTSD have to affect you longer than one month and interfere with your ability to cope and/or function in normal activities or relationships, for a formal diagnosis to be considered.
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Free Brochures And Shareable Resources
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope With Traumatic Events: This fact sheet presents information on how children and adolescents respond to traumatic events, and what family, friends, and trusted adults can do to help. Also available en español.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This brochure provides information about post-traumatic stress disorder including what it is, who develops PTSD, symptoms, treatment options, and how to find help for yourself or someone else who may have PTSD. Also available en español.
- : Help support PTSD awareness and education in your community. Use these digital resources, including graphics and messages, to spread the word about PTSD.
How Is It Diagnosed
CPTSD is still a relatively new condition, so some doctors arent aware of it. This can make it hard to get an official diagnosis, and you might be diagnosed with PTSD instead of CPTSD. Theres no specific test for determining whether you have CPTSD, but keeping a detailed log of your symptoms can help your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis. Try to keep track of when your symptoms started as well as any changes in them over time.
Once you find a doctor, theyll start by asking about your symptoms, as well as any traumatic events in your past. For the initial diagnosis, you likely wont need to go into too much detail if it makes you uncomfortable.
Next, they may ask about any family history of mental illness or other risk factors. Make sure to tell them about any medications or supplements you take, as well as any recreational drugs you use. Try to be as honest as you can with them so they can make the best recommendations for you.
If youve had symptoms of post-traumatic stress for at least a month and they interfere with your daily life, your doctor will likely start with a diagnosis of PTSD. Depending on the traumatic event and whether you have additional symptoms, such as ongoing relationship problems or trouble controlling your emotions, they may diagnose you with CPTSD.
Keep in mind that you may need to see a few doctors before you find someone you feel comfortable with. This is very normal, especially for people dealing with post-traumatic stress.
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How Is Ptsd Treated
Professional treatment can help you feel better, says Dr. Wimbiscus. And while medications can play a role in treating the disorder, she says the gold-standard treatment is trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, or TF-CBT, and sometimes another variation of this type of therapy called EMDR .
This type of therapy helps you reframe your memories of the trauma and learn new ways to manage those thoughts and feelings. A big part of managing PTSD is having a skilled mental health professional working alongside you, Dr. Wimbiscus says.
Heres the ugly truth: That treatment isnt easy it might dig up memories or emotions youd rather keep buried. And for all that effort, you may not feel like youre making much progress. And you might have to meet with your therapist a few times before you can get into the real work of treating PTSD.
Having patience for that process is easier said than done. But your hard work will be worth it when you come out on the other side, with fewer symptoms and better tools to manage your anxiety.
Some people with PTSD will notice their symptoms fade in a matter of months. For others, healing takes longer. You may feel frustrated that you cant speed up the process.
What Does Ptsd Feel Like
Although experiencing PTSD is different for everyone, some people have noted they experience feeling pain or pressure in their body, even if theres nothing physically there. Experiencing PTSD can also include experiencing the same emotions felt during the traumatic event, such as fear, horror, or distress. Panic attacks, nightmares, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing also can indicate PTSD.
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Avoid Consuming Too Much Media About The Event
After experiencing a traumatic event, it can be tempting to watch or read lots of things about it on social media or in the news. This is especially the case for higher profile events like terrorist attacks or natural disasters. However, it is best to avoid watching, listening to or reading lots of media related to the event, especially if when you do so it causes you distress.
When To Get Medical Advice
It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but most people improve naturally over a few weeks.
You should see a GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome.
If necessary, your GP can refer you to mental health specialists for further assessment and treatment.
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International Classification Of Diseases
The International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10 classifies PTSD under “Reaction to severe stress, and adjustment disorders.” The ICD-10 criteria for PTSD include re-experiencing, avoidance, and either increased reactivity or inability to recall certain details related to the event.
The ICD-11 diagnostic description for PTSD contains three components or symptom groups re-experiencing, avoidance, and heightened sense of threat. ICD-11 no longer includes verbal thoughts about the traumatic event as a symptom. There is a predicted lower rate of diagnosed PTSD using ICD-11 compared to ICD10 or DSM-5. ICD-11 also proposes identifying a distinct group with complex post-traumatic stress disorder , who have more often experienced several or sustained traumas and have greater functional impairment than those with PTSD.
Unwanted And Intrusive Memories
When memories seem to turn against us, they can be traumatic in their own right, especially when they are memories were trying to forget. These unwanted and intrusive memories may look like the following symptoms:
- Reliving traumatic events over and over or having flashbacks of the event
- Recurring memories of the event while waking or sleeping
- Upsetting nightmares
- Physical and/or emotional distress triggered by sights, sounds, and even smells that remind you of the traumatic event
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Finding A Therapist For Ptsd
When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.
Beyond credentials and experience, its important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe. Trust your gut if a therapist doesnt feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel comfortable and understood.
Do Children React Differently Than Adults
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Symptoms sometimes seen in very young children , these symptoms can include:
- Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
- Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult
Older children and teens are more likely to show symptoms similar to those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
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Coping With Traumatic Stress
The good news is that there are very effective ways to cope with and treat the stressful effects of trauma. Psychologists and other researchers have found that these actions can help:
- Lean on your loved ones. Identify friends or family members for support. If you feel ready to discuss the traumatic event, you might talk to them about your experience and your feelings. You can also ask loved ones to help you with household tasks or other obligations to relieve some of your daily stress.
- Face your feelings. Its normal to want to avoid thinking about a traumatic event. But not leaving the house, sleeping all the time, isolating yourself from loved ones, and using substances to escape reminders are not healthy ways to cope over time. Though avoidance is normal, too much of it can prolong your stress and keep you from healing. Gradually, try to ease back into a normal routine. Support from loved ones or a mental health professional can help a lot as you get back in the groove.
- Prioritize self-care. Do your best to eat nutritious meals, get regular physical activity, and get a good nights sleep. And seek out other healthy coping strategies such as art, music, meditation, relaxation, and spending time in nature.
- Be patient. Remember that its normal to have a strong reaction to a distressing event. Take things one day at a time as you recover. As the days pass, your symptoms should start to gradually improve.
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.
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Though Its Often Associated With The Horrors Of War Post
May 9, 2022
All of us will encounter stress throughout our daily lives. When a strong emotional response to an extremely stressful or disturbing event impairs a persons ability to cope, its often considered to be traumatic.
While trauma doesnt always directly lead to post-traumatic stress disorder , it is beneficial for those who have witnessed or experienced traumaas well as their loved onesto know the signs and symptoms of PTSD, ways to treat it, and how to seek help.
Trauma can vary in severity and impactin fact, approximately one in three people who experience severe trauma also experience PTSD.
Despite its more common association with soldiers returning from combat situations and the horrors of war, PTSD is a condition that can apply to anyone who has witnessed or experienced traumatic, life-threatening, or life-changing events.
According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD is a common condition affecting 10% of women and 4% of men at some point in their lives.
How To Treat Ptsd
If self-coping doesnt work for your loved one, youll need to know how to treat PTSD another way. Find a doctor to talk to and offer to go to the visit together. Many people find answers in formal treatment. Psychotherapy and medication are very effective for recovering from a trauma. Learn about cognitive behavioral therapy and medications used to treat PTSD, and share this information with your loved one.
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What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In Children
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental health problem. It can affect people of all ages. A child with PTSD keeps having scary thoughts and memories of a past event. He or she finds the event terrifying, either physically or emotionally.
The symptoms of PTSD may start soon after a stressful event. Or they may not happen for 6 months or longer. Some children with PTSD have long-term effects. They may feel emotionally numb for a very long time. PTSD in children often becomes a long-term problem.
PTSD may be accompanied by:
What Can I Do If Im Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?
You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.
Whats a second opinion?
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
What is advocacy?
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.
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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.
Feeling Bad About Yourself Or Others
You may find it hard to express your feelings. This is another way to avoid memories.
- You may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.
- You may blame yourself for what happened. You may feel guilt, fear, or shame.
- You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
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