PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) affects millions of people around the world, yet it often goes unrecognized and untreated. June is PTSD Awareness Month – an opportunity for us to educate ourselves about this condition and how it impacts those living with it. Although June is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean we forget about this all-too-common condition that plagues so many individuals. Take the information you learn and spread awareness year-round.
From veterans to survivors of abuse or trauma, there are countless individuals who struggle to cope with the daily challenges of PTSD. With proper understanding and treatment, those living with PTSD can live fulfilling lives.
In this article, we’ll discuss signs of PTSD, living with and supporting someone who has PTSD, and various forms of treatments. Let’s take this time in the remainder of June and beyond to educate ourselves on PTSD.
Signs of PTSD
The first step is identifying when you or a loved one has PTSD. One of the most recognizable signs of PTSD is having flashbacks or nightmares related to a traumatic incident. These memories may be so vivid that it feels like you are reliving the experience all over again.
Other symptoms include changes in behavior, such as becoming more easily startled or avoiding certain activities or situations that remind you of the trauma. You may also find it difficult to sleep, suffer from depression and anxiety, and struggle to concentrate.
These physical symptoms can also occur due to PTSD:
- Chest pain
People with PTSD may also find themselves drinking too much alcohol or using drugs in an attempt to cope with their symptoms. Other times they may act out violently or become overly aggressive.
Living with Someone who has PTSD
PTSD is an extremely difficult condition to live with. But it’s also challenging for the loved ones of the individuals with PTSD, especially if you live in the same household. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re living with someone who has PTSD:
- Establish Boundaries: It is important to set healthy boundaries when living with someone who has PTSD. It is natural for an individual with PTSD to experience heightened levels of distress during times of stress or uncertainty. If your loved one’s behavior is overwhelming or intrusive, it is important that you establish some limits and explain them in a firm yet compassionate way.
- Offer Support: Individuals with PTSD often need support and understanding in order to cope with their condition. Make sure that your loved one feels comfortable talking about how they feel, what they’re going through, and any triggers or stressors they may have experienced recently. Showing interest and empathy can go a long way towards providing a supportive environment.
- Educate Yourself: In order to better understand your loved one’s condition, it is important to educate yourself on PTSD. Learn about the causes of the illness, the different types of symptoms associated with it, and effective treatments for managing it. With a better understanding of PTSD, you can more effectively support your loved one’s recovery.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: While living with someone who has PTSD can be incredibly stressful, it is important to prioritize self-care in order to maintain balance in your life. Make sure that you are taking time for yourself each day by engaging in activities that make you feel happy and relaxed. Exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet as well as get plenty of quality sleep.
It’s also essential to create an open dialogue about this condition, normalizing it within society in order to reduce stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues. Spreading awareness of PTSD can lead to better understanding and acceptance of the condition, which can help people feel supported in seeking treatment.
Seeking treatment for PTSD is essential for short and long-term pain relief. Family Integrative Medicine can offer you solutions to greatly reduce PTSD symptoms.
- Massage Therapy: Massage therapy has been proven to be a beneficial treatment option for people living with PTSD. Massage helps reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia by targeting the body’s stress response system. Through massage, a person can experience a decrease in cortisol levels—the hormone responsible for triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response—which helps promote relaxation and reduce tension.
- Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic care is a natural, drug-free approach to treating PTSD. It works by restoring the body’s natural balance and helping it to heal itself. By focusing on the musculoskeletal system, we can help relieve tension and pain that are commonly associated with PTSD. This can improve overall quality of life for those struggling with the condition.
- Acupuncture: At Family Integrative Medicine, we offer medical or orthopedic acupuncture. Acupuncture for PTSD is gaining traction among both mental health professionals and those who are struggling with the condition. One reason why acupuncture may be effective in treating PTSD is due to its ability to regulate hormones such as cortisol and endorphins. Cortisol is a hormone released by your body during times of stress, and too much of it can lead to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. By regulating cortisol levels, acupuncture helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Endorphins, on the other hand, are hormones that promote feelings of happiness and well-being. Acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins which can help to alleviate symptoms of PTSD.
Other beneficial PTSD treatments that Family Integrative Medicine doesn’t offer include:
- Yoga: Studies have shown that using yoga techniques, such as breathing exercises, stretching, and meditation, can reduce stress levels and help to manage symptoms of PTSD. Even just one session of yoga each week can significantly help those struggling with PTSD by providing a greater sense of emotional control and improved physical functioning.
- Meditation: Meditation is a powerful tool that can help individuals process their trauma and come to terms with the feelings associated with it. Studies show that people who practice meditation on a regular basis experience lower levels of stress and anxiety.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of talk therapy used to help people manage their symptoms by challenging negative thoughts and behaviors.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: EMDR is a type of therapy that focuses on using eye movements to process the traumatic event; group therapy, which can provide support from those who have experienced similar trauma; and exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing the patient to reminders of the traumatic event in a safe environment.
If you need assistance finding a quality establishment for any of the four treatments listed above, our team would be happy to assist you.
Spread PTSD Awareness
Reducing the negative stigma attached to mental health and PTSD will allow those who are suffering to reach out for help and receive treatment.
Seeking professional help is key when it comes to managing PTSD and fostering long-term recovery. There are a variety of evidence-based therapies that have been proven to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for those affected by this condition.
If you or a loved one is dealing with PTSD, Family Integrative Medicine would be more than happy to provide you with a personalized treatment plan or point you in the direction of someone who can.
Let’s do our part to spread PTSD awareness.