Veterans Day— how to deal with PTSD triggers
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an often debilitating disease. It dovetails with addiction in complicated ways, but both diseases are treatable and the symptoms are manageable. With the appropriate treatment, PTSD can be managed and often goes away after care. Addiction is generally a lifelong syndrome, but can be effectively managed. Millions of people around the world live both sober and with addiction at the same time.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder And Managing Triggers
Often associated with soldiers and experiences of combat, PTSD can affect anyone who has had a traumatic experience. It can also happen to those who witness traumatic experiences or work with those who have had severe traumatic experiences. This is sometimes called secondary PTSD. We want to stress: PTSD is not a weakness. Secondary PTSD is not a weakness. This is a thing that happens to the strongest men and women in the world— including soldiers, marines, airmen and women, and sailors. It is a disease that affects many people around the world.
Those who have undiagnosed or untreated PTSD sometimes turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with the effects, but these substances often compound the disease and symptoms. Below we’ll run down the symptoms of PTSD, as well as what you can do to deal with triggers.
What Is PTSD
PTSD is a syndrome that affects the brain after a traumatic experience. Most commonly it is associated with experiences of combat for warfighters, but can also include traumatic accidents like serious car accidents, industrial accidents, natural disasters and the like.
Symptoms include recurring nightmares of the traumatic experience, waking flashbacks to the traumatic event, sleep problems, hypervigilance, feelings of detachment, recurrent and unwanted memories of the traumatic event, severe reactions to things that remind a person of the event.
PTSD can also include ideations of suicide. If you are thinking of taking your own life, talk to someone immediately. We promise, it gets better, there is help, and this disease and its symptoms can be treated. If you are in immediate crisis you can dial 998 for the suicide prevention hotline in the U.S.
How To Deal With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Triggers
Triggers are events or thoughts that can make PTSD rise to the surface and cause feelings of intense anxiety and depression. They are the things that can cause PTSD to become acute, such as hearing fireworks or being reminded in some way of the traumatic event. Below you’ll find some ways to deal with these triggers, both in the moment and over the long term.
Know Your Triggers
The first step in dealing with your triggers is to know them. If you are triggered by fireworks say, it might be best to try to avoid them. But When these triggers are unavoidable, it helps to have a plan for how to deal with the symptoms.
Have A Plan
Acute PTSD symptoms can pop up almost anywhere. It is very helpful to have a plan in advance of what you will do when these symptoms appear, and it’s also helpful to have the people you are most commonly around— family members, close friends, work colleagues, classmates— know how to help when you are having acute symptoms.
It may sound too simple to work, but human beings have known since before recorded history how managing one’s breathing can ease stressful situations. This can work for PTSD as well. A doctor, therapist, or even a meditation or yoga instructor can teach you some breathing exercises that can offer relief from some PTSD symptoms.
Remove Yourself From The Triggering Situation
If possible, removing yourself from a triggering situation is a good idea. Will there be fireworks in your neighborhood during a holiday? Perhaps go somewhere where you know it will be quiet. Does going to a crowded store raise your anxiety level? Try to leave the store. This, of course, is easier said than done, but when the option to leave is available, take it.
Talk To Someone
Far, far too many people try to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder alone. Don’t be one of them. Of course, we always recommend seeing a therapist, but your loved ones should know what’s going on with you as well. Having a conversation about what is happening with a family member or friend can help ease acute and long term symptoms.
Medication is often prescribed for patients with PTSD, often antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. If you are prescribed medication remember to take it regularly, and if you are prescribed medication for acute attacks, remember to take it with you everywhere, as PTSD symptoms can happen anywhere. If you’re not prescribed medication, talk to your doctor or therapist about the possibility.
While not always an option when experiencing acute symptoms, speaking to a therapist helps reduce the symptoms over time. Some therapists, though, do allow you to call them when you are experiencing acute symptoms, and this can be beneficial for many people.
Help For PTSD and Addiction Is Available— Use It
There is treatment for PTSD, and there is treatment for substance abuse. But you need to reach out your hand and take it. If you are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or associated conditions such as alcohol or drug abuse, call us— or anyone— and get help today by calling Southeast Addiction at (888) 981-8263