6 Ways to Cope with PTSD

FEATURED
October 13, 2021

Nue Life

Nue Life
9 MIN READ

Top points

  • Coping strategies are essential for managing PTSD symptoms, including intrusive memories and negative emotions.
  • Tools such as breathing exercises help reduce anxiety and shift your focus back to the present.
  • Ketamine therapy helps restore healthy brain function and can reduce PTSD symptoms in as little as 24 hours.

Nue Life is dedicated to helping you improve your most important relationship- the one you have with yourself. With that in mind, we want to explore a condition that negatively affects that same relationship: PTSD.

PTSD, also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects a large part of the population. It affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and it is estimated that one in every 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. It is best known for its impact on war veterans or those who have been in violent situations, but it impacts others, too.

A Few Facts About PTSD:

• PTSD is more common in women than men
• PTSD can occur with other mental health disorders
• Long-term prognosis is hopeful because specific treatments for it can help reduce or eliminate symptoms

In the following article, we’ll provide an in-depth analysis of PTSD and how it can negatively impact everyday function. We’ll also explore coping mechanisms that can bring relief.

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in many individuals who have experienced or even witnessed a traumatic event. For example, sudden angry outbursts could be triggered by reminders of an event such as rape, sexual assault, violence, war/combat, a natural disaster, car accidents, serious injuries, and much more.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is best known for being caused by wartime and impacting war veterans. An example of the physical manifestation of PTSD is a war veteran hearing gunshots and being brought back to a particular moment from the war that was traumatic for them.

Those who experience PTSD tend to have intense, disturbing thoughts and emotions or sensations related to their experience. This includes experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, and feeling the same way they felt in the moment of the traumatic event.

Though post-traumatic stress disorder is well-known among war veterans, many others deal with it as well, and it is not limited to just war scenarios. A diagnosis of PTSD only requires experiencing or simply exposure to a traumatic event or situation.

Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD, and U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians are disproportionately affected with higher rates of PTSD than other ethnic groups.

PTSD does not have to primarily happen to someone for them to qualify as someone with the disorder. This disorder can also be suffered by those who indirectly interact with a traumatic event but are still significantly impacted by it. An example of this could be learning the details of a death of a loved one, among many other things.

Many symptoms of trauma are important to know so that you can better take care of yourself or your loved ones. PTSD symptoms are notably grouped into four different categories:

Intrusive Memories

• Recurrent and disturbing memories of the said traumatic event
• Flashbacks that manifest by feeling as if you are reliving the traumatic event as if it were occurring again
• Nightmares related to the traumatic event
• Emotional distress or physical reactions to anything that might remind you of the traumatic event

Avoidance

• Altogether avoiding places, scenarios, or people that remind you of the traumatic event
• Avoiding thinking or discussing subjects related to the traumatic event

Negative Changes in Thoughts and Mood

• Difficulty maintaining close relationships
• Emotional numbness
• Hopelessness about the future
• Negative thoughts about yourself or others
• Lack of interest in things that once interested you
• Feeling detached from loved ones

Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions

• Irritability coupled with aggressive behavior
• Being easily startled or scared
• Self-destructive behavior, intentionally putting yourself in harm’s way
• An overwhelming sense of guilt or shame

As you can see, these symptoms would cripple anyone in their everyday life. Suffering from PTSD can be incredibly difficult and damaging to your mental health, as well as the relationships around you.

Though post-traumatic stress disorder can seem unbearable, there are ways to cope with it and work through it.

Why is it Important to Develop Coping Skills?

Coping skills are an essential tool to develop in yourself to handle not only PTSD but the ongoing trials and hardships of life. Learning how to develop coping mechanisms in your life will ease emotional distress and further help your future self when you’re in another stressful situation.

Those who struggle with coping skills tend to view adverse events in life as being their fault. This is usually due to a lack of self-worth. Of course, improving self-worth is easier said than done, but learning to implement some coping tools in your everyday life can be very beneficial.

What are Some Ways to Cope with PTSD?

So what are a few techniques that you can implement to help you cope with PTSD? We’re glad you’ve asked! We have six different tools you can utilize in your everyday life.

Breathing Exercises

Using breathing exercises to calm your central nervous system down is key during a stressful or triggering situation. An example of a breathing exercise is the following:

The 4, 7, 8

Inhale through the nose for a count of four. Then, hold your breath for a count of seven. And finally, exhale through the mouth for a count of eight. Do this as many times as needed until your breathing feels under control.

7/11

Inhale through the nose for 7 seven seconds and exhale through the mouth for 11 seconds.

Mindfulness Practices

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is about being in touch with and fully present in the moment you are currently in. This is an incredible practice because most symptoms of PTSD occur through looking back or remembering what happened in the past. Instead, by grounding yourself in the present and becoming aware of the moment you are in – and only that moment – you will be able to calm down gradually. With relaxation techniques like yoga, you can release the feelings of guilt and helplessness and live in the present moment. Focus on positive emotions and seek ways to create healthy daily routines.

Practicing mindfulness is difficult, especially in our world now, with our phones always glued to our hands. However, technology isn’t all bad in this accord. There are many apps available with guided meditations that will help you cultivate mindfulness practices.

Developing Community

Isolation and loneliness are bad places to be in when you have PTSD. You already feel alone and trapped in your head as it is, and without a means to talk through it, it can be crippling.

Finding a community of people who will support you and love you through recovery is one of the most important things you can do. Talking out all of the thoughts you may be having in your head is a proven way to reduce stress and tension and ultimately find healing.

This could look like many things, such as joining a book club, attending a religious or spiritual meeting, or participating in a support group for people who have been through similar circumstances. Whatever it is, it’s always good to be around good people.

Spending Time in Nature

Getting outside with the beautiful trees, endless blue sky, and a nice breeze is a great coping skill to implement when you are overwhelmed. Research shows that exposing your lungs to fresh air can help relieve stress. Oxygen affects the levels of serotonin released in the body and can help with promoting feelings of happiness.

Whether it’s taking a walk through your favorite nature preserve, laying on a blanket in a field of grass, or reading a book on your porch — being outside surrounded by beauty is a great way to experience relaxation.

Journaling

Having a journal where you write everything out that’s on your mind is a helpful coping skill. Our thoughts tend to stick in our heads and play on repeat, so thinking through them and putting them on paper helps you organize them and gain perspective.

The best part about journaling? No one has to see it! You can write whatever weird, angry, or difficult thoughts you may be feeling in the moment and no one has to know.

Psychedelic Therapy

This might seem like an unusual suggestion, but psychedelic therapy is a proven means of helping with PTSD, particularly ketamine therapy.

Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic, treating those in the hospital for discomfort. Recently, studies have shown its effectiveness in providing relief from mental health conditions. Now, it can be taken orally at home through our Nue Life treatment programs.

Ketamine works by helping to restore the connections in the brain that mental disorders interrupt. Ketamine binds to the NMDA receptor and releases a glutamate surge; this then releases growth hormones which helps to make new synaptic connections in the brain and create healthier thought patterns in the brain.

Nue Life offers an alternative to expensive IV ketamine infusion therapy with our clinical at-home oral program. We create a personalized and sustainable plan for you and offer direct access to our committed team of medical providers and advisors.

For more information on ketamine and how it can help with PTSD, visit our programs page and learn if this could be an excellent option for you.

Can You Fully Recover from PTSD?

It may seem daunting, but recovering from PTSD is possible. Though there is technically no “cure” for it because of how unique it is to each person, applying coping strategies and therapy can help treat it and work through it so that your quality of life can return.

Conclusion

Developing coping tools to handle PTSD is an essential first step to recovery and reducing symptoms. Though PTSD can be complicated to live with, don’t lose hope. There are options out there for you.

Every Nue Life program provides compassionate support with dedicated mental wellness experts. If you’re struggling with mental health problems, don’t hesitate to contact your mental health professionals and seek out the best methods of therapy. Whether it is through deep breathing and meditation or cognitive-behavioral therapy, your healthcare provider should be able to help guide you in the right direction.

Speak with your doctor if these coping tools do not seem to be helping so that you can be further assisted and get your life back.

Sources:

What Is PTSD? | American Psychiatric Association

PTSD Facts and Statistics | The Recovery Village

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Developing Healthy Coping Skills | SkillsYouNeed

Come outside: the benefits of fresh air | Benenden Health

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