Tips on coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

1: Reach out to others for support

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But it’s important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. Support from other people is vital to your recovery from PTSD, so ask your close friends and family members for their help during this tough time.

Also consider joining a support group for survivors of the same type of trauma you experienced. Support groups for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can help you feel less isolated and alone. They also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery. If you can’t find a support group in your area, look for an online group.

2: Avoid alcohol and drugs

When you’re struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. But while alcohol or drugs may temporarily make you feel better, they make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) worse in the long run. Substance use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, including emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression. It also interferes with treatment and can add to problems at home and in your relationships.

3: Challenge your sense of helplessness

Overcoming your sense of helplessness is key to overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable. It’s important to remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills that can get you through tough times.

4: Spend time in nature

Research suggests that pursuing outdoor activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing may help people cope with PTSD symptoms and transition back into civilian life.

The relaxation, seclusion, and peace that come with being in the natural world provide the soothing experience for people with PTSD.  Focusing on strenuous outdoor activities can also help challenge your sense of helplessness and help your nervous system become “unstuck” and move on from the traumatic event.

5: Individual Therapy

Therapy is the most effective way to overcome symptoms of PTSD.  Rather than avoiding the trauma and any reminder of it, therapy will encourage you to recall and process the emotions and sensations you felt during the original event and to see these memories from a different perspective. In addition to offering an outlet for emotions, therapy for PTSD will also help restore your sense of control, increase self-esteem and reduce the powerful hold the memory of the trauma has on your life.

In treatment for PTSD, you will:

  • Explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma
  • Work through feelings of guilt, self-blame, and mistrust
  • Learn how to cope with and control intrusive memories
  • Address problems PTSD has caused in your life relationships

Eye Movement Desensitization Therapy (EMDR) is known to be one of the most effective ways to resolve PTSD symptoms.  EMDR involves the combination of cognitive therapy with the bilateral stimulation of the brain. This treatment allows the brain to “unfreeze” the brain’s information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress.   Dr. Elyashkevich received extensive training and certification in EMDR.

If you would like help with overcoming symptoms of PTSD, please call me, Dr. Maya, on (818) 809-9519 for a free 10-minute phone consultation.


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