Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known at PTSD is a group of stress reactions that can develop after we experience or witness a traumatic event.
A traumatic event usually involves actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence either direct or indirect leading to fear, helplessness or horror.
PTSD can develop after we've experienced one of these traumatic events, or after repeated exposure to trauma. Sometimes, PTSD can also develop after hearing details about devastating and traumatic events many times.
Living with PTSD can be overwhelming and challenging. Sometimes it is experienced as a singular disorder and sometimes other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety will also develop.
The good news is, there are ways to manage and overcome PTSD and you don’t need to deal with it alone.
The 3 common treatment options are;
Psychological treatments (talking therapies)
Psychological treatments are sometimes called ‘talking therapies’ and can help us change habits in the way we think and can help us address the reasons behind PTSD.
Psychological treatments can be either one-on-one, group-based or online.
The most commonly known psychological treatment is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which aims to show us how our thinking affects our mood. CBT teaches us to think in a different way about life, perceived dangers, and stress.
We can challenge our thinking patterns and reframe the way we think. We can also face stressors (rather than avoiding them) and learn ways to challenge them.
Physical treatments (medications)
Medication aims to ease the symptoms of a mental health disorder such a PTSD.
There are six main types of mental health medications:
antidepressants – used to treat depression, anxiety and some types of personality disorders
antipsychotics – used to treat schizophrenia and sometimes bipolar disorder and to help restore your brain's chemical balance
mood stabilisers – often used to treat people with bipolar disorder
depressants – used to help people become or stay calm.
anxiolytics – often used to treat anxiety disorders
stimulants – used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
It is important to remember that medications do not cure mental health conditions. They can make your symptoms go away or affect you less, but if you stop taking them, your symptoms may come back.
Exercise, mindfulness and self-help
There are many ways that exercise positively influences your mental health.
Some of these include:
It promotes the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, like endorphins and serotonin.
It helps you sleep better so you rest fully at night and feel more energised during the day.
Gives you a sense of accomplishment as your fitness improves and you start achieving your goals.
Exercise can be a shared activity with others so you get the added benefits of social connection.
A great activity for mindfulness is meditation. Guided meditations in particular help to calm the PTSD symptoms through focusing your attention elsewhere, usually on the breath, allowing you to overcome the undesired state in the moment.
A more recent approach to overcoming PTSD…
Emotional Healing Therapy
Emotional Healing Therapy is a form of hypnotherapy aimed at working on a deeper level then just talking with the intention of healing the symptoms of a mental disorder as opposed to only managing them.
EHT focuses on accessing the subconscious part of the mind and releasing the emotional pain we are still holding onto from the trauma. Sometimes there may only be one event that’s required to work on and sometimes there may be a few. Through this form of therapy you can become aware of how the PTSD has developed and the ideal result is that you’re able to remember the traumatic incident without experiencing any stress or emotional pain.
This approach, coupled with ‘talking therapy’ is what we do here at The Centre For Healing and have experienced profound results with.
If you would like to know more about Emotional Healing Therapy or how we may be able to assist you here at The Centre For Healing we offer free consultations which you can book HERE
Written by: Chanel de King, Healer and Therapist at The Centre for Healing.
Specialising in Addiction Rehabilitation and Mental Health Programs in Melbourne.