When an individual is exposed to a traumatic event, it causes them to experience a strong emotional response. The individual may feel threatened or helpless, scared, or humiliated. People with post-traumatic stress disorder experience adverse reactions when they recall the event and specific situations that remind them of it. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and how they can be dealt with.

1) Re-experiencing the event

You might get upset if anyone mentions anything related to your trauma. You may also avoid things that remind you of the trauma, as it can trigger vivid memories, flashbacks, or highly intense emotions. You might find yourself experiencing flashbacks of your trauma as if it were happening again in real life. You may have dreams at night that are similar or somehow related to your original trauma. 

How to deal with this symptom:

If you experience a flashback, try to remind yourself that it is not real. To overcome this feeling, focus on present stimuli, such as the scent in the air, the ground beneath your feet, the sound of voices around you, or even the feel of your clothes against your skin. Try feeling for something with your hands, as the feeling can tug you back to the present. You can leave the area or situation if it seems too intense (if you’re in public, you can excuse yourself and go to another room). 

Many victims go down the opposite road and resort to substance abuse to escape their emotions. Ultimately, you will need help with alcohol addiction or any substances, so if you find yourself navigating a similar route, please seek professional help. Counseling or therapy can help you deal with addictions and underlying psychological issues. 

2) Alertness or constantly feeling on edge

When you are traumatized, your body becomes very alert or ready for any upcoming threat, known as hypervigilance. This state causes you to become more sensitive to any possible danger or anything that could be a potential threat, which can make it difficult to relax or rest properly. You might also have trouble concentrating on simple tasks and feel restless or irritable.

You also might start experiencing intense emotions that feel out of control. At one moment, your feelings might seem fine. Still, without warning, they can shift without a trigger, making it hard for you to predict how you will react in any given situation.

How to deal with this symptom:

Try to recognize what triggers your anxiety and avoid anything that might hurt your feelings or make you feel vulnerable. Keep in mind that some people are naturally more anxious or sensitive than others, so don’t hate how you think. Find things that relax you. Pull up playlists with nostalgic songs, surround yourself with scents that make you feel at ease, and keep away from worries other than those of the present moment. Put your mental comfort foremost before anything, but remember to lean upon your loved ones for help, as they’ll be able to recognize the symptoms beforehand or notice when something’s off.

3) Avoiding certain places or activities

If you have PTSD, you may avoid social situations and activities you used to enjoy. As a result, you may start withdrawing from your family and friends. You might be reluctant to go out because of memories of the trauma or because you fear reminders of it there. You might also try to avoid things that remind you of the event, or the feelings associated with it, including particular people, words, places, activities, or objects.

How to deal with this symptom:

You’ll have to confront these triggers at some point if you wish to get past your trauma. However, don’t rush it; give yourself time and space to prepare before tackling them head-on. Start with a friend who can support you no matter how intense the situation. Further, it’s best to work with a professional who can help you get accustomed to your triggers and guide you in navigating situations relevant to your context.

4) Feeling numb

You might feel detached from other people and things around you as if nothing matters anymore. This can bleed into what is known as “dissociation.” You may start isolating yourself and shutting others out because you don’t care. You might also feel emotionally flat or like you’re in a daze or a fog, which makes it hard to experience natural highs and lows (which affects your mood). This can make it harder for friends and family to connect with you. 

How to deal with this symptom: 

You’ll need some help dealing with this symptom. Seek out people who are like-minded and supportive and who can help make sense of what’s going on for you. Try to talk about your feelings and listen when others share their thoughts. Use art to express your feelings, physical activity to bring about an emotional release, and other outlets (like crafts) to shift focus from whatever might be troubling you. Always remember that the sense of numbness will fade with time and help.

5) Holding irrational beliefs

Victims often tend to think in unlikely extremes, considering the nature of their situation. You might blame yourself or feel guilty for the trauma that you suffered. You might also believe that other people are trying to harm you or think you’re bad or unworthy of being treated in a good way. Different irrational beliefs include the feeling that things will never get better, terrible things are more likely to happen to you, or the world is completely dangerous.

How to deal with this symptom:

Try not to engage in these negative thoughts. If it’s hard for you to ground yourself when negative feelings are triggered. To counter these thoughts, just repeat some positive affirmations, such as reminders, until you feel at ease and in control of your emotions again. Where these thoughts go deeper, you’ll need to practice positive habits daily. Surround yourself with positive people, and include activities that give you reasons to experience happiness. Small acts include buying sweets you like, listening to music you love, watching your favorite drama, or reading your favorite book. 

Conclusion 

If you identify with these symptoms or have gone through traumatic events in your life that you feel unable to recover from, please be kind to yourself, and seek psychological aid. Please note that while helpful, this article is not a guide for diagnosis, nor can the suggestions replace the holistic benefits of professional help. These tips aim to help you create a better life for yourself, but only you can decide to get better.