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Whenever an individual goes through trauma or abusive experience, he or she is at risk of developing and suffering from a condition called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition can be a minor nuisance or it can be so severe that it could even prevent an individual from living a normal life. In either case, it is necessary to seek treatment for PTSD so that individuals who experience traumatic events can overcome these episodes from their past and start living in the present, while looking forward to the future.
However, it is necessary to deal with PTSD through a holistic approach to treat all of its components. The goal of holistic treatment for PTSD is to address the individuals’ trauma by solving the puzzle to find its root cause.
What is PTSD?
The field of medicine classifies posttraumatic stress disorder as a mental disorder that comes from experiencing trauma or abuse. Experiencing traumatic events results in specific symptoms that are identifiable with PTSD. These include physical, mental, and emotional effects directly related to the trauma, even long after it has happened. Generally, people are urged to seek treatment for PTSD if their symptoms last longer than three months and the symptoms are significantly distressing, and causing disruptions in the individual’s personal and professional lives.
The Effects of PTSD
Understanding PTSD as a psychological disorder is easiest by examining the effects it has on the person who has experienced the trauma. Like almost every other psychological disorder, PTSD affects the mind, body, and emotions. In other words, it has a holistic effect on the individual. While symptoms vary for each person, there are common symptoms that are typically used to diagnose and understand PTSD. For the purposes of this article, “holistic” refers to the three components: mental, emotional, and physical. As a result, the effects of PTSD are also examined within the framework of these three components.
One notable symptom of PTSD is the feeling of reliving the event. In fact, the mental symptoms of PTSD are the most prominent. This can take the form of nightmares or flashbacks (or both). Even though the traumatic event is over, the individual feels as though he or she is back in the midst of it, which can be extremely distressing.
Posttraumatic stress disorder may also cause the individual to avoid environments that could trigger memories or flashbacks. The individual ends up avoiding crowds, being unable to drive alone, or stays away from a certain building or part of town. The avoidance varies significantly depending on the type of trauma experienced by the individual. Generally, there is some type of connection between the avoidance behaviors and the specific traumatic event that occurred. This behavior may also extend to avoiding any help or treatment for the symptoms just so the individual does not have to relive the incident during therapy sessions.
Individuals with PTSD may experience changes in the way they think and feel about a lot of things. Typically, these changes have a negative impact on the individual. For instance, the fear of the trauma repeating itself may cause the individual to push loved ones away or to think the world is a very dangerous place with no rational justification for it.
The emotional symptoms of PTSD are closely related to mental symptoms. For many people, the emotional symptoms include depression and anxiety, extreme sadness or numbness, agitation, irritability, fear, and other similar feelings. People may have difficulty concentrating or remembering things, they may feel paranoid about the world around them as a defensive measure after the traumatic event. Overall, the feelings associated with PTSD are distressing to the individual who went through the traumatic event. As with mental symptoms, the emotional reactions of individuals with PTSD varies significantly from individual to individual. Much of the time, the emotional symptoms are shaped by other circumstances and experiences in the individual’s life. For example, someone with multiple traumatic experiences may have a stronger emotional reaction than someone with a “minor” traumatic experience.
The physical symptoms of PTSD are also closely related to the mental and emotional symptoms. Specifically, the mental and emotional symptoms often lead to specific physical symptoms. For example, due to the feelings of anxiety, the individual may experience rapid heart rate, difficulty in breathing, trembling or shakiness, dizziness, and other similar symptoms. Those struggling with PTSD may experience unexplained weight loss, weight gain, difficulty in sleeping, headaches, or frequent illness, among other symptoms. It is often the case that the physical symptoms are manifestations of the mental and emotional symptoms.
How PTSD is Treated
To overcome this disorder, patients are admitted to mental health care centers or institutions which specialize in the treatment for PTSD. These facilities use psychological analysis and treatment, group and individual therapy, and other clinical approaches. Some individuals may also be put on medication to help control symptoms. This form of treatment can shift the individual to a place at which he or she is better equipped to manage the symptoms more effectively. Therapy, which is usually talk therapy, encourages the individual to face the events that happened and help them move past these episodes in their lives. Through treatment for PTSD, any traumatic event can be a thing of the past. Alternative treatment for PTSD may also be used such as massage for stress relief.
Treatment for PTSD: The Holistic Approach
Though there have been successes with the traditional approach to treating PTSD, which may include alternative treatment for PTSD, a holistic approach can be more effective for the individual’s overall health and wellness. A holistic approach is one that focuses on treating the patient physically, emotionally, and mentally. This is an advantageous approach because the effects of PTSD are not limited to physical symptoms alone. Without a holistic approach to mental, physical, and emotional health, practitioners are unable to address all aspects of PTSD that are affecting the individuals. A holistic approach targets the mind, body, and emotions.
Treating the Mind
When faced with PTSD, the symptoms affecting the mental state are generally the most prominent. They can also be the most challenging to treat. It is these symptoms that cause other symptoms to arise. Talk therapy, whether one-on-one, group, or both, is a good way to address mental symptoms. Therapy can help the individual learn coping techniques when faced with triggering events or when mental symptoms of PTSD start to manifest. Therapy can also help “reprogram” the individual’s mind to not react as badly when faced with triggers. Treating mental symptoms not only helps individuals move past their PTSD but it can help address their emotional and physical symptoms.
Treating the Emotions
Along with treating the symptoms of the mind, therapy can be effective for treating emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. Therapy can be used to help turn undesired emotional reactions into more desired reactions. This approach can not only ease negative emotional symptoms but can also help improve the individual’s overall well-being. The positive emotional outlook then improves the individual’s mental perspective. Medication may be recommended to help with emotional symptoms, particularly, if feelings of depression or anxiety are distressing or preventing the individual from engaging in necessary daily responsibilities and self-care tasks.
Treatment for PTSD Also Include Treating the Body
Finally, a holistic approach to treating PTSD must address the physical symptoms. Quite often, treatment professionals combat negative physical symptoms with positive physical treatment components. For example, it may be recommended that the individual with PTSD take a walk every week or join a yoga class. It could also be recommended that an individual make some changes to his or her nutrition and physical lifestyle, such as performing regular exercises. These measures improve overall physical health, which is beneficial for treating other types of symptoms. In addition, exercise releases the “happy hormones” called endorphins that help the individual recuperate faster and feel better.
Whether you are experiencing minor symptoms or ones that prevent you from living a normal life, a holistic treatment for PTSD helps address the causes of the symptoms. Specifically, this includes addressing the emotional and mental state in reliving the traumatic events that occurred. This approach includes measures that directly address the mental health problems as well as the emotional and physical symptoms that are inevitably part of PTSD. Through this treatment for PTSD approach, the individual with PTSD will start to feel better, manage better in life, and be able to put the past behind them.
If PTSD is getting in the way of your happiness and ability to live a productive life, seek the treatment for PTSD you need from The Holistic Sanctuary. There is no better place to start leaving your traumatic past behind and putting your life back together for good.