What You Should Know About Each Type Of PTSD

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated August 17, 2022

People react to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) differently. Living a life with this condition can be quite tricky. Some people turn to alcohol or drugs to suppress this disorder. Sadly, this only increases the common symptoms. PTSD, otherwise known as Post-traumatic disorder, is a condition that occurs due to a terrifying event. 

In most cases, it may be due to individual experiences or witnesses. Common symptoms may include a feeling of anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts of the event. However, there are several types of PTSD. These types are classified based on some research.

What Are The Types Of PTSD

Fundamentally, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD deals with experiencing a traumatizing event. In some cases, PTSD may occur due to inherited personality features. The types of PTSD are primarily based on the kinds of reactions to traumatic events. Here are the types of PTSD:

It's Possible To Move Forward From A Traumatic Past

  1. Uncomplicated PTSD: A person with uncomplicated PTSD may be connected to a significant traumatizing event. This type of PTSD doesn’t deal with multiple events. For example, it may only be linked with a specific accident or natural disaster.  Moreover, this condition may involve persistent reoccurring of the traumatic event. Therapists may find uncomplicated PTSD as more straightforward to treat than the other types. If you have uncomplicated PTSD, you may experience some symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and mood swings. If you feel any of these signs, please consult a therapist. BetterHelp provides licensed professionals that can assist you through those difficulties.
  2. Comorbid PTSD: Unlike other types of PTSD, Comorbid PTSD deals with more than one mental condition. People with this disorder typically have substance abuse issues. Comorbid PTSD is quite common because most people typically struggle with over one condition. Examples of such conditions include depression, panic disorder, and the likes. Another name for this disorder is “co-occurring disorder” since it co-occurs with other psychiatric disorders. Lots of people with Comorbid PTSD may be tempted to treat it by themselves by using drugs. However, a therapist may be the best option. Experts usually approach the treatment of Comorbid PTSD corporately other than individually.
  3. Normal Stress Response: This stress response typically occurs before PTSD. In some cases, people with “normal stress response” may not develop PTSD. However, some may have PTSD depending on how the individual gets help. Normal stress responses are common, and people usually notice better results when treated early. These responses may arise due to events like illnesses, surgeries, high amounts of pressure, and accidents. One of the most effective ways to get better can be from talking to a loved one. Asides speaking to a loved one, therapy can be a decisive step as well. A support group can also prove to be helpful.
  4. Acute Stress Disorder: This type of disorder also occurs before PTSD. It may occur in people who experience an event that made them feel they were going to lose their lives. Examples of such events may include the death of a loved one, near-death occurrence, natural disaster, unemployment, and more. This stress disorder typically occurs shortly after these events and can end up developing into PTSD. It still serves as one of the common issues that lead to the development of PTSD. Most cases of acute stress disorder last for a month. However, when it exceeds a month, it may be called PTSD. Symptoms of acute stress disorder include headaches, sweating, chest pain, palpitations, nausea, and stomach pain. Fortunately, acute stress can be treated, as well. Support groups, therapy, or medications are common ways of treating this disorder.
  5. Complex PTSD: This type of PTSD is different from the other types because it deals with multiple traumatic events. Most individuals with this type of disorder experienced abuse or domestic violence. In some cases, complex PTSD may occur in people who experience an unexpected loss. Other events that could lead to complex PTSD include constant war experiences and community violence. Symptoms of complex PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, mood swings, and irritability. However, the treatment of complex PTSD may be quite different from other types. Borderline personality, antisocial personality disorder are other possibilities of conditions associated with complex PTSD. Individuals may show aggression, substance abuse, and impulsivity as well.

Preventing Stress Disorders Including PTSD

Traumatic events can be tough to overcome. Most people may find it hard to stop thinking about these events. Due to this, fear, anger, depression, and anxiety may set in. Most of these feelings are signs of trauma. Fortunately, most people don’t develop long term PTSD. If you experience any of these, you may consider speaking to trusted family members or friends that could be of help. Consulting a therapist will also be a beneficial step to preventing PTSD.

Overcoming PTSD Symptoms

Post-traumatic disorders come with several symptoms that present themselves as challenging to treat. Most people with this disorder tend to turn towards drugs or alcohol. These coping mechanisms are quite unhealthy and may lead to other health complications. Understandably, PTSD can be severe, mainly because it brings up feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression. If you have challenges overcoming PTSD symptoms, please consult a mental health professional for help.

Talk To People

Explaining your experiences or witnesses to others can be a very challenging activity. It may also be complicated to talk about your traumatic events to people. Generally, it may also be hard to talk about your symptoms, such as anger, fear, anxiety, and depression. However, discussing with trusted individuals is very helpful. If you aren’t sure about the relationship between the symptoms and the disorder, seek help by consulting a therapist. Support from people cannot be underestimated; it’s helpful in your healing. If you have problems talking to people because you don’t know what to say, try learning more about the condition. This may help you communicate better with others. Try as much as possible not to stay isolated. Encourage yourself to spend more time with people and share your feelings. Here are some helpful things you can do to help you go through PTSD with people:

  • Eat and drink around friends
  • Play games with family and friends
  • Share funny experiences
  • Go for long walks
  • Have long and engaging discussions.

Mindfulness

One of the most helpful ways of getting rid of stress is by adapting to meditation techniques. It’s a helpful way of coping with several kinds of disorders. Due to the symptoms of PTSD, which include anxiety, depression, and fear, turning to mindfulness techniques may be highly beneficial. The essence of mindfulness is to teach people to be in the moment and not to think about the traumatic event. Mindfulness helps calm the body and let go of all forms of pressure. Just by having a few minutes exercising, a mindful technique can help you overcome feelings of anxiety, fear, or depression. All you need to do is try to focus on the present and keep in mind that there’s no pressure at all. Interestingly, mindfulness has loads of other benefits, such as:

  • Relieving stress
  • Treating heart disease
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing chronic pain
  • Helping sleep
  • Improves mental health

Physical Activity Or Exercise

It’s quite interesting that exercise has many benefits to the body and mind alike. Sometimes, you don’t even need to go through an outright exercise routine. However, engaging in physical activity is very helpful. Several people diagnosed with PTSD have found physical activity and exercise beneficial to their bodies and minds. It helps reduce stress levels and supports individuals to cope with symptoms such as anxiety or depression. Activities like running or surfing help regulate mood and emotions. Psychologists say that a ten-minute walk every day can help relieve depression and anxiety as well. If you’re wondering about the steps to take in healing through exercise, here are some of them:

  • Choose an activity or exercise you love
  • Start small
  • Engage in the activity or exercise consistently
  • Do things that can make you exercise easily and comfortably, such as listening to music.
  • Encourage a family member or friend to join you.
  • Don’t rush it; take things easy.
  • Drink more water while exercising

Balance Up Your Work Schedule

Combining work and PTSD can be one of the most challenging things an individual may go through. Work has very high requirements that make it extraordinarily demanding and stressful. For these reasons, people with PTSD may find it hard to work effectively. Concentrating, staying organized, and managing time are typically hard for those faced with stress disorders like PTSD. This is why people with this condition may find it hard to keep their jobs or go through college and high school. Fortunately, some ways can help you balance up your schedule. One of such methods is speaking to your employer about specific things to help your work. Communication is vital in helping people understand your experiences. When talking to your employer, endeavor to mention:

  • Schedule flexibility
  • Creating a better work environment
  • Breaks to get yourself together when you feel stressed out.
  • Discuss programs that can help you as an employee

Write About How You Feel

Many people don’t know the importance and value of keeping journals; writing how you feel at the instant or moments after can help you keep your thoughts together. It also helps you overcome the stress that may have accumulated. Expressing yourself in a journal is an excellent way of letting go of the tension. It can be very comforting to have a place to go back to when there’s a need to think through certain things. With a journal, individuals with PTSD can deal with recurring flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive memories. Fortunately, this also helps in reconnection with family and friends. Writing your feelings or keeping a journal can help in therapy sessions as well. If you need a therapist, you may consult BetterHelp for support through Post-traumatic Disorder PTSD.

Try Coping With Common Triggers

People who experience PTSD may struggle with fear and anxiety. Most times, these feelings arise due to remembrance of traumatic events. Due to these feelings, you may consider coping with things that can further trigger the ones you had in control for a while. Some of the common triggers include sadness, memories, pain, loneliness, and vulnerability. Please note that it may be impossible to avoid all triggers; this is why you always need to talk to someone about your feelings. Moreover, several other coping mechanisms can be very helpful such as exercise or keeping journals. Common PTSD external triggers include:

  • Smells
  • TV shows
  • Video clips
  • Specific discussions
  • Certain places that remind you of the event

You can check more articles on PTSD to know all about the triggers that can affect individuals with this condition.

Things You Should Try Avoiding While Managing PTSD

Finding ways to manage PTSD is normal, and it’s very advisable as well. However, there are things that you can avoid to get better. Also, some things may help you live a better life as well. Please try consulting a therapist first or working side by side with one to help. Here are some of the things you should avoid or stick to during your healing journey:

  • Try to stay away from drugs
  • Exercise more often
  • Limit caffeine levels
  • Avoid isolation
  • Sleep well
  • Cut down screen time

Getting Help

It's Possible To Move Forward From A Traumatic Past

Practically going through PTSD can be quite tricky. You may not find it easy to follow any specific guidelines or rules. Talking to people, staying away from alcohol or drugs may not happen overnight. Fortunately, some PTSD treatments can still make a big difference. If you’re having issues overcoming PTSD, you can reach out to a licensed therapist. At BetterHelp, there are quality therapy services to help you go through life challenges.

Helpful mental health resources delivered to your inbox
You Don't Have To Face Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Alone.
Speak With A Licensed PTSD Therapist Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.