What You Should Know About Each Type Of PTSD
Updated October 21, 2020
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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
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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic Disorder PTSD is commonly referred to as a mental health condition that occurs in people who have had a traumatic experience. Some examples of such experiences include natural disasters, accidents, war, abuse, or domestic violence. In the army, PTSD is sometimes called combat fatigue, especially in World War II. People who may have this disorder usually have depressed thoughts or anxiety. Some other common symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, or anger. Most people with PTSD typically try avoiding issues that can trigger their feelings. Moreover, they also react to certain things that may sound basic: the bang of a door or other loud noises. If you have any of these symptoms, please reach out to a therapist for help and support.
2. Who is at risk of PTSD?
Post-traumatic disorder PTSD is not easy to overcome, especially when you don’t reach out to people or express your feelings to trusted loved ones. PTSD can develop in anybody at any specific age. However, it is most common among a particular group of people. For instance, most army veterans experience PTSD. It may also occur in children who went through sexual abuse, assault, disaster, or an accident. Based on data from the National Center for PTSD, about 7 or 8 out of a set of 100 people experiences PTSD at some time in their lives. Please note that not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Sometimes, it may be due to their loved ones experiencing danger or sudden demise of a loved one.
3. What are the common signs and symptoms of PTSD?
People who go through PTSD face a lot of life challenging events. In the course of these events, some find it hard to talk to people, and some quickly open up. There are several signs and symptoms of PTSD that may occur. Examples of the common PTSD symptoms are depression, finding it hard to remember certain aspects of a traumatic event, avoiding activities and locations that may remind them of the event, staying away from certain people that may remind them of the event, loss of interest in usual activities, and isolation. Asides those symptoms, you may feel some other signs which may be more prominent. Those signs include invasive, upsetting flashes of the traumatic event, flashbacks, and nightmares. If you feel anything close to this, please consult a therapist or visit the center for PTSD.
4. What’s the next step to take after self-diagnosing PTSD?
Experiencing stress from past traumatic can cause a lot of pain both to the individual and his or her immediate family. However, it may be hard to speak to people about these events. One primary reason why it may seem very difficult is due to the nature of the event that took place. You may just not have the right words to say. Hence, it becomes very tough to know who to talk to and what to say to them. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that challenging.
You need to be reviewed by a Professional to confirm your assumption. The first advisable step to take after getting diagnosed with PTSD is to talk to a trusted family member or friend. Also, therapy is very recommended, as well. In most cases, your family may have noticed the symptoms already, but they are too worried to speak to you concerning the issue.
5. Can I get better and heal completely from PTSD?
Depression, anxiety, and fear are everyday things that accompany PTSD. Most times, it always feels impossible to overcome. One primary reason for this is because you feel no one understands you or ever will. Fortunately, that is not the case. With appropriate help, you can heal from PTSD. There are so many steps you could take that will prove suitable and useful in helping against PTSD. Examples of beneficial healing therapies include mindfulness techniques, exercise, and others. Some medical professionals also recommend certain medications to help deal with the symptoms. Healing from PTSD is a gradual step, and it doesn’t take place overnight. For these reasons, seeing a therapist is one of the most recommended steps to get better.
6. What is the most suitable treatment for PTSD?
There are several treatment methods for helping people with PTSD. Most of them work hand in hand to give better results. The major challenge and focus for most PTSD treatments is the trauma. Most of the techniques to heal are focused on dealing with the traumatic events itself. For instance, some techniques, such as meditation, will train you to focus on the moment and forget about the past. Therapists may advise that you start with trying the mindfulness technique for a few minutes first and then gradually increasing the time. Other helpful methods to treat and overcome PTSD is physical activity or exercise. Taking a few minutes out from your day to jog or perform a specific activity helps relieve the symptoms of PTSD. Please note that the most advisable step remains to consult a therapist.
7. How do I get over PTSD without using medications?
Several people have different things that work for them. Besides, not everyone likes taking doses of a specific drug to get better or heal from a specific traumatic event. There are several alternatives to using medication to cure PTSD. One of the most helpful technique is therapy. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a kind of psychotherapy that helps treat PTSD in both short- and long-term periods. It focuses on the traumatic event and the symptoms and helps you deal with it. It may not be an immediate treatment, but it certainly helps in you getting better. Other additional activities, such as exercise, can help you heal as well. Therapists may employ EMDR therapy, group therapy, or CBT as well.
8. How can I know If I’m suffering from PTSD?
Many people go through traumatizing events. Some of these events affect the individual’s mental health, and some of them don’t. However, how can you know when it’s affecting you. First of all, there is what is called stress reactions. One of the stress reactions is Acute Stress Disorder or Normal Stress Response. Both responses usually occur before PTSD and are typically caused by an adverse event. Although not everyone who has these stress responses end up with PTSD. Some people heal before a month, and some people don’t get better. When a person doesn’t get better, then that condition could be PTSD. Please note that specific symptoms are associated with PTSD, including depression, flashbacks, anxiety, and constant fear. If you notice any of these symptoms, please talk to a therapist.
9. What is the relationship between PTSD and depression?
Several people with PTSD have other life issues that they face. Some of them include unemployment and so many other challenges. Most individuals may be tempted to go into the abuse of drugs and alcohol as well. This usually occurs due to constant remembrance of the traumatic events and the constant triggers. Due to this turn of events, people typically run into a depressed state. People with PTSD experience a hopeless outlook, lose interest in several things, have sleep and fatigue issues, deal with anxiety, get easily irritated, and have changes in appetite and weight. These exact symptoms occur in depressed people, as well. Dealing with PTSD can be challenging, so please try talking to a trusted friend or family member.
10. What are the common triggers of PTSD?
Triggers are those things that make you have the worst feelings. Some of it may remind you of the traumatizing event. Examples of the common PTSD triggers include smells, TV shows, video clips, specific discussions, and certain places that remind you of the event. Smells may include a lot of things. It may be the smell of someone’s perfume that reminds you of the event or the smell of a specific place. One common trigger is a TV show. Sometimes, TV shows display events that bring back the specific picture of the sad happening. Most people try avoiding these triggers. However, avoiding triggers may be very difficult. Instead of avoiding the common PTSD triggers, you should try coping with them. Adopt a coping strategy that can help your reactions if you come across these triggers by mistake.
11. Is it safe to talk about my condition with others?
Sometimes, you may not be afraid to share, and the problem can be how to share. Understandably, you are trying to know whether to talk to other people. Before telling someone about your current state, you may try knowing more about PTSD. Don’t worry; you don’t have to know everything. Just tell them the exact way you feel and the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Most importantly, make sure you’re sharing this with someone you trust, maybe a friend or a family member. People can help you get better by always helping when you need them and providing general support. If you aren’t confident about who to trust, try speaking to a therapist. At BetterHelp, there are licensed therapists to help you deal with your current challenges.
12. How does mindfulness help treat PTSD?
Out of the other ways to cope with PTSD, mindfulness is one of the most helpful techniques. By meditation, you can focus on the present and forget about the past. What this does is to help you deal with the flashbacks and consistent memories of the traumatizing event. Mindfulness helps reduce anxiety, and it is beneficial for those at the risk of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD. Army veterans may benefit largely from mindfulness. Asides helping PTSD, mindfulness helps deal with depression or depressive symptoms in several helpful ways.
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