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What is PTSD and What are The Signs and Symptoms
While most of us conjure up an image of a veteran of combat when we think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the fact is that, in addition to the horrors of war, any extremely traumatic life where you feared for your life can result in the symptoms of PTSD. The hallmark signs and symptoms of PTSD, including disturbing flashbacks and memories, nightmares and other sleep disturbances, and other emotional fallout can completely disrupt your ability to function.
Approximately 5.2 million Americans develop PTSD each year, with women more than twice as likely as men to suffer from the disorder, according to data reported by the Nebraska Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Conventional treatment for PTSD will involve antidepressants and psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy). While this treatment protocol may be helpful for some who suffer from PTSD, others may not respond at all. Antidepressants also come with some very unpleasant side effects, including sexual problems, insomnia, weight gain, dry mouth, fatigue, and more. Because of this, an increasing number of individuals are learning how to treat PTSD naturally.
Types of Holistic Therapies to Treat PTSD Naturally
If you or a loved one with PTSD has not achieved successful results using a regimen of antidepressants, or just can’t tolerate the side effects, there are other effective treatment options to explore.
Experiential Therapeutic Activities
Because PTSD falls within the spectrum of anxiety disorders, learning ways to calm the mind and body and minimize stress is essential to managing symptoms of extreme anxiety. Some of those therapies include:
- Hatha yoga has been found to help relieve PTSD symptoms by teaching people how to relax through the breathing techniques, movements, and postures used. Yoga can also improve heart rate variability, enabling the individual to calm him or herself.
- Guided imagery. Guided imagery is considered a form of hypnosis that uses visualization techniques to change the physical and emotional state. Guided imagery is a mind-body therapy that can reduce stress and promote relaxation by concentrating on pleasant images in the mind’s eye.
- Guided meditation techniques are readily available at no cost via podcasts on YouTube or iTunes. The mind-body process uses quiet reflection, training one’s attention toward positive thinking that can bolster stress management.
- Mindfulness training. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that trains the individual to concentrate on the moment, and to be keenly aware of one’s breathing motions. The deep breathing exercises promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Prolonged exposure therapy involves confronting the details of the traumatic event in order to slowing, over time, desensitize the individual to its power to destabilize them. The therapy includes repeated discussion of the event, writing about it, drawing images related to it, and even visiting the place of the actual event.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR involves the patient following the hand movements of the therapist while simultaneously talking about the traumatic event. By focusing on the repetitive hand movements, the individual has something to distract them while they process the traumatic event verbally.
Counseling and Therapy
The most widely used talk therapy for treating PTSD is cognitive based therapy, or CBT. CBT is a short-term therapy that helps the individual identify the irrational thoughts that impact one’s emotional state. The therapist helps the individual learn how the trauma has changed their thought patterns and behaviors, and helps them replace irrational patterns with healthy new responses.
Exercise and Healthy Diet
The emotional and mental health benefits of regular cardio exercise are well established. PTSD symptoms can be mitigated by adopting a routine for regular workouts, walks, hiking, cycling, running—any physical activity that raises heart rate and releases endorphins. A healthy diet rich in proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains will also benefit brain health.
Family Support and Group Support
Social support is essential when wondering how to treat PTSD naturally. Because PTSD can have a powerful impact on the family dynamic, consider family counseling. Family therapy helps involve all members of the family in increasing support and understanding during the aftermath of a trauma. It also helps to locate a support group of others who also suffer from PTSD. Because PTSD can cause isolating behaviors and emotional numbness, it is good to share your experiences with others in a judgment-free zone. The meetings can provide useful insights from members of the group that may help you as you heal.
Holistic and Natural Treatment Options and Rehab for PTSD
The Treatment Specialist will connect you with a treatment center that specializes in treating holistic treatment elements for PTSD recovery. Call to talk to a caring team of specialists will provide a free assessment to determine the best treatment match for your specific needs and resources, including those providers who understand how to treat PTSD naturally. For free assistance finding high quality treatment, call to speak to a Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.
Jeremy Divinity is a blogger, freelance writer, and digital marketer from Los Angeles, California. He writes with the aim to inspire and motivate, you can read more on his blog www.jeremydivinity.com