Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a term that is used frequently and refers to the painful symptoms that result from suffering intense trauma. These symptoms can include things like anxiety, depression, disordered eating, or intrusive and upsetting thoughts. Many people are likely to know someone who has experienced PTSD at some point in their life. While some people only struggle with PTSD for a short while, others have more prolonged and painful experiences.
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to recover more quickly than others from trauma? It might be tempting to attribute these unique healing timelines to personality type, strength, or ability to cope with stress, but the truth is that there are multiple types of PTSD, including complex PTSD.
What Are the Different Forms of PTSD?
Some individuals with PTSD can let go of their trauma after a period of time has passed, and they may even be able to forget that it took place. It is typically the result of one highly traumatic event. However, some people with PTSD might engage in unhealthy behaviors to cope with their pain or depression. For example, someone might start experimenting with different substances or start to act out. In cases where substance is used to cope, the treatment for PTSD will usually require a combination of drug therapy and counseling.
Someone struggling with complex PTSD will often experience intense nightmares or have painful flashbacks. There may also be instances of insomnia. However, sometimes PTSD involves a more extended period of trauma. If an individual has been exposed to continuous abuse, neglect, or pain, or has experienced a series of highly traumatic events, they are more likely to develop complex PTSD. As a response to trauma, dissociative disorders and personality disorders may develop in a person with complex PTSD. Compared with regular PTSD, complex PTSD often requires multiple treatment methods and longer sessions.
Healing Is Possible, Consider These Tips and Reminders:
- As with other treatment modalities, an accurate diagnosis will be genuinely effective in beginning the healing process. Connecting with a mental health professional to get a clear understanding of your condition(s) is imperative. Finding someone you trust and feel safe with will make all the difference. Further, recognize the incredible amount of courage and vulnerability it takes to initially seek support and be proud of this accomplishment. The first steps can often be the most challenging.
- Practice self-advocacy by communicating your experiences, fears, questions, and needs. If helpful, write them down or share them with an ally before an appointment. Additionally, you can document known triggers and be extra mindful around them. If a particular location or person is known to cause intense pain or flashbacks, set firm limits and boundaries around them, no matter the consequences. To process and heal from PTSD, you need to put yourself first and always be the priority.
- Know that you are not alone. While your history belongs to you, members of your care team are there to guide you through the healing process and they have your best interests at heart. Understanding this, you can share with trusted family members or friends what you are struggling with and ask for their love, support, and encouragement. Use discernment when communicating your truth and confide in people that care for you, hold space for you, and believe in you.
- Practice affirmations and re-orientations if the symptoms of PTSD or complex PTSD become too intense. You can remind yourself where you are physically, who you are, and what you are truly doing. Remember that you are safe and take as much time as you need to return to the moment and reality as best you can. If you need space, take space.
- Seek out trauma survivor support groups, grief and loss meetings, or other recovery groups to develop a community support network of peers. Speaking with someone who understands from a lived experience perspective can be so incredibly healing and powerful. Stay committed and vigilant in your recovery, and remember, you deserve a peaceful and pain-free life! Do not hesitate to get help immediately if symptoms worsen.
Whether you suffer from PTSD or Complex PTSD, the side effects can become intrusive to your daily life and ultimately may affect your ability to find peace. This is especially true if your symptoms have led you to self-medicate via substance abuse. Discovering ways to cope with the effects of PTSD can help you achieve a more fulfilling and healthy lifestyle.
If you are seeking support for substance use or PTSD and want to find empowering, healthy, and sustainable ways to heal, contact us at True Recovery. Recovering from trauma can be a painful, challenging process. Often, it feels like things are getting worse before they get better, and you should never have to be alone while going through this process. We are committed to walking the path of recovery by your side and will provide comprehensive and therapeutic support every step of the way. Our calm and serene campus is located in sunny Newport Beach, where you will feel safe, be seen, and gently held as you embark on the brave and beautiful path to healing. You deserve to live a confident and meaningful life, full of joy and peace in your mind, heart, and spirit. An empowered, integrated, and hopeful future is possible. For more information, or to take the next steps, contact us at (866) 399-6528.