Like many mental illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder - commonly referred to as PTSD - affects the quality of life of thousands of Americans. While treating PTSD can be quite a journey, fully recovering from it can prove to be a lifelong challenge within itself. Being able to identify PTSD triggers is one of the most impactful ways you can help yourself throughout the recovery process.
Here’s a breakdown of common PTSD triggers and tips for coping with them:
Feeling out of control. PTSD often presents itself in the form of anxiety and sadness, leaving you feeling like everything in your life is out of your control. Even the simplest things can prompt these feelings, such as having to drive to the store in a storm or giving a presentation at work. When experiencing this trigger, it’s important to practice mindfulness to keep yourself engaged in the present. Reminding yourself that you are OK in the present moment will help to alleviate anxiety and keep you focused on what’s going on around you – rather than worrying about things that don’t exist.
Loneliness. When PTSD creeps up, it’s often in the form of loneliness. Many PTSD sufferers feel alone in their journey and are hesitant to tell family and friends what they’re going through. When you begin to feel lonely or isolated, it’s best to reach out to a recovery support system that understands PTSD and can help you when your triggers surface. Whether you attend a monthly support group or join an online support forum, it’s essential to find a trusted group of people who will be there for you during your ups and downs.
Physical pain. One of the most underrated symptoms of PTSD is physical pain, which is commonly muscle tension, headaches and chest pressure. When triggers arise, it’s common to experience chronic pain that can last weeks or even months. Engaging in positive self-care practices like regular exercise can help to combat the severity of these symptoms and improve the way in which you handle other triggers. The more committed you are to your physical health, the easier it will be for your body to recover from the mental health aspects of PTSD.
Are you affected by PTSD? Start your path to recovery with Joseph Montaldi, LCSW, based in San Antonio, Texas.