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Overcoming the Pain of PTSD

By on May 15, 2023 in Blog

If you’ve suffered trauma at some time in your past, you don’t want to think about it, relive it, or even acknowledge it. Perhaps you experienced something that was scary, stressful, or dangerous. You were worried about yourself or someone else. Your friends or family may tell you to “leave it in the past” or just to move on with life. That’s all you want to do, but it seems impossible.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition in which unresolved past trauma directly affects your ability to function in the present. Untreated PTSD could be limiting your ability to move beyond the pain you experienced.

Why Does PTSD Happen?

When a person experiences something that is shocking to them, such as the death of a loved one, a perilous situation, or an attack, the brain doesn’t always process the situation effectively. While it’s normal to have an intense emotional reaction to traumatic situations, it’s not normal for those emotions to continue to affect you months and years after the event. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a PTSD diagnosis requires that symptoms last more than a month and be significant enough to impact your daily life in some way, including work, relationships with other people, or school, 

Why Can’t You Just Forget It?

If you feel you could be at risk for PTSD, you are not alone, and help is available. You don’t have to continue to struggle. You may wonder why it’s so hard to get over it. Why can some people move on while others can’t? 

When a traumatic event occurs, the brain enters flight or fight mode, focusing your body’s energy on the resources you need to fight through the situation or run from it. This is an instinctive, natural response to trauma.

Yet, in people with PTSD, something gets stuck. After the event occurs, the brain remains in that flight or fight mode for too long. The increased presence of cortisol and norepinephrine, the chemicals in your brain that control that flight or fight mechanism, impact the functionality of the brain. Studies indicate that these excess hormones make even small stressors seem overwhelming. Because memory is also affected, stress makes it hard to distinguish between safe events happening now and dangerous events that happened in the past. 

How Do You Get Through It?

For those with PTSD, flashbacks, intense and unrealistic fear, and intense emotion are just some of the outward symptoms they may experience. Fortunately, PTSD is treatable. While you can’t simply eliminate past trauma, you can learn to control PTSD symptoms, allowing you to move beyond the pain. 

If you’ve suffered a traumatic event at some point in your life, and it continues to be a presence in your day-to-day life, professional treatment is necessary. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most common and effective tools available. Other treatment options include:

  • Cognitive processing therapy
  • Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Prolonged exposure therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Group therapy

These types of therapy have different ways of teaching your brain how to work properly without overreacting to stress. 

Some people also benefit from medications like antidepressants. Medications may relieve enough of the stress that you’re able to open up and work more deeply with your therapist. 

It’s quite common for those with PTSD to use substances to help them control their feelings, thoughts, and other symptoms. Yet, this only worsens the brain’s ability to function normally. For those who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction as well as PTSD, it’s essential to treat both conditions at the same time.

How Can We Help You?

At Victory Addiction Recovery Center, we work with people struggling with PTSD and its impact on their overall well-being and daily lives. We can offer treatment. Take the time now to reach out to our drug and alcohol treatment center in Lafayette, LA, to start on the path of recovery.

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