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24 May 2022

Living with PTSD: what can help cope with the disorder

24 May 2022

Reviewer of the article

Lidiia Gonchar-Cherdakli

Lidiia Gonchar-Cherdakli

Ph. D. (Medical Sciences). Deputy Medical Affairs Director, Darnytsia Pharmaceutical Company

Reviewer’s page

Against the Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the term “life with PTSD” is heard more and more often. In this article, we will talk about how to help yourself and a loved one in such a state.

How to fight PTSD

Earlier we described the statistics of the prevalence of PTSD, now we will describe how you can help yourself cope with this condition.

If you have recently been told that you have PTSD, you may experience anxiety or fear of this diagnosis. At the same time, it is likely that having a clear understanding of what you had been experiencing will bring you some relief. Regardless of how you feel, the most important thing is to know that you are not alone.

Your emotions. At the beginning, after establishing the diagnosis, it is quite normal to feel emotional swings: from relief that your problem has a definition, to shock and denial that this is happening to you. All these feelings are normal.

Keep communicating. Share your feelings with loved ones, friends, family or a qualified specialist. You may also need to speak to your employer/supervisor confidentially, so that they understand what you are going through and can provide you with the level of support you need. Even changing the arrangement of a desk can have a positive effect on your condition.

Treatment and help. There are many medical and non-medical options that help improve your condition, including yoga, horse therapy, a ketogenic diet, and running.

You can complete the posttraumatic stress disorder questionnaire at the link below.

Posttraumatic stress disorder checklist (PCL-5)

Posttraumatic stress disorder: how to help yourself

Have yourself a routine. Daily rituals: shower, work, lunch according to the schedule, cleaning - all this can help in overcoming the manifestations of PTSD.

Ask for help. If you need some changes to be done to help you succeed at school or at work, don’t be afraid to ask about them. For example, if you have problems concentrating, ask to take tests in a quieter room or ask to move to a quieter room in the office.

Accept support. If you have friends and family members who can support you, let them know what exactly you need - a walk, meeting over coffee or just a phone call. You can also try to find a support group (in person or online) to connect with others who have faced similar problems.

Avoid drugs, alcohol and smoking. Yes, it can be tempting to use such substances to avoid severe PTSD symptoms. But the use of psychoactive substances can be dangerous and in the long run this will complicate your recovery.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Living with PTSD can cause feelings of guilt, shame, and anger. When you feel depressed, remember this piece of advice. It will help you remember that the problem is not in you, but in the stress disorder.

How to survive posttraumatic stress disorder: the recovery process

It is possible to cure PTSD, but it is not always simple or easy. And what if your recovery doesn’t go the way you wanted? Maybe it seems to you the treatment takes too long, or you simply do not feel any changes while undergoing PTSD therapy?

There are possible reasons why the treatment does not work for you as quickly as you would like it to. A few examples that can slow down or prevent treatment from being as effective as it could be:

  • You feel you are not worthy. Don’t listen to people who know nothing about PTSD. It’s not a good idea to listen to your internal dialogues saying “Nah, this won’t work”.
  • You are moving very fast. Your brain, emotions and mind should be working together, so don’t speed up the recovery process. Take your time, as much as it is necessary for you specifically.
  • You lost your way. It’s possible you’ve come across some element in the recovery process, that’s thrown you off from the main trauma. This is what often happens with people with PTSD. Pause for a moment and try to discern this feeling.
  • Controlling things. It’s OK to use control as a way “to stay safe”, however, to recover fully you’ll need a free and open environment for work.
  • You are overloaded. Undergoing treatment may seem like a tough task - you feel worse than ever before, thus recovery may look like a very long road in front of you.
  • Emotional and other resources. Recovering may be a costly process in terms of your feelings, relationships, money and time. Nevertheless, understanding that “your old self” may return is worth it.
  • Confidence in yourself. You may not feel confident enough to get on the right path to recovery, that’s why it’s better to follow advice from professionals.
  • Responsibility. You need to emotionally “accept” the treatment and the recovery - without this you will be detached from your goal.

If you have noticed some of the feelings, talk to your therapist or a close person, to get help and ease your life with PTSD.



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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What to say to a person with PTSD

    The most important this is not to show your impatience, do not devalue experiences. Be patient.
  • How to get out of PTSD

    There are several methods of getting out of PTSD. The most suitable one for you can be found only by a doctor after the individual consultation. Don’t self-medicate.

Reviewer of the article

Lidiia Gonchar-Cherdakli

Lidiia Gonchar-Cherdakli

Ph. D. (Medical Sciences). Deputy Medical Affairs Director, Darnytsia Pharmaceutical Company

Reviewer’s page

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