“There is no timestamp on trauma. There isn’t a formula that you can insert yourself into to get from horror to healed. Be patient. Take up space. Let your journey be the balm.” Quoted by Dawn Serra, A Sex and Relationship Coach, this needs to understand that there are stages of PTSD that needs healing by being patient towards the circumstances.
The majority of people going through a difficult situation get better with self-care after a few days, but some may struggle for a long time. In some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder may develop as a result of the inability to recover from the event.
It is important to understand what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder means. Also, the stages of PTSD need to identify in order to take therapies to cope with them.
Define Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PSTD is a mental health condition resulting from witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. It is often triggered by exposure to some terrifying event.
A traumatic experience may include losing a loved one, suffering an illness or injury, fighting, being abused, surviving a natural disaster, being the victim of a violent crime, etc.
It doesn’t matter what trauma caused the PTSD condition; it has long-term, detrimental ramifications.
Moreover, a traumatic experience can include a variety of circumstances, which can be different from person to person. In many cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be crippling and extremely damaging.
In addition to affecting your mental health, physical health, and work, PTSD can also affect your relationships.
There are many possible symptoms of depression, including feelings of isolation, difficulty maintaining a job, difficulties trusting other people, and difficulty controlling and expressing your emotions.
It is also possible to suffer from unpleasant memories, nightmares, panic attacks, and irrational thoughts after a traumatic experience.
Nevertheless, an individual doesn’t have to tackle all of their trauma at once but can instead focus on their current stage.
Important Stages of PTSD
It can take a long time for someone to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Left unaddressed, these effects can last for years and can make it difficult to accomplish routine tasks.
In order to truly cope with trauma, an individual doesn’t necessarily need to address it all at once but instead should focus on the current stage. Have a look at the important five stages of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
1. The Emergency Stage Phase
When a person experiences trauma, they first experience the impact stage or the emergency stage, in which PTSD is identified. The impact stage is triggered by the emotions that arise following a traumatic event.
This stage may last for a short or long time, based on the severity of the trauma. In other words, it is possible for some people to go through this stage for weeks. However, some people may only go through it for a few days.
The aftereffects of an event can begin very suddenly and can last for a few minutes to a few hours. A person suffering from PTSD at this stage will experience Shock, Anxiety, Guilt, Helplessness, Feeling of Powerlessness, and Overwhelming Fear.
When dealing with trauma, it is essential to find support and begin to center beyond the immediate situation, focusing on breathing and immediate wellness.
People may not be able to fully comprehend or process what just happened. The important thing is that one must focus on the solution rather than understanding the reason behind the suffering.
2. The Denial or Numb Phase
The denial or numbing stage is not experienced by everyone who suffers from PTSD. The sufferers will try to numb themselves by denial of what happened during this stage.
As a way to prevent further distress by eliminating the high levels of anxiety and stress the mind is experiencing, denial helps the mind avoid difficult emotions.
The most common signs of the numbing phase are confusion, denial, panic, depression, nightmares, survivor’s guilt, feelings of helplessness, fatigue, invasive thoughts, pervasive anxiety, and flashbacks.
To be able to move forward after suffering from PTSD symptoms, people must deal with this
Stage. This phase can be addressed through compassionate and professional treatment.
3. The Intrusive or Rescue Phase
The Intrusive stage is also called the Rescue stage. The afflicted person starts to accept what has happened to them during the rescue phase.
This step may involve returning to the trauma’s location, which entails accepting what has happened while simultaneously handling the emotional trauma and pain.
Despite thinking they have coped with the trauma, PTSD sufferers may discover they continue to have dreams and flashbacks and are growingly uneasy and agitated.
At this point in the PTSD process, a wide range of challenging feelings can be experienced, including resistance, anxiety, depression, and pessimism.
The main signs in this stage are Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression, Susceptibility to Triggers, Anger, Lashing Out, Lack of Focus, Development of Addiction, Lack of Focus, Flashbacks, and Emotional and Physical fatigue.
As devastating as this phase could be, it’s also the time when the PTSD sufferer might finally be prepared to face the trauma taking over his or her life and having a detrimental impact on others.
4. The Transition Phase
After addressing their most fundamental safety and survival requirements, many with PTSD start to lead relatively “regular” lives. The post-traumatic stress stage occurs after someone accepts that they have been affected by trauma.
People in this stage can begin to return to their everyday lives, including work, household, and family responsibilities. When they are in this position, the lack of concern and caring from others might either humble them or disappoint them.
People learn how trauma impacts their daily life and how to accept and manage it during this short-term rehabilitation phase. The effects of PTSD can begin to diminish, and many people can develop a plan or steps toward sustained recovery from PTSD.
Through this period, some people may experience physical symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and/or stress reactions such as irritability due to the effects experienced in the Rescue stage.
5. Prolonged Recovery Phase
A prolonged or long-term recovery is a stage of PTSD recovery without a definitive end. This stage is also known as the Integration Stage. It is rather characterized by the ability to regularly use many of one’s coping strategies.
To deal with symptoms, coping strategies are developed and learned. These new abilities are incorporated into daily life and allow people to look ahead. However, some people may start to worry about the future and experience dread and despair.
People who are in the long-term recovery phase of their PTSD recovery will strive for the skills and capabilities like Regularly attending work, Maintaining personal hygiene, Taking care of one’s self, Setting personalized goals, Managing symptoms, and Engaging in meaningful interpersonal relationships.
Most people regress into the fifth stage when suffering from a stressful situation, including triggering events. At this stage, the person needs to use the coping strategies and skills they have learned through their PTSD recovery program.
Things to be taken care of while dealing with the Stages of PTSD
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with PTSD, you are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. The reason behind this is to alleviate your emotional pain. For Instance, usage of alcohol or drugs, eating disorders, and self-harming on purpose, appear to be more common in people with PTSD.
Due to the fact that these behaviors frequently serve a crucial function for a person with PTSD, they are difficult to cease. The frequent, strong, and unpleasant thoughts and emotions accompanying this stress disorder can be temporarily escaped by using them.
If this is where you are right now, all is not lost. Even if you have the strongest coping mechanisms, you could stumble in your PTSD recovery and resume engaging in these behaviors during times of intense stress. Numerous strategies for dealing with a slip will help you resume your path to recovery.
One of the most difficult aspects of PTSD rehabilitation is stopping unhealthy behavior. It can be very simple to revert to previous patterns of conduct; the more you do so, the more ingrained the behavior will become.
Therefore, when attempting to get rid of your PTSD, it’s beneficial to discontinue unhealthy activities as soon as possible. Here are a few tactics that will enable you to do that.
Refrain from Triggers
Get out of a situation as quickly as you can if it encourages your unhealthy behavior, such as being at a bar while trying to abstain from alcohol. It will be better for you if you try to avoid circumstances that could lead to a lapse in the first place.
You can help yourself by removing your triggers or cues for problematic behavior. These triggers might be emotional or environmental, depending on the situation. The first step in figuring out how to deal with your triggers is acknowledging them.
Develop more effective coping mechanisms
It is frequently asserted that substituting a healthy coping technique for an unhealthy one is the greatest approach to getting rid of the bad approach. By doing this, you can feel some comfort.
When you feel like indulging in an unhealthy habit, you can also reach out to get social support or find something to occupy your time. Perhaps you also engage in mindfulness or self-calming activities. There are numerous options to think about.
Certainly, you might find it difficult to carry out these during a crisis and doubt their effectiveness. However, the more you employ these constructive coping mechanisms, the further you distance yourself from destructive behavior.
Discover New Things From Your Earlier days
You can learn valuable knowledge from a mistake that will help you in the future. Therefore, if you collapse, Consider the circumstances that led to that behavior. Also, think about the possibility of landing in a dangerous circumstance.
By giving it a thought, You might be able to find decisions that seem pointless. These are choices or decisions that, on the surface, seem trivial or irrelevant. In reality, these choices bring a slide closer to you.
For Instance, holding onto objects that you have used to damage yourself may seem irrelevant if you are trying to cease intentional self-harm. We could also downplay, reject, or justify their significance.
You can become ready for future high-risk scenarios by recognizing seemingly irrelevant choices and other elements or circumstances that put you at risk for engaging in harmful conduct. This can assist you in creating a strategy to lessen the possibility of experiencing another lapse.
Discover Social Support
The optimum route to healing entails fostering relationships, despite the difficulty. People suffering must request the assistance of anybody they can, including their partner, family, therapist, and others. Although an individual can recover independently, your chances of success are significantly improved with a strong social support system.
Living a fuller life and managing symptoms related to PTSD can be achieved through a good health and effective coping skills. Nevertheless, seeking professional help in your recovery and healing process is imperative.
If your symptoms haven’t improved as you’d like or if there’s an additional issue at play, such as using drugs as a coping mechanism, setbacks may occur while working through the stages of PTSD.
You shouldn’t judge yourself harshly if you stumble regarding PTSD or its recovery. Rather than getting off track, learn how to restart.