Saturday, August 4, 2018

"How to Handle Stress and Mental Triggers as a Veteran"

"How to Handle Stress and Mental Triggers as a Veteran" 
by Marie Miguel

"You’ve served your country and now it’s time to return home. However, you may be one out of many veterans who have PTSD or some other kind of stress or anxiety disorder that can make readjusting to your new life quite difficult. If you are experiencing anything like this, it can be hard to manage, but there are a few ways you can handle yourself and adjust to your new life. 

What Are the Signs of PTSD? Depending on the cause of the condition and how severe the traumatic incident was, the effects of PTSD can vary. While PTSD is a complex and confusing condition, there are some symptoms that can help you determine whether or not you or someone you love has the disorder. Some of these include:

• Severe anxiety
• Nightmares or night terrors
• Vivid flashbacks during the day
• Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
• Isolating yourself
• Fear of crowds
• Memory lapses
• Mood swings
• Inability to make decisions or concentrate
• Angry outbursts for no apparent reason
• Depression
• Fatigue
• Easily startled
• Bouts of crying for no apparent reasons
• Panic attack (rapid heart rate, sweating, dizziness, fainting, nausea, fear of impending doom)
• Fear of men (women who have been victims of rape or assault)
Triggers: If you have PTSD from the battlefield, adjusting to your new life can be rather difficult. PTSD involves you having intense anxiety caused by triggers. Most episodes are not random, but have some  underlying cause. Triggers can be external. A smell, a sight, a certain word, scenes from a movie… these are all triggers, and you should figure out what is triggering for you and find a way to avoid it if possible. 

Triggers are internal as well. Certain emotions or thoughts can trigger your PTSD. These are harder to control. You can change your thinking through therapy, but you may still experience triggering thoughts. 

Managing an Episode: If you do have an episode, there are some ways to help reduce the severity of it and get back to living. Here are a few ways: 

• Breathing techniques. Controlled breathing can calm the nerves and reduce the amount of stress you experience. There are many breathing techniques you can use, so practice a few and see which ones are best for you.
• Mindfulness, where you focus on the present and how your body feels, can be a valuable tool in the fight against your PTSD. There are certain mindfulness techniques you can use to help you, and you can read many resources to learn more about it. 
• Expressing yourself through writing or other art is another great way to help cope. You can write stories, draw painting, or use another form of art therapy to help. 

Keep Yourself Healthy: One way you can manage stress is to keep yourself healthy. Going from an area of high intensity to the quiet life at home can be quite the adjustment to your body and cause it some unneeded stress. Make sure you’re still working out, eating healthy, and avoid abusing alcohol or any other drugs that can cause some serious health effects. By being healthy, you can be able to reduce the amount of stress you’re experiencing. 

Talk to Other Veterans: There are plenty of veterans support groups, online or offline, that you can use to talk to other veterans. These people usually have the same problems as you do, and you can trade coping strategies and help comfort each other during times of stress. Do not internalize your problems. Instead, express them in a healthy manner, and your body will thank you for it later. 

Seek Help! One mistake many veterans make is not seeing a therapist. Therapy can help the veteran readjust to their life and help them cope with any stresses they have. If a veteran has PTSD, a therapist can help find and avoid any triggers they have. If a veteran just wants to plan their life now that they’re back, a therapist can help them make goals to accomplish this as smoothly as possible. There are many reasons to seek therapy, but if you’re a veteran, you need to have some form of counseling in order to have the best life possible. By finding a therapist near you, you can take the first step to living a life that you deserve." 

Get help now: If you are in a crisis or any other person may
 be in danger the following resources can provide you with immediate help:
Marie Miguel Biography: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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