Just like there isn’t a single cause of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there isn’t a single solution. Instead, it takes a variety of strategies to help manage this complex disorder that changes the structure of your brain. So what can you do to cope?
At Bowman Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California, our team knows that distressing flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety can become a constant source of concern and even become disabling. That’s why we take a comprehensive approach to helping people manage PTSD symptoms and flashbacks.
If you struggle with PTSD, here’s how we can help.
Understanding your disorder
The first step to managing PTSD and flashbacks involves having a better sense of your condition.
First, this is a type of anxiety disorder that develops in response to experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Sometimes the trigger is obvious, such as a car accident, sexual assault, or combat. However, it can also occur because of less obvious things or multiple adverse issues, such as consistent bullying in childhood or food insecurity.
Regardless of the cause, PTSD can change how the brain functions, especially with the alarm systems meant to help you survive. When you have PTSD, this system becomes overly sensitive, so it triggers easily. But it doesn’t stop there. In response, other parts of your brain also stop working correctly, including areas responsible for your memory and thinking.
As a result, PTSD can make it difficult to separate a safe moment occurring in the present from something dangerous that happened in the past. These moments, known as flashbacks, can leave you feeling or acting as if the traumatic event is occurring again.
Recognizing your triggers
Because of the changes in how your brain functions, it’s essential to learn to identify the internal and external triggers for your flashbacks.
Internal triggers describe feelings or experiences inside your body, such as memories, emotions, or bodily sensations. Conversely, external triggers can include things like holidays, smells, or seeing things that remind you of the traumatic event.
Our team can help you learn to recognize your triggers. This plays a crucial role in avoiding them when you can and managing them when you can’t.
We recommend a combination of approaches to ease PTSD symptoms.
Get professional help
Studies show that effective treatment for PTSD involves psychotherapy, which can help restructure communication pathways in the brain. Similarly, several medications can help ease PTSD symptoms, ranging from anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants to antipsychotic formulas.
We also offer transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a safe and effective alternative to medication.
Identify warning signs
Not only can you learn your triggers, but you can identify the warning signs of a flashback. While flashbacks may seem as if they come out of nowhere, they often provide subtle signs in advance, such as things looking fuzzy or feeling as though you’re losing touch with your surroundings.
If you can learn to spot the signs of a flashback, you can take steps to catch them early.
Learn grounding techniques
This is essential when living with PTSD. Simply put, we can help you find ways to stay grounded in the moment. These strategies rely on using your senses to bring your attention back to the present moment.
Examples of grounding techniques include:
- Turning on loud music
- Biting a lemon
- Gripping a piece of ice
- Smelling something strong, such as peppermint
Most importantly, don’t try to face PTSD alone. Our team has the compassion and experience you need to help you manage your condition, so you can lead a rich and fulfilling life.
Do you have PTSD? We can help. To learn more, call 310-982-7003 or book an appointment online with Bowman Medical Group today.