Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can occur in people who have experienced a traumatic event. These events can include:
PTSD is most often identified in war veterans, as they encounter many of these traumatic events on a daily basis. However, other people can experience PTSD as well. About 7% to 8% of the population experience PTSD at some point in their life, and around 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. It’s important to note that people who experience trauma do not always develop PTSD. Most traumatized victims experience acute stress symptoms that go away with time; those who develop PTSD show persistent symptoms, including:
People who suffer from PTSD may have changes in their mood and personality. This is because their brains are constantly trying to access the “fight-or-flight” stress response, which can put a strain on other mental capacities. Often people seek help from medication or therapy to help combat PTSD symptoms. While these treatments may help people with their symptoms, there is a wide variety of natural, supplemental, and homeopathic remedies that might also help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.
Therapy is a treatment aimed at relieving emotional distress and mental health problems. Trained professionals — psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors — examine events in a person’s life to gain insight. Holistic therapy aims to achieve health and wellness by aligning a person’s body, mind, spirit, and emotions. This type of therapy can be beneficial for people who are coping with a large amount of stress. Holistic therapists help clients work through a variety of situations they wish to improve, including symptoms of PTSD.
Meditation is the practice of using awareness to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally stable state. Typically, a person will sit in a comfortable position with no distractions and either focus on their breathing or follow along to a guided meditation. There are many types of meditation including:
Studies have shown that meditation is a promising approach to PTSD treatment. People who experience flashbacks, a common symptom of PTSD, can benefit from meditation because it helps keep the person in the present. Other studies have found that meditation can help reduce PTSD symptoms, particularly in war veterans. If you would like to try meditation, consider the following tips:
Acupuncture involves inserting tiny, thin needles at strategic points in your body. Developed in China, it is known to relieve stress by stimulating nerves. Similarly, acupressure consists of the same practice without the needles. Practitioners may ask about your lifestyle, symptoms, and behaviors, and try to determine the best course of action for your acupuncture or acupressure. They will also look at painful parts of your body, the shape and color of your tongue, the color of your face, and your pulse. Both acupuncture and acupressure consist of practitioners putting needles or pressure onto pressure points on the body, seemingly helping to restore the flow of energy.
People who suffer from PTSD can also suffer from anxiety and prolonged stress. Studies have shown that acupuncture could help reduce anxiety symptoms. While acupuncture requires a professional to administer the needles, acupressure could be performed at home. Common pressure points to look into include:
Complementary therapies are typically used with standard medical treatments. For instance, cancer patients can use complementary therapies or treatments to help relieve symptoms from their standard medical treatments. For people suffering from PTSD, complementary therapies could work in tandem with other therapies and medications. Examples of complementary therapies include:
It’s important to remember that these therapies should be used with standard medical treatments, not in place of them. Talking to your doctor can help you form a successful treatment plan.
In massage therapy, therapists use specific techniques to strengthen certain areas with soft tissue. Typically, this type of therapy is used on people who have suffered injuries, diseases, or ailments; however, it is increasingly being used on people who suffer from PTSD. Some of the benefits of massage therapy include:
Some studies found that massage therapy helped veterans with PTSD reduce symptoms including physical pain, tension, irritability, anxiety, and depression. There are many types of massage therapy, including:
It is important to find a massage therapist that has experience working with patients with PTSD; this way, the therapist can better address your symptoms and invoke a trusting environment.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to help heal the mind and body. Essential oils are extracted from plants and seeds and can be used separately or together, depending on the desired effect. True essential oils are obtained through distillation, like cold pressing. Oils obtained through chemical processing are not considered true essential oils, so you should be aware of how oils are created for a successful experience.
To experience aromatherapy, essential oils should be inhaled, not swallowed. They are also applied to different areas of the body and are absorbed by the skin. When inhaled, the aromas can stimulate the limbic system in your brain which plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smells, and long-term memory. For people suffering from PTSD, some aromas can help alleviate fear, anxious feelings, stress, panic, depression, nightmares, and sleep disturbances.
Scents that could be helpful in reducing PTSD symptoms include:
Homeopathy is medicine that embraces a holistic and natural approach to broad symptom relief. It centers around supporting the patient physically, psychologically, and emotionally instead of just addressing one ailment at a time. Homeopathy is guided by three principles:
Products that are labeled homeopathic will often contain a variety of substances including plant ingredients, minerals, chemicals, and ingredients from animal sources. Additionally, the ingredients listed will be in terms of dilution. Often homeopathy consists of using medicinal herbs. Medicinal herbs cover a wide range of plants and are known to help alleviate certain symptoms.
Some medicinal herbs can help alleviate the effects of traumatic stress. However, it’s important to note that these herbs should be diluted properly, as they can have extremely negative effects. Be sure to contact a homeopathy practitioner for the correct usage and dosage of these herbs.
Adaptogens are a group of herbs that helps reduce anxious feelings. These herbs can adapt their function according to specific needs your body has, including physical, chemical, and biological. Depending on how stressed your body is, adaptogens can release the correct response needed for balanced chemical functionality. Studies have found that adaptogens can increase mental capacity that is otherwise diminished by stress and fatigue, common symptoms of PTSD. The most common adaptogens are:
Nervines are herbs that support the nervous system. These herbs can be classified as stimulants, relaxants, or tonics. Nervine tonics can help strengthen the nervous system while nervine relaxants and stimulants can sedate or energize nervous systems, respectively. Those that experience anxiety brought on by PTSD can find these herbs useful. Common nervines include:
These additional herbs are not classified as adaptogens or nervines, however, they can still help relieve PTSD symptoms. These herbs include:
Supplements are a manufactured product intended to help supplement certain diets. They can be a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid, and can provide nutrients a person would otherwise not get through their standard meals. Typically, people are prescribed supplements by doctors if they have a deficiency, like an iron deficiency or a magnesium deficiency. Some supplements can help support mental health when taken alongside traditional medication. The most common supplements include:
Those suffering from PTSD can acquire long-term negative effects. There are many tell-tale signs and symptoms that should be treated by experts. If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and it is affecting your daily life and relationships, it’s time to see a doctor or a counselor. Below is a list of resources that can help those suffering from PTSD.
PTSD can be an overwhelming and debilitating mental illness. However, with the right medical care, holistic therapies, and homeopathic remedies, people who suffer from PTSD can obtain coping mechanisms that can help them lead successful lives.