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Nursing and PTSD recovery. Your Road to Recovery from PTSD trauma

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Nursing and PTSD recovery. Your Road to Recovery from PTSD trauma


When we hear the words Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), we often think of those who are war veterans, but anyone can experience PTSD through physical or mental trauma. The stress of the recent pandemic has resulted in a rise in PTSD cases among people dealing with heightened everyday stresses, such as frontline medical workers.



Does PTSD Ever Go Away?

The question is, does PTSD ever go away? Can you recover and live an everyday life? The answer is both "yes" and "no". With effective treatment, symptoms can be managed well and remain dormant for years at a time and, in some cases, for decades. The traumas which cause PTSD may never go away, and the symptoms can be triggered anytime in the future.




Can You Heal from PTSD?


Yes, you can heal PTSD, but it can be a slow process. People with PTSD will need determination, patience, and lots of support, including a multidisciplinary approach to succeed.


One specific therapy may not work for everyone, you may need to try a few approaches to find one that works for you, but you can learn how to cope with it and live an everyday happy life.


It is not advised to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs if you are experiencing PTSD. It may feel like they are numbing your thoughts and feelings, but self-medication will not help you in your healing journey and may create separate issues that will need to be addressed.



 

Grace's Journey


As a nurse, I have firsthand experience with the destruction that illness and misfortune cause. My mental health took a far bigger hit than anticipated because of work stress. Both work and personal pressures brought on my PTSD. I tried to ignore it at first. As a nurse, I learned to be flexible. It was I guess, inevitable to have nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety. I became more aware that I required some help. Even though it was challenging, I made the choice to take time off work to recover. When I started to feel better, my loved ones and some of my colleagues were there to help. Before settling on cognitive-behavioural therapy, I also attempted sensorimotor psychotherapy which kind of helped me. My nightmares have stopped since I started practicing relaxation techniques. I could connect with other nurses who shared my experiences. We made progress thanks to everyone's enthusiasm and willingness to pitch in. Am pleased to report that I have resumed my nursing career with a stronger focus on my health and wellness. Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way to recovery. Since PTSD is common among nurses, we must discuss our experiences. I think we can help one another. I needed to initiate a personal care plan for myself.


Grace's ability to deal with PTSD is admirable. She persevered through adversity. Grace can now control her symptoms with the help of coping mechanisms she has acquired in therapy and practiced with her family. She has hope for her healing but also recognizes the difficulties she will face. Those struggling with PTSD should take hope from Grace's journey, which demonstrates that they, too, can recover and go on to achieve success. We appreciate you sharing your incredible story.

 


Support available for PTSD recovery


Therapy is often used to help relieve symptoms of PTSD and is an effective form of treatment for many people. There are, however, different forms of psychotherapy you can take part in.


These include:

Experiential and emotionally focused therapy- such as therapies or activities involving expressive tools to aid in processing painful events.

Cognitive behavioral therapy- this therapy focuses on identifying the thought patterns that can lead to self-destructive behaviors and helps change them.

Psychodynamic therapy is a long-term therapy that explores childhood and developmental history in depth.

Sensorimotor psychotherapy- is a body-centred therapy used for PTSD by exploring traumatic experiences which are trapped in the body.

Dialectical behavior therapy- uses mindfulness and distress tolerance to focus on emotional management issues.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy- involves a patient following a back-and-forth stimulus with their eyes while processing the traumatic event. This is meant to desensitize them from the emotional intensity of the trauma.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation- known as TMS therapy, is a non-invasive treatment for those who have not responded to anti-depressants or therapy. It is used by treating the brain electrically to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

Recovery can be a long process; it helps to be aware of this and allows you to take the pressure of recovering from PTSD. It can be comforting to help others who also suffer from PTSD, and by helping others, you will benefit from doing something worthwhile. People with PTSD who volunteer are happier, as it increases their self-confidence, and they can make new friends in the process. A safe, trusting relationship can also help smooth the way during your recovery. Remember, you are not alone.


 



Reflection:

  1. Have you experienced symptoms of PTSD before?

  2. Did you seek professional support to help you manage your symptoms?

  3. In your experience, which type of therapy would you recommend to a friend struggling with PTSD?


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