Preventing PTSD, or How to Make a Quicker Recovery from PTSD
— And the Health Problems That Can Often Accompany Stress
by Dana Terrell, LCSW, EAC
If you have experienced a recent traumatic or stressful event, these tips may or may not prevent PTSD. But they could reduce the severity of your reaction, and may successfully prevent PTSD symptoms. I would actually recommend the EMDR’s Recent Event Protocol under these circumstances.
Stressful times are not always great timing for developing new skills. So if you don’t have the time, please don’t stress about it. Get the help of a competent EMDR therapist. If you do have the time and inspiration, why not take on the challenge?
Make sure you are not ignoring basic self-care routines for stress reduction:
- Regular healthy meals
- Regular exercise
- A relaxation routine before bed that calms body and mind
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep on a regular schedule to harmonize with your biorhythms
- Take care not to increase alcohol or other substances for emotional reasons
(Another good time to try is when your life is stable, as a prevention strategy.)
Dr. Suzanne Kobasa studied Psychological Hardiness in business executives exposed to stressful life events, and found that the key differences between those who did well and those who became ill (physically or emotionally) were these 3 characteristics (the 3 C’s):
- A stronger commitment to self, work, family and other important values
- A sense of personal control over one’s life.
- The ability to see change in one’s life as a challenge to master.
Dr. Salvatore Maddi did a 12 year longitudinal study of managers and executives at Illinois Bell Telephone. 2/3s of the subjects responded to a job climate of severe layoffs with poorer job performance, heart attacks and strokes, depression, substance abuse, obesity and so forth. Most of us would consider this very understandable. However, it turned out these individuals did not possess the 3 C’s.
Those whose personality characteristics included all “3 C’s” “maintained health, happiness and performance and felt renewed enthusiasm.”
You do not have to be born with these qualities. They can be learned and practiced at any age, boosting your resilience. To learn more, please link to Dr. Salvatore Maddi’s article called “Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Hardiness Helps People Turn Stressful Circumstances into Opportunities.”
Dr. Maddi has developed programs for work places and for schools. As of yet, he has not written a book for the general public, but you might work to develop these qualities yourself, or seek the support of a therapist to promote such growth. EMDR therapists call this “performance enhancement” work. It can be a rewarding personal growth project to undertake with one of the therapists on this website.
If you suspect you already have PTSD, self-care techniques and education alone will not be sufficient. EMDR therapy has been shown to help resolve PTSD through such good research that it is recommended for PTSD sufferers by the prestigious Cochran Review in England, which reviews medical research and makes recommendations based on quality research. Please contact a therapist listed on this website who is near you. All are well-qualified to treat you for PTSD.
We wish you very well in getting back to your optimal self!
©2013 Dana Terrell, LCSW, EAC