If you live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it can sometimes feel as if symptoms arise out of nowhere. Seemingly innocuous places or situations could lead to a debilitating cascade of symptoms, making the world feel like a minefield. However, PTSD symptoms rarely spontaneously occur. Instead, they are most often triggered by environmental factors, which you can learn to recognize and cope with through a program at a PTSD treatment center.
A PTSD treatment program offers the chance to explore your trauma in a safe and comforting environment, guided by clinical and medical professionals who understand the unique dynamics of your disorder. This treatment can be an invaluable part of your journey to recovery. If your experiences with trauma have become unmanageable, Atlanta Center for Mental Health can help. Call 833.625.0458 to learn how PTSD treatment can help you.
How to Identify PTSD Triggers
The first step of combatting your PTSD triggers is identifying what specific thoughts, experiences, and feelings are triggering for you and how to best avoid them. Triggers are divided between internal and external triggers. Internal triggers are experienced inside your body and can include memories, emotions, or internal bodily reactions. Meanwhile, external triggers are people, places, or things you encounter that remind you of a traumatic event.
- Some internal triggers might include:
- Memories of your trauma
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Muscle tension
- Rapid heartbeat
- External triggers might include:
- Seeing someone related to your trauma
- Movies, TV shows, or articles that remind you of your trauma
- Sounds that remind you of your trauma
- Sights, smells, or sounds associated with the trauma
- A place that reminds you of your trauma
Some of these PTSD triggers will likely be immediately obvious, while others may be more subtle. Consider what has caused symptoms to flare up in the past. Where were you, who were you with, what was happening, and what were you thinking about?
Some people with PTSD may be fearful or avoidant when it comes to identifying their triggers. It can be overwhelming to explore what triggers a flare-up of symptoms. As a result, triggers are best identified with the care and supervision of a healthcare professional or in the structured setting of a PTSD treatment program. This provides a safe and supportive environment to gradually explore your triggers and find ways to cope with them.
Dealing With PTSD Triggers
The immediately obvious way to deal with PTSD triggers is to avoid them entirely. However, it is impossible to avoid triggers altogether. Avoidance may even impede your recovery in the long term. One of the most common treatments for PTSD involves exposure therapy, which takes a trigger and removes it from its traumatic context. However, these options are best explored in the safety and security of a therapy program. Other treatment strategies include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Group therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
It is also essential to prepare healthy coping strategies to help manage PTSD triggers outside of a treatment setting. Even when you are unexpectedly faced with a triggering situation, these techniques can alleviate or eliminate your PTSD symptoms in the moment. A few valuable techniques can include:
- Deep breathing
- Practicing mindfulness
Having social support to rely on is also incredibly useful for dealing with PTSD triggers, whether from friends, family, or even a therapy animal. Your social support can understand your needs and be on the lookout for your triggers and, should you experience PTSD symptoms, they can help you find a safe place to deal with your symptoms.
Learn to Identify and Deal With PTSD Triggers at Atlanta Center for Mental Health
Learning about your PTSD can be an overwhelming and exhausting process, which can take months or years. At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, our PTSD treatment program offers the support you need to identify and cope with your triggers. To begin your journey to recovery today, Atlanta Center for Mental Health at 833.625.0458 or fill out our online contact form.