Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is a condition that develops after an individual faces an event that leaves a traumatic memory. Most commonly, PTSD happens after a violent disaster or natural event and commonly faces veterans after serving on active duty. PTSD can also affect an individual after losing a loved one or after facing a near-death experience. PTSD recovery is unique depending on an individual since the severity depends on the person’s experience. However, all individuals experiencing PTSD generally go through five stages towards recovery.
1. Emergency Stage
The emergency stage comes immediately after the traumatizing event. During this stage, the individual is prone to severe anxiety, and they often have a heightened flight or fight response. At this time, the patient will live in unease and will get problems enjoying or handling previously mundane tasks. However, the anxiety may not always be apparent but only when a trigger reminds the individual of their traumatic experience. The reaction to this trigger can be severe, numbing the individual to become numb to their environment.
2. Numbing Stage
In the numbing stage, a patient will actively try to numb their emotions to prevent further anguish. By numbing the emotional reaction, the individual seeks to reduce the high levels of anxiety or stress that they experience. The individual is likely to close off from their family and peers and maintain a joyful façade while avoiding conversations or activities that trigger their anxiety. However, by numbing their emotions, the patients do not effectively deal with the root of their PTSD, which usually restricts any progress towards the recovery process.
3. Repetitive Stage
The repetitive stage often takes the greatest toll on the patient since, despite their efforts to suppress their feelings, the memories and nightmares still find a way to penetrate, leading to intense anxiety. During this stage, the patient is most likely to consider combatting their trauma in the first step towards recovery.
4. Transition Stage
The transition stage defines when the patient decides to end their turmoil by tackling their PTSD head-on. Usually, the patient accepts their suffering and seeks means to deal with their anxiety, usually by seeking help from professionals and loved ones and actively disclosing the source of their trauma. After opening up, the patient gets a positive outlook on their life, seeking out a suitable recovery technique, and thus are more likely to experience a full recovery after that.
5. Integration Stage
The integration stage completes the PTSD recovery process, where the patient goes through the process of working through their trauma, either through sessions with a professional counselor or through self-treatment, with the support of loved ones. In this stage, the patient finds coping mechanisms to deal with their triggers and the resultant emotions. After finding a suitable solution, the patient can apply these techniques in their daily lives, helping them alleviate their symptoms moving forward. The Integration stage generally takes a long period, as it is a continuous process that slowly but steadily reduces the severity of the PTSD symptoms. After a while, the patient can make a full recovery where they no longer get a reaction in the [presence of triggers to their traumatic event.