Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can severely interfere with someone’s everyday life. It typically includes flashbacks to horrific or traumatic events as well as symptoms of anxiety. PTSD symptoms can last months or sometimes even years, so treatment is often helpful, especially if those struggling start turning to drugs or alcohol for help.
The Holidays & PTSD
Although the holidays are often considered the most wonderful time of the year by many, they can also be a difficult time for people with mental health problems like PTSD. The holiday season typically involves spending time with friends and family, so it can be a reminder of lost loved ones who are no longer there to celebrate the holiday festivities. This time of year can also be stressful and filled with an overload of events and celebrations. For someone still learning how to deal with PTSD over the holidays, this busy schedule can be overwhelming and place them in triggering and uncomfortable situations that they may be struggling to handle.
How to Cope with PTSD During the Holiday Season
Even if you thought you had your symptoms mostly under control, coping with PTSD over the holidays can be trying. At our addiction treatment center in Mississippi, we know that the end of the year may bring new challenges and triggers, but these tips for dealing with PTSD over the holidays may be able to help.
You are not alone. There are several other people who are struggling during this time of year. Instead of coping with PTSD symptoms during the holidays by yourself, you should lean on the support of others. You could join a PTSD support group, talk to trusted friends or family members, or look online for support.
Say No & Relax
The holidays are a busy time of year, and events can quickly fill up your schedule. Instead of agreeing to all your invitations and stressing out about doing everything, it is okay to say no. Your mental health comes first, so you should make time to relax during the holidays and destress. Saying no can help you feel more in control and decrease anxiety symptoms associated with PTSD.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
When you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, it is tempting to turn to alcohol or drugs. Avoiding these substances can be especially challenging over the holidays with so many parties and festivities, but not doing so could make matters worse. While these substances can help you forget about your problems momentarily, they may make your PTSD symptoms more severe long term. If this type of coping becomes a habit, it can also lead to a substance use disorder, and you may eventually need co-occurring disorder treatment to address both issues.
Get Professional Help
Dealing with PTSD over the holidays is not something you need to do alone. If you are struggling, get help. There are mental health programs designed to provide the care you need. Therapists can help you work through negative thinking, and addiction treatment programs can help you address any drinking or drug problems that came about because of your PTSD. This holiday season, stop letting your past dictate your present. Because we want to help people find lasting sobriety, we offer substance use treatment programs for veterans, first responders, and others who are struggling with underlying mental health symptoms like those related to PTSD. Contact us today at Vertava Health Mississippi to learn more.