Coping with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) isn’t easy. But natural and effective C-PTSD help is available.
Despite the risk, there’s a reason why so many people turn to treatment options that utilize psychiatric drugs to cope. The emotional pain is so great and the traumatic memories so disturbing, it seems like those are the only approaches that can offer a solution.
However, C-PTSD symptoms can be managed in a healthy way, without the use of prescription drugs. Of course, natural treatment options require a willingness to be involved and take charge of your healing.
If you would like help with your C-PTSD symptoms, here are some ideas for non-drug approaches to coping with complex trauma.
Exercise is perhaps one of the most tried-and-true methods for managing symptoms related to C-PTSD. Our bodies want to move. They need to move. And when you are experiencing stress from past trauma, that need is even greater.
If you already have a sport or activity that you enjoy doing, double-down and further commit to it.
However, if exercise was never your thing, that’s okay too. In fact, this could be the best time to explore your horizons and try something new. Many gyms offer a trial membership. They want you to come to their facility and try it out. Maybe you can take a class that introduces you to a new sport.
If you are working with a trauma therapist, he or she will also likely teach you physical exercises, called grounding techniques, that can be extremely helpful for dealing with trauma symptoms.
Spending Time Outside
Being outside is a great way to get help with C-PTSD symptoms, and it’s free! Primarily, it exposed you to natural light, which helps boost your mood. Also, you get a good dose of vitamin D, which you need for overall good health.
Of course, it makes sense to wear a hat and apply sunscreen. However, spending time outdoors is well worth the effort. And the best thing is, you don’t have to plan on a big adventure because you can still reap the positive benefits of being outdoors, even if it’s just in your backyard.
One of the debilitating effects of C-PTSD is that it makes you feel powerless. You believe that nothing is in your control. One way to counter this narrative is by being productive, such as taking on house projects or yard work.
- Chopping firewood
- Building furniture
- Raking leaves
- Mowing the lawn
Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that, at the end of the day, you can look back and say “I did that!” If you’re not the handiest person around the house, no problem. There are plenty of how-to articles and videos online to guide you.
Also, perhaps you’ve noticed that these activities carry a bonus. Not only are you productive, but many also incorporate the two prior suggestions—exercise and being outdoors. And if you want to take it a step further, you may also be able to include this next idea.
A quick example from my practice: in an effort to decrease the time she spent “stewing, worrying and brooding”, one of my clients took up a new hobby. She began baking sugar free, gluten free desserts, and giving them to friends and family. She uses this activity as a way to keep busy and to as a great ice breaker for reaching out to people. So far, she reports getting delighted reactions to her especially when she is bearing tasty, healthy treats.
Listening to Music
Music sometimes gets overlooked in the discussion of managing trauma symptoms. Yet, music is something many people enjoy.
When you play your favorite song, how do you feel? Probably better! It puts you in a more positive mood, and you feel more relaxed. Plus, music has the power to draw your attention away from what’s bothering you and can produce powerful state changes when combined with movement.
Of course, music can also have the opposite effect and draw you down deeper. After all, who hasn’t listened to a heartbreak ballad after a breakup? That’s why it’s important to keep it positive and uplifting. Why not have a playlist of your favorite songs ready that pump you up and get you back in the right headspace?
Accessing Advanced, Non-Drug Treatment Tools
Aside from prescription medication, trauma informed talk-therapy is the go-to, non-drug treatment model for many trauma-related problems. However, there are other, more advanced, treatment tools that can help you deal with C-PTSD symptoms, such as:
Neurofeedback Therapy: This is a treatment method where you and a therapist examine your brainwaves on a monitor. Then, the therapist guides you on how to retrain your brain so that you experience less C-PTSD symptoms.
EMDR Therapy: Another advanced tool to help with C-PTSD symptoms. It involves following an object (such as a finger) with your eyes while recalling a traumatic memory. In time, and with the guidance of an experienced EMDR therapist, the memory will no longer cause you distress.
For help with your C-PTSD, you need to access a wide range of options to manage symptoms. Some are coping skills that you can utilize each and every day. Others are natural, non-drug therapeutic alternatives.
To learn more about these treatment options or PTSD therapy in general, please feel free to contact me.