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Managing a Flashback: PTSD Recovery Tips for Healing

Trauma flashbacks are a common side effect for those who struggle with PTSD. At Royal Life Centers, we specialize in healing military trauma. Our first responder treatment and PTSD rehab services can give you the support you need. Reach out to us today for help with understanding PTSD, learning more about our treatment programs, and how a mental health professional can help.

What Is PTSD and Why Does It Happen?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition. Most people develop this condition after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Common examples of people who may have PTSD include veterans, victims of abuse, and survivors of serious accidents.

Studies have shown that veterans and first responders have a higher risk of developing PTSD than other population groups. Globally, an estimated 10% to 35% of first responders experience mental disorders. There was an estimated prevalence rate of 11% for PTSD. This is likely due to the nature of their work and having to witness traumatic events on a regular basis.

Similarly, it has been estimated that 7 out of every 100 veterans will have PTSD at some point in their life. Factors such as deployment, military occupation or specialty, war politics, location, and the type of enemy can all play a role in a person’s likelihood of developing PTSD. The causes of PTSD vary from person to person, but a traumatic experience of some kind often plays a role in its development.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder may experience several symptoms. Some of the most common include anxiety, nightmares, and flashback memories. Each of these common symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating on their own, especially if left untreated.

For many people who struggle with PTSD, their symptoms can make it feel impossible to live a normal life. Even simple tasks such as grocery shopping, going to work, or housework can feel overwhelming and destabilizing.

Fortunately, there are several PTSD treatment options available today. Royal Life Centers offers a military trauma rehab program that specializes in addressing the specific issues faced by first responders and veterans. Our program helps people overcome involuntary memories and learn skills for coping with flashbacks.

What Is a PTSD Flashback?

A PTSD flashback is a vivid re-experiencing of a traumatic event. When this occurs, it can feel as if it is happening again in the present moment. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks in several ways.

The most common flashback experiences include intrusive memories, thoughts, or images. These can cause the person to feel intense fear, anxiety, or distress. Flashbacks are often triggered by sights, sounds, smells, or other cues that remind the person of the trauma.

Here are some of the characteristics of a PTSD flashback:

  • Feels very real and present
  • Can involve sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or physical sensations
  • Can cause intense emotions, such as fear, anger, or sadness
  • Can last for seconds, minutes, hours, or even days

Flashbacks can be a very disruptive and distressing symptom of PTSD. If you are experiencing flashbacks, it is important to seek professional help. Royal Life Centers has specially-trained therapists who can help you. We work with you to develop coping mechanisms to manage your flashbacks and reduce their intensity.

What Does a PTSD Flashback Look Like to an Outsider?

Knowing what a PTSD flashback looks like from an outside perspective is important for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. An outsider witnessing a PTSD flashback might observe a variety of signs. Depending on the severity and nature of the flashback, some common indicators may include:

  • Physical signs: Increased heart rate, sweating, rapid breathing, trembling, glazed eyes, dilated pupils, pale or flushed skin.
  • Emotional signs: Sudden fear, anxiety, anger, confusion, dissociation (feeling detached from oneself or surroundings).
  • Behavioral changes: Withdrawal, startled reaction to noises, looking lost or dazed, fidgeting or pacing, attempts to escape the situation.

Oftentimes, the person may appear to be frozen or even completely unresponsive. This can appear strange and even disconcerting to an outsider. It is important to keep in mind that the person experiencing the flashback might not be aware of their surroundings.

If you are in a situation where you believe someone else may be experiencing a flashback, it is important to approach them cautiously and carefully. This will help minimize the risk of potential harm befalling you or someone else.

Tips for Managing a PTSD Flashback

Flashbacks can be scary and disorienting. But, there are things you can do to manage them and get yourself back to the present moment. Some of the best tips you can follow to help yourself manage a PTSD flashback include:

  • Grounding Techniques: This includes techniques such as using your five senses to focus on your surroundings, deep breathing, and keeping a comfort object on your person.
  • Self-Soothing Techniques: Repeating mantras, imagining a safe space, and practicing mindfulness meditation can all help soothe your mind in the event of a flashback.
  • Identifying Triggers: When possible, try to identify what triggers your flashbacks. This can help you avoid them or develop coping mechanisms to deal with them in advance.
  • Talk to Someone: Let a trusted friend or family member know what you are going through. Having someone to talk to can be a big help.

The best thing you can do to manage PTSD flashbacks, of course, is to seek professional help. A therapist can teach you coping skills and help you process the trauma you experienced. You can use things like deep breathing to cope with the physical sensations of fear and stress, but understanding PTSD and why it happens is easier with professional help. At Royal Life Centers, we can teach you how to manage your condition and lead a better life.

Where Can I Find Treatment for PTSD?

Royal Life Centers offers comprehensive treatment for PTSD in Arizona and Washington State. Our recovery centers provide targeted, trauma-focused care. We specialize in helping those struggling with behavioral health issues due to their occupation. Some may turn to alcohol or opioid drugs to reduce symptoms of PTSD. This can lead to addiction and even worse mental health problems. 

We offer both evidence-based and holistic treatment options. Our valor program is overseen by a dedicated team of addiction and trauma counselors. You will be able to recover in a secure and comforting environment. During your treatment, you will receive support from peers who understand your experiences.

Flashback and PTSD Treatment Program at Royal Life Center

At Royal Life Centers, our Valor Program for Military Veterans provides the comprehensive and individualized care you need. We specialize in treating those struggling with military-related mental health concerns.

We provide individualized care, working with our guests one-on-one to build a treatment plan that fits their specific needs. Our Valor Program offers several traditional and holistic therapy services to help you heal from your PTSD, including:

Deciding to seek treatment can be scary, but we are here to support you. We are dedicated to providing a safe and comfortable recovery environment for each of our guests. Our therapists and clinicians are ready to support you throughout your recovery journey.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), like any of the mental health conditions people suffer from, is treatable. People with PTSD who experience flashbacks can move on to happy and healthy lives. At Royal Life Centers, our guests’ health and happiness is our top priority. If you are ready to start your recovery, reach out to us today. We are available 24/7 to answer any treatment questions you may have and help you get started as soon as possible. You don’t have to live with these common symptoms of PTSD any longer when a mental health professional can help.

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