Social Isolation 

The term which we looked at as the preventive measure from an outbreak of a novel disease may have given rise to another pandemic. It may have helped considerably in the prevention of COIV19, but it certainly has an adverse impact on the psychological profile of people. The medical survey conducted in India in August 2020 on a small group of people to gauze the mental impact of coronavirus induced lockdown showed 28.2% of the respondents have PTSD, and the rest may not have been diagnosed with PTSD yet but have developed similar symptoms. Like excessive sweating, breathing troubles, sleeping & eating disorders, etc.

Why social isolation is a trauma?

The isolation was forced and was not practised willingly. One day all of a sudden, the entire world was shut down to prevent the disease we never heard of before. And then it turns out the situation is more severe as we started calling it a pandemic. So, as people were confined to their places, they experienced a feeling of no control over the circumstances, the fear of contracting the disease or losing loved ones, sense of despair as not seeing things turning back to their default state, etc. And coupled with all the significant personal and work-life alterations it led to, social isolation became the number one reason for PTSD in 2020. 

Why is PTSD treatment necessary?

PTSD exerts a damaging impact on mental and physical health and can lead to trouble in sustaining relationships. Besides, the risk of developing depression or indulging in deliberate self-harm is six times higher in people with PTSD. And they are also five times more vulnerable to other anxiety disorders compared to a person without PTSD. So coping up with this disease is essential. 

PTSD treatment can be anything from a simple change of habit to seeking professional help. It is different for every individual based on their coping mechanism and severity of the disease. 

PTSD treatment

  1. Reach out – People with PTSD often struggle in isolation as they find it challenging to open up and share their difficulties. They are scared of having people not able to comprehend their situation. In fact, in many cases, people themselves don’t realize that they are struggling with PTSD until symptoms become unendurable. We all need to understand that PTSD is not uncommon and that if it is hard to explain it to family and friends, then there is always an option of seeking professional help, but leaving it untreated is not an option.
  2. Heedfulness – PTSD patients relive the traumatic event, again and again, and are overwhelmed with stress and anxiety in every minute of it. But by just spending two minutes a day practising meditation, prayer or any other mindful technique with a goal to focus on the present without the fear of past or future, can help in calming the body and mind. Although it may just lead to a moment of relaxation, it will bring back the taste of normalcy and hope that sanity is achievable. And before you know, these small regular victories will make a huge difference. 
  3. Exercise – Exercise has commendable results in stress-relieving by regulating mood and emotions. It pumps up the production of feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins. So, sweat out the PTSD. Make your own exercise regime. All you have to do is pick a physical activity that amuses you like yoga, dance, cycling, running, walking, swimming, etc. and practice it every day maybe just for 10 minutes to start with. Remember, the goal is to enjoy and relax, not to overwhelm yourself. Be consistent, set small goals and decompress. 
  4. Psychotherapy/ PTSD Therapy: There are several therapies designed to help people cope up with the disease. The aim of this write up is not to tell you about the treatment you should go for. As the course of treatment will be decided once a thorough diagnosis is performed under medical supervision. However, we aim to let you know that there is more than one option for you to fight the disease. And that the treatment is customized as per psychological profile.
  • Cognitive Therapy: This is a type of talk therapy that indulges you in deep thinking and initiates conversations. It helps you to put into words the thoughts that are seemingly inexplicable and thereby encourage you to pin out negative feelings or mental patterns that are keeping you stuck. 
  • Exposure therapy: This PTSD therapy as the name suggests exposes you to the situation or the memory that frightens you, but without compromising your safety. It lets you re-enter the traumatic event that led to PTSD at the first place, and gives you an opportunity to process it, understand it which you might not have received when the actual event occurred. This therapy is suitable for patients who are in denial and fear to let their emotions out. 
  • (EMDR) Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: This is an interactive psychotherapy technique that combines exposure therapy with a set of guided eye movements. Along with letting you re-enter the traumatic situation safely, it also helps you to change your reaction to it for processing it better. 

Now you may think that the world is coming to an end, but remember this too shall pass and it’s only after the darker cold nights, the sun feels brighter and warm.

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