Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex condition. Those who have it experience it in different ways.
It’s a disorder where people are put in a state of hypervigilance. Their bodies are sort of stuck in fight-or-flight mode. As you can imagine, we are not meant to exist in this state at all the time.
As a result, people with PTSD may experience increased cortisol levels. This is the hormone that is released in fight-or-flight situations. When experienced consistently, it can lead to increased sensitivity to stress, anxiety, increased heart rate, and more. Over time, those with PTSD experience the exhausting mental and physical effects of this.
But despite the negative aspects of this disorder, there is one key factor that is not only important but crucial to healing. That factor is resilience.
What is Resilience in Trauma?
Resilience is the ability to overcome tough situations and continue on. It is somewhat of a phenomenon in PTSD. However, that does not mean that PTSD goes away on its own. Rather, it means that those with PTSD have remarkable endurance in the face of adversity (although this does not come without its struggles). They adapt to stress quickly.
Resilience applies to not only our psychological being but also our social, cultural, and physical environment. Resiliency allows people to efficiently use resources in all these areas to push through difficulty.
Although people with PTSD have this uncanny ability to adapt, they still suffer the effects of their trauma. Many may turn to unhealthy outlets like drugs or alcohol. It may affect their ability to make connections and maintain relationships with others. They may have serious sleep issues. They make stop taking care of themselves and may avoid making new goals, trying new things, or facing tough emotions.
Nonetheless, these people continue to trek onwards in life, albeit with some difficulty.
Without a doubt, resilience is a useful survival tool, especially for those who experienced trauma. It is the source of their strength and is what allows them to carry on despite carrying the heavy weight of trauma.
Resilience is also the very thing that makes it possible for to recover from trauma and cope with PTSD.
Building Resiliency in Trauma Therapy
An important aspect of PTSD treatment is using resilience to create healthy coping mechanisms and overcome issues such as avoidance of triggers, flashbacks, etc. Informed trauma therapy will enhance a person’s resilience so they can use it to face their trauma and live life more freely.
Some growth that may come from enhancing resilience in PTSD therapy includes:
Creating a more positive outlook
Awareness of irrational thinking
Setting new goals
Acknowledging difficult emotions
Using positive outlets
Building better connections with others
In short, trauma therapy will help people with PTSD realize how trauma impacts their life, recognize the signs, respond using helpful coping tools, and eventually resist future re-traumatization.
Trauma therapy is all about using resilience to retrain the brain and adapt to a more positive direction where the person is in control. No longer will their trauma responses feel out of their control and inevitable.
Unfortunately, many of us will experience trauma at some point. And for some of us, the effects may stick around. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be permanent. Although trauma changes us, we can learn from it and use our resilience to take back control of our life. Recovery is possible and attainable with the right help.
Ready to start working towards a more positive future? Please read more about trauma treatment and reach out today.