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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I overcome my complex post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd)

    I would like to overcome complex ptsd, I am looking for some strategies I can use on a daily basis. I am a university student on holidays and I have time to work on myself
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  • 5


    David Lawson


    We all have times when we need to talk with a person who really listens to us, someone outside our family or social circle - … View Profile


    A big step you have taken in recognising that things need to change in your life.

    Some strategies:

    • Find a good counsellor - someone you feel safe and comfortable with
    • Identify spport people - friends or family members who can support you when you are not in a happy place, having a flashback or feeling angry
    • Identify what the triggers are - things go down hill for me when I … (get busy at work, don't sleep, come across a picture or sound that reminds me of my trauma etc) and then see how you can minimise their effect on you
    • Doing stuff that makes you feel alive or good like walking along the beach, walking the dog, dancing, listening to music, helping someone out
    Most important when you are having a good day (or better day than the previous few days) DON'T over do it. The tempatation is there to get in and get things done when things are going better but often we try to cram to much in and then fall flat the net day.

    Rather get a few things done and then stop and rest and see how our body responds and use that as a guide to find a good limit to avoid over doing it.

    All the best.

  • 2


    Richard McMahon


    Richard McMahon is an energetic practitioner with over 12 years of experience in complementary health. Richard holds a Bachelor Degree in Acupuncture and a Diploma … View Profile

    In terms of daily strategies David has given some excellent recommendations above that you should try to apply. If you are looking for a simple addition to your routine acupuncture has been shown to assist greatly in both the mental emotional effects of PTSD but also on the state of the heart and heart rate of those who experience the disorder. The US army have been utilizing acupuncture for both the stabilizing effect on the emotions but also the physical tension and pain that often accompanies chronic stress patterns. It has also been shown to be as effective or more effective than SSRI's in managing PTSD in 2 research trials. 

  • 1




    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I am writing this from the perspective of somebody who is an administrator of a world-wide forum which supports people who deal with mental illness. I am not a clinical health professional and have no personal knowledge of PTSD.

    Members of the forum have found these approaches helpful in coping with complex PTSD:

    (1) Sometimes medication can help. I suggest that you talk with your GP and get him/her to refer you to a psychiatrist who will be able to assess you and (depending) suggest possible medication.

    (2) Cognitive behavioral therapy, (CBT) is also often helpful. A clinical psychologist with experience of using CBT with clients with PTSD might help here.

    (3) Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another method which many members of the forum speak highly of - again a clinical psychologist with experience of using it with clients with PTSD might help.

  • 1




    Darren Stops

    Counsellor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    For assistance with issues including: anxiety & depression, stress, coping & adjustment, personality & relationships sleep & health issues, separation, loss and trauma, post traumatic … View Profile

    I would be checking with whoever provided you with the diagnosis to refer you to appropriate services.  It also depends upon whether the situation or aspects of it are ongoing.  This makes a big difference to the strategies used and requirements for therapy.

    For PTSD the two gold standard treatments are Trauma-Focussed CBT and EMDR, both of which have similar results in comparitive studies.  The choice of one or the other may be dependent on the nature of the history and current situation.

    A Psychologist with experience and knowledge in the area of trauma treatment is essential.  The wrong type of therapy will at best, have no effect, and at worst, cause more distress.

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