Do You Have These Symptoms of PTSD?

Do You Have These Symptoms of PTSD?

You’re not alone if you have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder due to COVID-19.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn’t just affect soldiers or people who have survived dangerous situations. In fact, many people are experiencing PTSD as a result of the trauma they’ve faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PTSD can occur after any scary or emotionally difficult experience, whether it’s a house fire, abuse from a parent or spouse, being a victim of a violent crime or being in combat. Surviving a serious illness, such as COVID-19, or being an essential worker may also trigger this mental health condition.

During the pandemic, many healthcare workers were overwhelmed as they cared for a seemingly endless stream of sick and dying patients. They were not only exhausted but traumatized by what they saw. Grocery store workers, delivery drivers and other essential employees were also put in the line of fire, working long hours while worrying about catching the virus.

If you had COVID-19, you may have been terrified you would develop serious symptoms. If you were seriously ill and wound up in the hospital, you were alone and scared, also possibly fearing death. Even those who recovered from their initial illness might be experiencing long-haul symptoms. That’s why it’s not surprising that PTSD is particularly common in people who have had COVID-19. In fact, 30% of hospitalized COVID patients reported PTSD symptoms in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

You may have also developed PTSD if a close family member had COVID-19, you know people who died from the virus or you have been struggling to handle changes in your life brought on by the pandemic.

Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Reliving your experiences: You may suffer nightmares or flashbacks about being intubated, treating seriously ill patients or caring for family members.
  • Sleep problems: Falling asleep and staying asleep may be difficult, particularly if your sleep is disrupted by nightmares.
  • Emotional issues: You may feel irritable, be easily startled, have emotional outbursts or negative thoughts, or no longer enjoy your favorite activities.
  • Concentration problems: Difficulty focusing or concentrating may also occur. Brain fog, a common complaint in long-haul COVID patients, may actually be related to PTSD, according to a paper co-authored by a UCLA neuropsychologist.
  • Avoidance: You may avoid people or places that remind you of your ordeal.

These suggestions may help relieve or reduce your PTSD symptoms:

  • Share your feelings: Talking to friends or family members can help you feel supported and less isolated. You may be surprised at just how many people feel the same way.
  • Chill out: Meditating, exercising, and participating in hobbies and activities you enjoy provide natural ways to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Stay connected: Visiting friends and engaging in fun activities with others, rather than spending a lot of time alone, may help you better manage your symptoms.
  • Embrace positivity: Focusing on the good things in your life, even if they seem small, can help improve your outlook. Keep a gratitude journal to record positive experiences and feelings.
  • Limit news watching: New stories or dramatic posts on social media can cause flashbacks and negative feelings.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be difficult to manage on your own, even with an emotional bag of tricks. If your symptoms don’t improve with some of the above suggestions, consider talking to a mental health professional. A therapist can help you work through your feelings and change your reactions to triggers. In addition to talk therapy, medications may help you better manage your condition.

Copyright 2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: April 16, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.

 

The Power of Pets When It Comes to Your Health

The Power of Pets When It Comes to Your Health

You love them. They love you. And the power of that connection is good for your health.

There’s a reason therapy dogs are a common sight at hospitals and nursing homes. Research has proven that pets are good for our mental and physical health.

More than two-thirds of households in the U.S. are currently reaping the immediate and long-term benefits of pet ownership, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association. The survey indicates that 85 million households are sharing their homes with one or more furry, feathered or scaly friends.

Thinking of opening your home to a pet? Consider these benefits:

  • Pets help ease loneliness. It’s nice having another living soul to talk to, even if they don’t talk back with human words. Especially in times of isolation, like during the pandemic, pets offer companionship. Having a dog is also a good way to meet people.
  • Pets keep us physically active. Dogs need to be walked, and both dogs and cats need lots of playtime. Studies show that dog owners are more likely to exercise regularly, which promotes a healthy heart, good circulation and weight management.
  • Pets can lower our blood pressure. According to a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), interacting with animals can calm us down, even if we’re simply watching fish swim in an aquarium.
  • Pets fulfill the basic human need for touch. Stroking, petting or hugging an animal can instantly calm and soothe someone who is feeling anxious or stressed, which is why therapy dogs are so helpful in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Pets offer unconditional love. Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of coming home after a long day to someone who is very happy to see you – no matter what?
  • Pets are attuned to our behavior and emotions. Animals in the home, especially dogs and cats, know how to respond to their humans, often mirroring our tone of voice, gestures and body language.
  • Pets are good for children. Loving an animal and being directly involved with their care teaches kids about responsibility, compassion and empathy.

While there are many benefits to pet ownership, before you get a pet you should make sure it’s right for you. Being a pet owner is a serious commitment. It requires time and money to feed a pet and provide regular veterinary care. You also have to have the right living environment – for instance, a large dog wouldn’t be a good fit in a small apartment with no yard.

If you’re unable to bring a pet permanently into your home, there are other ways to get your “fix.” Even if the time isn’t right for adopting an animal of your own, you can volunteer to walk dogs or play with cats at the local shelter. Or you may be able to foster an animal temporarily. Of course, you can always offer to walk a friend’s dog or watch a neighbor’s cat while they’re away.

Copyright 2020-2021 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: June 17, 2020

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

Learn more about Baldwin Publishing Inc. editorial policyprivacy policy, ADA compliance and sponsorship policy.

No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.