Every sufferer’s experience of PTSD is unique to them. Living with it can feel overwhelming and confusing. One sign or symptom of the illness is having vivid flashbacks or feeling like the trauma is happening right now. It’s sort of like having a waking nightmare, and this can be traumatic in itself.
While the person may want to let go of the past, the memory will try to creep in and not let go. You may be wondering how long these flashbacks will last and how you can learn to cope with them. The following information will help you to determine if you’re having flashbacks and what you can do about them.
Flashbacks in Detail
A flashback is a vivid experience during which you relive some aspects of a traumatic event or feel as if it is happening in real-time. During a flashback, it can be difficult to connect with reality.
You may experience any one of the following when having a flashback:
- Seeing full or partial images of what happened
- Facing sounds smells or tastes connected to the trauma
- Feeling pain or pressure or other physical sensations
- Experiencing emotions that you felt during the trauma
A flashback may arise when you interact with a particular person, place, or situation, or they can come about at random. Flashbacks can last for a few seconds, or they can continue for several hours or even days. Go easy on yourself because it can be challenging to find distance and relief during a flashback.
What Helps During a Flashback?
Flashbacks may be inevitable for you when you have PTSD. Therefore, it’s a good idea to understand what you can do in the moment to help ease some of the discomfort and fear that arises while having a flashback. For example,
- Focus on your breathing
- Carry an object that reminds you that you are in the present, not back at the event
- Tell yourself that you are safe
- Comfort yourself
- Keep a diary
- Try grounding techniques
The toughest part can be remembering that there are tools and coping strategies available to you when a flashback occurs. It’s hard to retrain the brain to respond differently, and it may take some time before you’re able to implement these suggestions successfully.
How to Cope with Flashbacks
There are ways to help prevent PTSD flashbacks, or at least deal with them when they pop up. Usually, there are warning signs that you can recognize and be on the lookout for so that you can try to avoid having a flashback. Know your triggers and plan ahead so you can avoid them at all costs. PTSD flashbacks can be conquered and managed, so do what’s in your power to help ensure they don’t interfere with your daily life.
There are several treatment options for people who suffer from PTSD flashbacks. The least invasive treatment is therapy. Talking to a professional can sometimes help people cope with their PTSD and any flashbacks.
There are medication options as well, and they have varying degrees of effectiveness. But there is a treatment option that has a pretty high success rate and can relieve symptoms for a long period of time: the stellate ganglion block (SGB) injection for PTSD treatment.
The SGB treatment for PTSD consists of an injection of local anesthesia administered on the stellate ganglion, a cluster of nerves on the neck. This cluster is part of the body’s sympathetic nervous system and triggers the “fight or flight” instinct in the brain. People who suffer from PTSD have an overactive stellate ganglion that constantly sends “fight or flight” signals to the brain, overwhelming it.
The SGB for PTSD injection treatment helps quiet the stellate ganglion. To accomplish this, the SGB doctor performs the procedure while guided by X-ray, ensuring that the anesthetic is placed on the proper spot. Results are usually quick; the neck injection for PTSD often relieves PTSD symptoms in as little as 30 minutes.
The best thing about this PTSD treatment injection is that the results can last for years. Once it wears out, it can be re-applied by a PTSD doctor near you. The SGB injection to treat PTSD has a high success rate, meaning that the reapplication has a very high chance of working as well as before.
To find out what is the best treatment option for your PTSD and flashbacks, seek out a clinic that offers an SGB injection for PTSD near you.