5 Productive Ways To Cope With Flashbacks And Dissociation In PTSD
Experiencing flashbacks and dissociation is one of the most common symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Constant flashbacks and dissociation are the results of running into triggers that make people remind them of the trauma they have experienced in the past.
While flashbacks are unpredictable and disruptive they also despair the ability to function properly in everyday life. According to psychology, most people experience dissociation and flashbacks in PTSD only when they are not conscious of triggers happening to them. Flashbacks cause a sense of disconnection and make the person feel that they are right back in the past.
Constant flashbacks make the person live through the traumatic event again and again. The fact is that triggers, flashbacks, and dissociation in PTSD can happen to anyone at any time even after they think that they have successfully overcome the traumatic event. Living through this fear is valid and natural but you don’t have to live through the fear of flashbacks, dissociation, and triggers for your whole life.
The good news is that we can actually adopt some self-help techniques to cope with flashbacks and dissociation. In this blog, I have listed the 5 productive ways to cope with flashbacks in PTSD.
Related Read: Psychotherapy for PTSD
Flashbacks in PTSD
Flashbacks in PTSD mean re-experiencing the symptoms of PTSD. During a flashback, a person feels or acts through a traumatic event again. A flashback can be temporary and people sometimes can connect with the present as well. But sometimes, flashbacks are so intense that they make the person disconnected from self.
Dissociation in PTSD
Dissociation in PTSD means feelings disconnected from the present moment, surroundings, or self. Dissociation is similar to flashbacks; they can also be temporary. But when they are intense or experienced for a prolonged time, it can make a person totally unaware of the surroundings and inner-self.
Related Read: Effective Coping Strategies for PTSD
5 Productive Techniques to Cope with PTSD Flashbacks
Whenever you feel terrified or not able to connect with the present moment, you can try self-compassion with yourself or your loved one to feel connected. In addition to this, we are going to discuss effective tools that can help you cope. Try these effective tools and with time and practice, you will become more automatic and habitual which will make you more conscious, mindful, and resilient to combat the feelings of flashbacks and dissociation related to PTSD.
1.Try Grounding Techniques
The first and best technique to combat the feelings of flashbacks and dissociation in PTSD is to ground yourself. Below-mentioned techniques are going to work effectively only when you will be able to ground yourself. By feeling grounded, you will be able to find the intensity of the symptoms related to PTSD coming down eventually. It will also help you in feeling more attached to yourself. To make yourself feel grounded instantly you can try walking, moving, or stretching. Moreover, some of the common and easy grounding tools are mentioned below:
- The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique
- 5+ Best Grounding Techniques to seek mindfulness
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
2.Practice Positive Self-talk
Our inner voice is more powerful than we think. Having a positive pep talk while experiencing a flashback will not only ground you but also helps you in staying calm and stable at the moment. It helps you in employing other helpful strategies. Positive self-talk is another important thing to do to fall into the right place. For practicing self-talk, you can try saying:
- “This is only a flashback and not real and I am living into the present.”
- I am safe now and no one can externally or internally threaten me from now on.”
- “This is not going to last forever and this is just a symptom which will go away.”
- “Let me ground myself so that I can overcome this safely.”
3.Completely discrete yourself from the past
Separating yourself from the past and completely connecting yourself to the present is a combination of grounding and self-talk. All you have to do is to feel that you’re a small child and you are completely present in the environment or surroundings that you enjoy. This technique will help you in relieving yourself from the traumatic event and also will establish feelings of calmness, safety, and security in the present moment.
4.Understand your triggers and make yourself feel safe and protected
If you are regularly experiencing triggers, you need to constantly remind yourself that it’s just a flashback and you’re already in a safe position right now. By reflecting on the current reality you will be able to make your stress levels go down. Always try to remind yourself that “this is just a flashback and it’s not happening right now.” You can also try boosting your sense by:
- Holding your pet
- Grabbing your blanket
- Hugging a loved one
5.Enlist support system
If you’re regularly experiencing triggers, you must create a list of your trusted support so that people can know and understand how to help you in such a situation. By surrounding yourself with strong social support, you will be able to reduce the impact of the symptoms and additionally will be able to get the proper help for trauma-related symptoms.
If you want to seek more self-help related to trauma, read: 10 Healthy ways to deal with a trauma
I hope this blog helps you with the 5 best and most productive coping strategies for dissociation and flashbacks in PTSD. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.
Thanks for reading!