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Coping Up with Post Traumatic Stress by Charles Watson


Posted on January 2, 2020

The brain is the most vital and sensitive part of the body. It is like the power supply; if anything goes slightly wrong, the whole body tends to face the consequence. Therefore, after a brain injury physical pain is just one aspect. Depression, anxiety, mood swings and stress following a brain injury should be no surprise. It can prove very challenging for the victim to overcome the stress and it’s harder than it looks. Coping with stress demands the efficiency of cognitive functions of the brain to recognize the symptoms, identify the causes, plan out a strategy to cope up with the stress, and practice control of emotions. Stress after brain injury should not be confused with everyday stress. It is not as easy to handle, and that is often why other members may feel as if the patient is overreacting or whining.

Understanding Stress 

Where everyday stress can be managed with behavioral/lifestyle changes, this kind of stress is managed in assistance with drug therapy. Stress-related to brain damage can be compared to blocked roads. If five out of 6 roads are blocked, during light traffic, there would not be much inconvenience. However in case of heavy traffic, that one path becomes jammed and what little traffic was passing that is also hindered. Similarly, a person suffering from stress after experiencing head injuries may be able to face light stress like talking or mild noise. But flickering lights, loud conversational sounds, and noises lead to the victim being overcome with the stress that he/she can no longer control.

What should you do?

Nevertheless, only medications will surely not help the victim. The victim’s family members and surrounding persons should recognize the situation and realize that the stress is real. This is the first step if one intends to reduce and manage stress. The patient should identify what triggers a stressful reaction, which of these are controllable and which can be avoided. It would be better if he/she keeps a diary and notes down changes to the smallest detail.

It is not an easy journey because the response to each stimuli is different; each stimuli may trigger a different stress level. It is important to distinguish the main cause of stress. This is the first step of any basic neuropsychological assessment. These can often be tiring for a person, but facing the stress in a controlled environment is better than facing it unprepared. Once these factors have been taken into account, develop strategies to cope up with the stress. Note down what calms the mind and helps you reduce the stress. 

Stay Calm and Exercise

Nothing is better than exercise that boosts your mind and body and automatically sets you on the path to recovery. Exercises should not be very vigorous but enough to jog up your sleeping parts of your mind and body. Flex your hands, forearms, and biceps; choose a different exercise each day. Tense and relax your muscles for 10-15 seconds of 15 reps. Breathing is really good for your brain’s health. Practice inhaling and exhaling exercises and focus deeply as you do so. There is no rush. Once this becomes a part of your routine, your body would switch on a mechanism to breathe when you’re stressed or anxious. 

Most stressful responses are triggered by physical stimuli, so you must consciously find a place where you feel extra relaxed and at peace; the place could be real or imagine. Try to feel and imagine your surroundings with all of your five senses. Get comfortable and exercise gradually so that the body also gets used to it. Suffering brain damage teaches you that no matter how sensitive the brain may be, it is one of the strongest organs. So keep chanting motivational statements to yourself. Your brain is your biggest and strongest asset after brain injuries.