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Dealing with large crowds when you have PTSD

The panic you feel when you are trapped is similar to what people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) feel when they are in a large crowd. In today’s society, crowds are difficult to avoid, especially if you live in a city, or during certain times of the year, such as vacations. Large crowds can be particularly stressful if you have a posttraumatic stress disorder, since they can trigger the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder hyperactivity.

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Given this, it is very important to learn ways to deal with large crowds when you have PTSD. Here are some basic coping strategies that can help you overcome a stressful situation that involves a large crowd.

  1. Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a very simple way to deal with stress and anxiety. Learning how to practice deep breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, can help reduce anxious arousal and achieve relaxation. This can be an especially valuable adapting technique when you end up in a circumstance that you can only with significant effort escape, for example, being caught in a huge group.

  1. Learn Mindfulness

When you are in a large crowd, a person with PTSD can constantly feel that he is in danger. These feelings can trigger unpleasant and distressing thoughts centered on all the negative things that could happen. Buying these thoughts will further increase anxiety and fear.

Learning to take a step back from your thoughts can reduce your power to influence your emotions and behavior. Practicing conscious awareness of your thoughts is a good and simple way to distance yourself from these distressing thoughts, allowing you to stay in touch with the present moment.

You can also use mindfulness to be more aware of your outside environment. When people find themselves in threatening situations, their attention tends to be locked in frightening objects in their surroundings. Once your attention is locked on these objects, it is very difficult to disconnect from them. Mindfulness of your surroundings can help your attention become more flexible and, as a result, you can direct your attention more easily to less frightening things, such as open areas, friendly faces or comforting images.

  1. Use Social Support

If you know that large crowds have the potential to cause you fear and anxiety, be sure to bring some social support, which is an excellent way to deal with stress of all kinds.

Before leaving, talk with your companions about the types of situations that can trigger your PTSD symptoms. Also, inform them about the types of symptoms that should take care of you.

In this way, they can help you capture anxiety and fear from the beginning, allowing them to take steps to help you cope with that anxiety and fear as soon as it occurs.

  1. Follow a Schedule

Security companies LondonSet a schedule for you,if you know that you are going to go to a crowded place, commit to staying alone in that place for a certain period of time. The longer you have to deal with stress, the harder it will be, thus increasing the likelihood that your PTSD symptoms will be triggered.

  1. Learn to Deal with Triggers

It is possible that being in a large crowd can unexpectedly trigger your PTSD symptoms. Not all triggers can be prevented, and those that tend to affect us the most are those that take us by surprise.

Therefore, it is very important to learn to identify and deal with triggers, such as through grounding techniques. The ground connection is similar to mindfulness, since it uses the five senses to connect with the present moment. This way, you can be better prepared when activated unexpectedly.

  1. Work on Avoidance Behavior

Dealing with large crowds is part of life. They are inevitable. But it is important to ensure that the fears of large crowds do not contribute to extreme avoidance behavior, such as never leaving your home. Breaking avoidance behavior is not an easy thing to do, and in fact, it can be a very anxious experience. But as you break your evasion, your anxiety will also be reduced.

If you are afraid of large crowds, try some of the above coping strategies, but start slowly. Start by practicing some of the skills, such as deep breathing or mindfulness, in a place where you feel comfortable. The more practical you have when using these skills, the easier it will be to put them to use during stressful situations. You can even try first to imagine what it would be like to be in a large crowd.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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