Living through a traumatic event is only the beginning; in the aftermath, PTSD can make you feel like you're trapped in your worst moment. Depression and anxietyoften go hand-in-hand with trauma, but relief is not an impossibility. Learn how massage therapy can help you cope with emotional trauma.
The Impact of PTSD on the Body
It's far from uncommon for patients diagnosed with PTSD to receive a co-diagnosis of depression; the conditions are often related and can have a dramatic impact on your daily life. Approximately half of all patients with a diagnosis of PTSD will also be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, with researchers still working to learn more about the relationship between these two debilitating conditions.
Trauma can affect the brain in ways that are still not fully understood. What is understood, however, is that both of these conditions can have dramatic effects on a person's quality of life when taken separately. Together, those deleterious effects can be amplified. For patients living with PTSD and depression, relief can often feel like an unattainable goal.
After surviving a horrifying trauma, battling the very real illness of depression in conjunction with working through the trauma you've experienced may feel like a constant uphill battle. What many patients don't realize, is just how much of an impact seemingly small self-care measures can have on their overall quality of life.
Self-Care as Treatment for PTSD
While it may be a phrase on everyone's lips, "self-care" isn't just about treating yourself to an extra dessert or checking out of work early. Self-care is an absolutely vital part of healing, particularly for people living with the trauma and distress of managing two separate conditions at the same time.
Massage therapy may seem like a pampering but ultimately pointless exercise at first blush, but there's real science supporting the impact it can have on patients with PTSD and depression. Massage works in a variety of ways to aid in the treatment of these conditions, from easing the aches and pains that are part and parcel of clinical depression to reducing the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone which can wreak havoc with your body.
During a massage, your body enters a state of relaxation, with serotonin and dopamine levels increasing to actually combat the sensations of anxiety and depression. Because the body is able to relax, circulation is improved, and sleep patterns can begin to regulate themselves. In the end, patients are often left feeling at least some improvement that does not rely on prescription medication or other such interventions.
If you're suffering from PTSD, working closely with medical professionals is vital. Working with a licensed massage therapist may be just as valuable, especially when the aches and pains of depression make everyday activities and sleeping difficult. In fact, your healthcare provider may even provide a referral for a massage therapist, because the treatment is low-risk, non-invasive and proven to provide multiple benefits.