Bed bug infestation is depraving and causes psychological sequelae for some people. Experiencing nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, insomnia, and anxiety about bed bug bites indicates PSTD. Developing psychological sequelae affects your performance at work and does affect how you react to various socioeconomic factors. Developing post-traumatic stress disorder is not a life sentence. You can still manage it and lead a purposeful life. This post walks you through the causes of bed bug-induced PTSD and how to best handle the induced PTSD.
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What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatizing situation. PTSD symptoms include having the event flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety to having uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatizing experience. Many experience traumatic events throughout their lives and struggle to control their minds. But, over time and with reasonable care, the PTSD symptoms fade.
For many persons, PTSD symptoms may kick in within a month after the traumatic event. But, it may take months for the same symptoms to unveil for others. The onset of these symptoms affects your daily life and relationships with people. It can lead to severe problems in social or work situations.
PTSD symptoms include intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes, and physical and emotional reactions.
Intrusive memories symptoms include experiencing the following activities:
- Having a constant and recurring memory of the bed bugs attacks
- Reliving the bed bug attack moment as if happening again.
- Experiencing frightening dreams of the bed bugs infestation.
- Developing emotional and physical distresses when reminded of the traumatizing bedbug attack.
- Experiencing fast breathing when reminded or exposed to bed bug attacks.
Avoidance when dealing with bed bug infestations manifests itself in the following ways:
- Trying to avoid remembering bedbug biting and other traumatizing experiences.
- Avoiding visiting places, activities, and people that remind you of the hurting event.
- Dissociating from talking and thinking about the traumatizing event.
Some people may experience negative changes in mood and thinking. Its symptoms are as follows:
- Having difficulties experiencing positive moments and emotions.
- Feeling emotional down
- Facing challenges in maintaining relationships with people within your social circle
- Experiencing memory problems, especially on the traumatizing event.
- Losing hope about the future and life.
Physical and emotional reactions
People having PTSD experience physical and emotional reactions that manifest themselves through the following actions:
- Engaging in self-destruction behavior such as doing drugs, speeding, and disregarding safety.
- Having challenges falling asleep
- Finding it difficult to concentrate on issues and tasks at hand.
- Getting easily frightened
Relationship between bed bugs and PTSD
PTSD is a severe mental issue that affects anyone and is caused by exposure to life-threatening death or serious injury. People dealing with bed bug infestations can develop similar PSTD symptoms. Dealing with bed bug infestation can be challenging and shocking. For some people, it does not fit their understanding and sense of how life should be.
People with PTSD view bed bug infestations as random events that do not have a clear cause. As such, they do not align with their expectation and view of what the world should be. This makes it challenging for them to understand bed bug implications. Traumatizing experiences such as bed bug attacks remind people that bad things can happen to them or their loved ones. Thinking this way makes one feel unsafe and threatened by some events, including bed bug attacks.
People have reported severe anxiety, traumatic flashbacks, and nightmares following bed bug attacks. According to a recent psychological study, the symptoms faced by people attacked by bedbugs’ are similar to those experienced by people with PTSD. The study indicated that 81% of people facing bed bug attacks experienced identical symptoms to PTSD.
Causes of bed bug-induced PTSD
Bed bug PTSD is generally caused by a lack of peace of mind. The thought of having creepy bed bugs attacking you denies you peace of mind. This limits your ability to concentrate on other issues.
How to know you have bed bug PTSD
The signs of bed bug-induced PTSD are like regular PTSD. Here are some of the best-known symptoms of bed bug PTSD:
Having Intrusive Thoughts
If you are going on with your daily routine and confronted by unpleasant, distressing memories of bed bug attacks, then you have bed bug-induced PTSD. This may happen more frequently, depending on the nature of the event.
Experiencing frightening Nightmares
According to Research from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 71% of persons with PTSD experience nightmares. If you have bedbug attacks, nightmares, and disturbing dreams, you might have bedbug-induced PTSD.
Practicing Bed bug avoidance
People with PTSD avoid scenarios, activities, and events that might remind them of their traumatizing incident. If you avoid talking about bed bugs, are cautious about bedbug presence, and circumvent meeting bed bugs, then you have PTSD.
Experiencing negative thoughts and Self-Isolation
Self-isolation is one of the undisputable indicators of PTSD, as people tend to isolate themselves. When terrible things happen, victims tend to distance themselves from friends and family as they see the world differently. However, isolating oneself is detrimental to your healing process since it leads to negative thinking.
Increased irritability and anger
PTSD onset kicks in a hyper-arousal state, making one easily irritable and angry. At the slightest urge of usual day-to-day activities, a person develops a habit of getting angered easily.
Having bed bug-induced insomnia
If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping due to relentless thoughts of bed bug attacks, you might have bed bug-induced PTSD. The quality of sleep is hampered by hyper-vigilance, which controls your mind.
Dealing with bed bug-induced PTSD
Getting over bed bug-induced trauma is complex, but specific coping strategies can ease and speed up your healing. Here are some tips to help you deal with bed bug-induced PTSD:
Practice healthy meditation and yoga
Practicing healthy meditation and yoga is the best approach to treating bed bug-induced PTSD since it works with the mind and the body. It also creates a sense of community where one can draw support and seek help if necessary.
Yoga is a powerful tool that teaches you to let go of things beyond your control and live a decent stress-free life.
Deploy bed bug monitoring tools and regular bed bug inspection
If you have bed bug-induced PTSD, it would be helpful to deploy a bed bug monitoring tool and perform regular checks. This would create a sense of safety (bed bug-free environment) and might help you relax at home.
Aromatherapy is one of the oldest techniques used to control PTSD. You can use essential oils extracts from plants to treat the body and the mind. You must use high-quality pure oils to attain the best results. However, read and understand oils instructions to avoid damage.
Seek professional counseling
If you are experiencing severe symptoms of PTSD, it’s time to seek medical advice from a professional counselor. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the most suitable long-term and short-term treatment.
Join a bed bug support group
Deciding to join a bed bug support group is an unsurpassed decision in healing your bed bug PTSD. The support group will enhance your well-being, build your self-esteem, and improve your social skills.
Take control of your emotions.
Controlling intense emotions in PTSD is a crucial step in your healing journey. People with PTSD often experience negative emotions, and managing them is essential. You can use distraction techniques to sway your mind away from negative emotions.
You can also use self-care and self-soothing strategies to help control your emotions.
Experiencing psychological sequelae can be daunting and excruciating. You can develop PTSD due to bed bug attacks that manifest through nightmares, flashbacks, and hyper-vigilance insomnia. A lack of peace of mind causes bed bug-induced PTSD due to constant through of bed bug attacks and bites. Having PTSD harms your health and physical well-being as it diminishes your mental awareness. While there are several ways to treat bed bug-induced PTSD, prevention is better than cure. The following prevention activities can help you to prevent bed bugs in your home:
- Installing effective bed bug monitoring tools in your home
- Regular vacuuming to rid of bed bugs in all stages of their lives
- Using bed bug repellent essential oils to keep bed bugs away
- Regularly washing your clothes and other washable items with a washing machine and dryer to eliminate bed bugs
How do bed bugs affect you mentally?
Yes, bed bugs can lead to adverse emotional and psychological effects.
How do you mentally recover from bed bugs?
There are a series of activities you can engage in to recover mentally from bed bug attacks. You can practice healthy meditation and yoga, deploy bed bug monitoring tools, regular bed bug inspection, practice aromatherapy, seek professional counseling, or join a bed bug support group.
Does bed bug-induced PTSD heal?
You can heal from bed bug-induced PTSD with suitable medication and healthy practices.
What are PTSD triggers post bed bugs?
Bedbug PTSD triggers are sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that might remind you of a bed bug attack.