Many Veterans and currently serving Military Service Personnel are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and are committing suicide.
Because in many cases they are not getting the professional expert help and treatment that they need, expect, and deserve, to treat their PTSD.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event such as serious accidents, military combat, being in a war zone, being affected by earthquakes or other natural disasters, terrorist incidents. Similarly, it can also affect those people who have trauma through physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood, or health professionals who experience trauma in their daily work.
People who have faced a traumatic experience, may simply feel emotionally numb to begin with. Alternatively, feelings of distress may not emerge straight away, but it is possible that emotional and physical reactions may develop and changes in behaviour occur.
What happens in our brain to cause PTSD?
When we sleep, we process the information that we experience. This occurs during REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. When we experience a trauma, we are bombarded with a massive amount of information, sometimes too much for us to process and quite often we have difficulty sleeping after a trauma. When we process information, we link the problem with the solution. We have two memory systems, one which is called Hypermnesia and a second one called Revivication.
Hypermnesia is when the information has been processed, so we can remember a traumatic situation but do not re-live the emotion. Revivication is when the information has not been processed, so when we remember a trauma, we re-live all the emotion that we experienced at the time.
Consequently, anything that triggers a reminder of the situation will bring back the emotion just as strongly as if we are re-experiencing the trauma now, thus causing PTSD. For instance, an example of this would be a soldier who had been traumatised by gunshots in the battlefield. Afterwards, the sound of a car backfiring or a firework going off could be a trigger that brings back the exact emotion that he experienced at the time.
What else happens?
Many other things happen to the body when we experience or relive trauma. Our body goes into flight or fight mode.
1. Firstly, our body produces adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol.
2. Our digestive system closes down.
3. Our immune system closes down.
4. The pre frontal cortex of our brain (the logic centre) is drained of blood and closes down leaving us to no longer think properly.
5. Our heart rate increases.
6. Our blood pressure increases.
7. Then all of our senses heighten.
Below are some common symptoms of PTSD
- Intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
- Re-living aspects of the trauma
- Vivid flashbacks
- Irritability and aggressive behaviour
- lack of concentration
- Extreme alertness
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Things startle you easily
- Feeling numb and empty
- Suicidal feelings
- Intrusive thoughts and images
- Problems in relationships
- Tense muscles
- Problems at work
- Distrustful and suspicious
- Mood swings and depression
- Feeling isolated
- Feeling disassociated
- Self-sabotage and self-destructive tendencies
- Seeking dangerous pursuits
- Easily moved to tears
- Avoiding people and places
- Anger and aggression
- Over reaction to situations
- Misuse of drugs/alcohol
Understanding the impact of PTSD on family relationships
PTSD can take a heavy toll on friends and family members, and relationship difficulties are common. Therefore it can be hard to understand your loved one’s behaviour. However, it’s important to remember that the person may not always be able to control his or her behaviour. Quite often people with PTSD withdraw from their family and friends. While boundaries need to be respected, too much isolation can be unhealthy. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand changes in behaviour, and trauma experts claim that receiving love from others is the most important factor in PTSD recovery.
How can our treatments and techniques help?
We use the very latest techniques and treatments to help clients to bring about the change in themselves that they desire. Above all, the treatments help them to put their foot on the first step towards change and give them coping skills that take them through to a full recovery.
Our PTSD treatments include:
PSYCHOTHERAPY – Treatment of mental health issues by psychological rather than medical means.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) A comprehensive psychotherapeutic approach that allows unprocessed information to be quickly processed, changing the memory system from Revivication to Hypermnesia, thereby removing the emotional aspect of the memory.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – Helps with emotional problems and issues, and also processes unprocessed information, therefore changing the memory system from Revivication to Hypermnesia.
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) – Helps to create a focus on what you do want – eliminating what you don’t want.
Hypnotherapy – Now Altered State Therapy (AST) – Promotes a positive attitude overwriting negative unwanted and outdated habits. In other words, this helps us to accept our emotions rather than fighting against them.
HCBT (Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy) – Thought Change Processing – Changes negative thoughts into positive ones.
PSYCH-K – Now Cognitive Reframing (CR) – a simple, yet powerful process to change subconscious beliefs that are self-limiting and self-sabotaging.
Ideomotor analysis – Allows us to talk directly with the subconscious mind to establish hidden causes of problems.
Mindfulness – This treatment is rapidly becoming one of the most widely applied “talk therapies”. Using mindfulness helps to maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
Breathing exercises – This treatment activates para sympathetic nervous system and has a calming effect.
Butterfly Hug – This brings back blood to the pre frontal cortex and thereby returns logic once again.
Parts therapy – Establishes the part that is restricting progress, therefore enabling treatment.
Thought stopping – Nipping intrusive unwanted thoughts in the bud before they escalate and close down the front cortex.
Re focusing techniques – Immediately re focus after stopping unwanted thoughts
Counselling – Helps us to communicate analyse and uncover irrational or faulty beliefs
Our aim is to get people back on track. Then we give them the coping skills and mechanisms to keep them there.
Above all, we are here to help and offer our support with treating PTSD. Get in touch.