Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects many people's lives, but it can be successfully treated to make life worth living again.
This page covers:
- What is PTSD?
- What happens to the brain to cause PTSD? (with examples)
- What else happens when PTSD strikes?
- Some common symptoms of PTSD
- Understanding the impact of PTSD on family relationships
- How can our treatments and techniques help?
- Some of our methods
- Why do people continue to suffer?
- Our aim is to get people back on track
PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a life-threatening event. Its causes are many - a serious accident, military combat, being in a war zone, being affected by earthquakes or other natural disasters, terrorist incidents, birth trauma, and even being a victim of crime including physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Similarly, it can also affect 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 later and undesirable changes in behaviour occur.
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 which is 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 emotions 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 right 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. The result is often severe anxiety.
Similarly, a woman who has experienced birth trauma such as prolonged labour, a difficult birth or an unplanned caesarian, can often re-live those unpleasant emotions whenever she holds her new baby, or even when in the company of other new mothers. This can cause her to withdraw from contact with others in order to avoid the problem.
Even a car accident can cause PTSD - simply getting into a car brings back flashbacks of what happened, which can affect the driver's confidence. Again, severe anxiety then surrounds driving, which compounds the issue and makes driving an unpleasant activity.
Many things happen to the body when we experience or relive trauma. Our body goes into "flight or fight" mode, which results in a number of almost instant changes:
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.
The reason these things happen is to make the body ready to immediately run from the perceived or imagined danger - all the body's resources are diverted from their normal daily functions, towards escaping as fast as possible. Unlike prehistoric days when the "fight or flight" mechanism was useful in escaping from hungry tigers, they are far less appropriate nowadays, but those primeval responses are still built-in to our subconscious.
- 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
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.
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.
HYPNOTHERAPY – 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.
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.
HCBT (Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy) – Thought Change Processing - Changes negative thoughts into positive ones.
... and many more effective techniques.
Because in many cases they are not getting the professional expert help and treatment that they need, expect, and deserve, to treat their PTSD.
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.
For more information call us on 07958 689377