2015 Washington National PTSD Awareness Day: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It is normal to feel fear, guilt, distress, shame, anger or helplessness after going through a traumatic experience. It will typically go away after several days or weeks. But if it still occurs after a month, then, it is most likely that you are experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The 2015 Washington National PTSD Awareness Day commemorates this happening.

Tips For Managing PTSD In The Family

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a big problem for many. It becomes a hindrance to your everyday activities. It affects your personal development and in some cases your relationships. In the family, you may have had a father who was a soldier in the past or a brother who may have suffered a traumatic car accident. It pains to see your loved one have PTSD, but it is manageable. Here are five ways to help you hold PTSD in the family.…

I Suffered From PTSD After Giving Birth To My Son

Getting pregnant after a year of marriage makes me and my husband very excited.  I was very confident that I was ready to be a mom.  We frequented my OB’s office to check how the baby is doing.  Months passed by quickly.   The day we’ve been excitedly waiting for finally came.

 

The Supposed To Be A Happy Day Turned Out To Be A Traumatic Day

Very vividly, I still can remember how the doctors suddenly became tensed and worried while we were in the delivery room.  My OB came to me and whispered that my baby’s condition is quite not beautiful.  My baby was born unconscious with his cord wrapped around his neck.  They urgently moved him to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and stayed there even after I was released from the hospital.

We had to go back every day to check on him.  For days, my spirit was crushed seeing his condition.  This was not how I imagined things would be.  I can’t even hold him yet in my arms.  The closest we can get is to embrace the incubator he was in.  It pains me seeing him in there, wondering if he will still make it, but I have to endure.

 

His image in there is still very clear in my memory.  His tiny body with tubes and wires attached.  I could see him even in my sleep, and it left me crying in the middle of the night.

 

I Developed Trust Issues

I was the happiest when he was released from the hospital after a month of fighting for his life.  It may look overacting, but I have to protect my son.  I was very detailed in everything, very particular and hands-on when it comes to his care.  I won’t even let just anyone near him.  My nightmares and fear of losing him turned me into this paranoid mom, afraid that I might lose him one day.

“With PTSD, it’s not only that the person is remembering that painful event, but the body also responds as if it’s happening again.” This is a statement made by Debi Silber, a transformational psychologist.  “So while cognitively they know it’s not, at a subconscious level, they’re re-experiencing it, and as the stress response is ignited, stress hormones are released and the cascade of physical, mental and emotional symptoms emerge,” she adds.

It Turned Out I Have A Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

I never thought that there is such a thing as trauma after giving birth.  My son’s pediatrician noticed how overprotective and paranoid I was when it comes to my son, that she talked to me about it.

Many new moms suffer from birth trauma due to various reasons, some of which could be

  • Extended time and painful delivery
  • Having to undergo emergent cesarean section
  • Use of forceps delivery or vacuum extraction
  • Having a baby with a disability
  • Baby being sent to NICU

 

What I went through could be enough reason to consider PTSD, but of course, I need to see a doctor to confirm.  My feelings (paranoia) that my son’s life is always under threat is a typical symptom.   The frequent nightmares and the self-blame that I might have done something during pregnancy are also determinants for the presence of PTSD.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental disorder that can occur when a person has directly experienced — or even just witnessed — an extremely traumatic, tragic, or terrifying event. People with PTSD usually have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to.” This is a clear definition of PTSD from John Grohol, Psy.D. 

How Was I Able To Recover?

I talked to my husband about what the pedia told me.   The next day, we visited a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist said to me things that made me contemplate my actions.  She was right when she told me that my relationship with my husband and other people around me would be affected by my PTSD.  And very true, sometimes, I find it hard to trust my husband when our son is left alone with him.  I know he felt upset by it sometimes, but he is being considerate of my feelings.

Colleen Cira, Psy.D. states that PTSD originates from a type of traumatic event. “It can include things like war, car accidents, rape, physical assault, or even verbal and emotional abuse. Basically, any kind of scary or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to cope falls into the PTSD category.”

 

 

I want to recover from the PTSD that I followed her advice to undergo counseling.  She had me meet with my OB and allowed me to ask the OB questions that are bothering me regarding my son’s condition.    The OB explained once again and precisely what happened, and assured me that my son would grow up a healthy boy, so there’s nothing I have to worry about.

 

Slowly, I recovered from the PTSD, although I’m not sure yet if I’m ready for another baby.  I am trying my best to be honest with my therapist, and she’s telling me it’s okay.  I just have to take it a day at a time.

 …

Managing A Family Member With PTSD

There is nothing more efficient than the love, acceptance, and understanding of family members.

Post-traumatic stress disorder does not only affect the person experiencing it but can also take a toll on the people around him/her.  Research suggested that children who have parents that have PTSD may experience the following:…

Types of Counseling Available For PTSD Patients

Source: thelindencentre.org

Many suffering from PTSD never understand their condition due to lack of awareness or may even sometimes not be able to deal with the symptoms without the help of a medical professional. Post-traumatic stress is extremely frightening for someone who goes through this. It not only leads to panic attacks or scary flashbacks but can even make a person incapable of performing his or her day to day tasks. It disrupts life and isolates one from his or her loved ones.

“Indeed, says psychologist Candice Monson, “epidemiological evidence fingers PTSD as one of the mental health conditions most likely to lead to relationship problems: Common examples include PSTD sufferers not wanting to attend family or social events for fear they’ll be “cornered” by an unforeseen person or circumstance; not sleeping in the same beds as their spouses because of nightmares, inciting relationship conflict due to excess anger and irritability, and overcontrolling their children’s behavior.”

Hence seeking help and support from professionals as well as family and friends becomes an important part of the treatment of PTSD.…

The Emotional Damage From The Aftermath Of A Natural Disaster

 

Traumatic events are not uncommon. In fact, about two-thirds of the general population suffers from trauma once or twice a year. Many countries, not only the United States, have had the experience of witnessing terrorism attacks and shootings, domestic and sexual abuse and forced transfers. Other countries may even have a higher incidence of these traumatic events than the United States has.

Lately, however, Americans have been overwhelmed by the hurricanes that have been damaging their homes and destroying their lives. Most of the Texas and New Orleans residents have struggled to keep themselves together just to get through their challenges daily. Some of them were even advised to go into therapy, but of course, they would ask, “How much would therapy cost?” Some who were more knowledgeable of the web perhaps came across BetterHelp.com where they can chat or talk to an online therapist about mental health problems.

“Too often”, says Jodi Spencer, LPC, “clients believe that their trauma doesn’t “rank” high enough on the imaginary scale of pain. But that’s just not the way it works. We have little control over how our brains interpret what is going on around us. Our brain’s ability to cope with significant and disturbing events depends largely on the family of origin, exposures to previous traumas, mental disorder or illness, and how the trauma is dealt with.”

Natural Disasters Can Cause PTSD

 

 

The devastation that the past hurricanes have caused the American people has undoubtedly resulted in mental and emotional harm in the aftermath. Though there are ways that help us detect their coming, we have never been too expectant and ready for them, and their wrath has always left us with feelings of shock and fear. People are left with almost nothing but themselves – if the whole family survives, that is. They’ve lost their homes, their cars, and their jobs.

Most of these victims are also suffering from mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder, a condition where individuals develop fears after witnessing traumatic events such as natural disasters. They often have nightmares and flashbacks that impede their daily activities at times. They have difficulty sleeping for fear that when they wake up, the horror of the past experience will haunt them again.

Rosaura Orengo-Aguayo, a clinical psychologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, did a study with other experts on the effect that Hurrican Maria had on the young and old alike. She reported that the devastation caused by the disaster resulted in about 20% of the youth manifesting symptoms of PTSD. “Although the level of PTSD symptoms reported in the study is lower than what was expected, some studies show up to a third of children will develop chronic symptoms after surviving a natural disaster.”

 

Hurricane Katrina

 

 

Cassie, 45, a survivor of the wrath of Katrina, recalled being literally alone, and she says the water was up to her chin. Her kids had gone out when the hurricane came, and she couldn’t move, didn’t know what to do.

“I saw people dropping dead, people getting beat up. I saw it all. I saw it all. Now, I don’t want to be left alone in the house. Wherever my daughter goes, I go.”

The fear of being left by yourself is one of the most common manifestations of PTSD. Researchers say that better support and management for these survivors can help prevent the incidence of people suffering from too much emotional damage.

Dr. Christina Biedermann, PsyD, describes PTSD as the body’s physical and emotional reaction to severe stress. “Stress is triggered by a life-threatening event, either a single incident, such as a car accident, or chronic trauma, such as military combat, abuse or chaotic relationships.”

Hurricane Sandy

Ken Turner couldn’t move when he saw water rushing into his home. He saw water everywhere – in his neighbor’s home and in everyone’s homes. It shocked him, leaving him psychologically challenged and speechless in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder got me,” he often says. “I’m suffering from it. I see a psychiatrist every month for it. I had to get help.”

PTSD from Natural Disasters – It Is Real

The effects of natural disasters in the mental and emotional state of survivors may not be very visible the way the hurricane has visibly destroyed homes and livelihoods and lives, but it is truly real. People suffer too much and they feel too much sadness and fear that most of them are still carrying that fear with them despite the fact that they have survived and lived again.

Like Turner, many more survivors have PTSD and are living with it, and probably will for the rest of their lives. They are regularly being treated with therapy and medications. But healing is possible through time. They just need all the support they can get from others, and of course from themselves too.

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War Veterans: Depression, PTSD And Suicide

 

Based on statistics, at least one US military veteran kills himself every 72 minutes. In fact, the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that in the year 2014, approximately 20 veterans committed suicide each day. These are the latest statistics available on the matter. PTSD and depression are some of the possible causes of this high suicide number, which is why companies like BetterHelp.com have put a lot of resources into educating people about the importance and seriousness of depression.

According to April Lyons, LPC, “Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic experience can be difficult to handle. This is true, whether you are dealing with a big trauma or complex trauma. A big trauma is a single traumatic event such as war, a natural disaster, a crash, death of a loved one, rape, etc. Complex trauma is an accumulation of trauma within the context of family and other intimate relationships that happen repetitively over time.”

David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, told The Hill (a political website in the US) that this is an unacceptable number. He said that in order to cater to the problem, they are evaluating the factors and are looking into more researches and new treatments and therapies.

 

Defense Suicide Prevention Office shows the suicide report for the first quarter of 2017.

 

  • 31 National Guard Suicides
  • 20 Reserves Suicides
  • 71 Active Duty Suicides

Providing Care For PTSD

Source: anxiety.org

Sexual and physical abuse, violence or any stressful and frightening experiences are just some of the most common causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are experiences you wouldn’t even wish on your worst enemy. And because these are so traumatizing it leaves a huge scar into people’s lives affecting their lives, haunting them like a very bad nightmare. If you are someone who is caring for someone who is suffering from PTSD, here are some helpful guidelines to remember when caring and supporting them.

Why Talk Therapy Is So Helpful in Treating PTSD

Source: military.com

What happens in PTSD?

PTSD refers to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition faced by someone who has experienced a traumatic event, both happening to him or someone else, and display the symptoms of PTSD for at least a month. The following symptoms are most commonly found in those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; they can be broadly categorized under four headings:

  • Re-experiencing Symptoms

These involve the flashbacks or nightmares a person may have after the specific event. It may make the PTSD person lose track of reality for some time. He or she might feel as if everything is happening all over again. Sometimes events may be recreated differently through intrusive thoughts by the concerned person.

Colleen Cira, PsyD, describes PTSD as something that originates from some kind of traumatic situation. “It can include things like war, car accidents, rape, physical assault, or even verbal and emotional abuse. Basically, any kind of scary or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to cope falls into the PTSD category.”

  • Avoidance Symptoms

Someone who is suffering from PTSD would avoid any sort of trigger points such as the specific location where the event happened or a place linked to it, similar situations, sounds, and sometimes even people as well. They may try to isolate themselves from others as feelings of distrust, anxiety, depression, guilt or even revenge take charge of their emotions.

  • Hyper-arousal Symptoms

PTSD patients may usually become angry and irritable. They may also get increasingly concerned about their safety, feeling hyper-vigilant in even normal scenarios. This behavior can sometimes even progress to recklessness and self-harm if suitable help is not acquired.

Although the event had left an important mark on their lives, these people often find it hard to remember important details of it. Their memory regarding the event surrounds more around the feelings of fear rather than the actual details. They might even not have the same interest level in things they used to find enjoyable before and their habits will dramatically change post-trauma.

“PTSD can be exhausting and terrifying. Many times people become frightened of themselves and fear that they cannot trust themselves or trust their own experience.” This is what Sarah McIntyre, LPC, says about people suffering from the disorder.

How can talk therapy help?

Source: americanmentalwellness.org

With several treatment options ranging from medical help to even yoga, talk therapy is also an effective way to help PTSD patients; and currently, BetterHelp offers this type of support online via their website: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/. Talk therapy is basically a form of psychotherapy which caters to those with cognitive disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is also a form of talk therapy. It focuses primarily on changing the thinking patterns of such people by replacing negative thoughts causing dysfunctional behavior with positive ones. In addition to CBT, PTSD patients can also undergo exposure therapy, also a type of talk therapy, which allows patients to face their fears in a secure way.

Why should you give it a try?

Source: hs.iastate.edu

  • It has long-lasting positive effects

When you are taking part in talk therapy, you are not only curing a mental health issue but are essentially building tools that will help you deal with similar problems in the future. It allows you to develop a reflective lens for everything to experience in life. You learn to think, express feelings about and learn from these events; moreover, you will have more control over your emotions if any similar traumatic situation occurs in the future.

According to Jeney Caddell, PsyD, “Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is a popular form of treatment for this disorder. Evidence from one study demonstrates that talk therapy may actually produce biological changes in patients with PTSD.”

  • It provides you with a new perspective about others

Instead of having feelings of anger and distrust for others, you will be better able to understand not only yourself but others, too after talk therapy. We generally tend to view the world and others in it through a single lens that is primarily based on the traumatic experience that we had. By talking about it and resolving internal conflicts, we would be able to get rid of the unnecessary assumptions about others, too.

  • It makes you feel less alone

After facing all the flashbacks and nightmares all alone, you can now feel less alone and more relieved by talking to a therapist. It will provide you the comfort of knowing that someone is there to help you. You can even join support groups and meet new people who support and honor your struggle with PTSD.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/06/03/11-intriguing-reasons-to-give-talk-therapy-a-try/#71c8e2a44ebb

This is how it has been proven that talk therapy tends to help PTSD patients a great deal.…