Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nightmares, Flashbacks, Anxiety, Rage… Is This You?

Every so often we have the priviledge to have a guest on the blog. Tonight is one of those special times. I would like to thank Michele Rosenthal for her efforts, research and expertise in this most important area of PTSD. And now, dear followers, here's Michele...

Are you haunted by memories? Do you have nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts about a traumatic experience? Have you tried to let go but can’t seem to escape anxiety and stress? Do constantly feel you are in danger? Have you shut down emotionally and feel numb? Do you feel detached from yourself, the people around you and the present moment? Do you have trouble connecting emotionally with friends, family, colleagues or lovers? Does it seem impossible to concentrate? Are you unable to surface from depression? Do you get angry and rage at the slightest provocation?

If you answered yes to the majority of these questions you might be struggling with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You’re not alone. What you may be experiencing is common among millions of people. Recent studies estimate that 70% of all adults in the United States may experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. Of those, up to one in five may develop PTSD. Estimates propose that at any given time 5% of the population may be struggling with PTSD – that’s over 15 million people. That number grows every day and doesn’t include the number of cases remaining undiagnosed.

The good news is, if you’ve recognized yourself you can be on the road to healing.
Medicine.net describes PTSD as,“…an emotional illness that develops as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience. PTSD sufferers re-experience the traumatic event or events in some way, tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event ... and are exquisitely sensitive to normal life experiences.”

PTSD surfaces throughout civilian and military history as an extreme emotional reaction to either being involved in or witnessing overwhelming circumstances. In addition to war, the causes of PTSD include natural disasters, domestic violence, rape, physical assault, child abuse, terrorism, random acts of violence and major catastrophic events such as plane crashes, car accidents and industrial calamities.

That’s a long list. We survive all kinds of calamities and can be left with the task of recovering from survival. Trauma changes us. We need to be able to adapt and carry on. It’s tough to do this when the past may have us in it’s tight grasp. We can use our conscious brain, to decide to be done with what happened, but it’s not always possible. Trauma can be hard wired into our sub-conscious mind which determines to protect us from harm. The fact that the danger no longer exists is immaterial, the subconscious continues to function as if it does. This may cause us to live in the shadow of fear and uncertainty, unable to move forward with our lives.

In addition to one on one talk therapy there are other treatments that may lessen the effect of trauma. Some examples, as recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, http://www.healthyminds.org/multimedia/ptsd.pdf , include: Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Family Therapy, and Peer Discussion Group Therapy.

If you believe you or someone you love may be suffering from PTSD you may wish to take the PTSD self test available on line through the Anxiety Disorder Association of America. http://www.adaa.org/GettingHelp/SelfHelpTests/selftest_PTSD.asp . For more information on PTSD contact the National Mental Health Association on line at http://www.nmha.org/.

Healing PTSD begins with our decision to conquer the past and create the future. Regardless of how we feel, the choice to heal is always ours. Commit today!!

Michele Rosenthal
parasitesof.themind@yahoo.com
http://parasitesofthemind.blogspot.com -
A blog about PTSD awareness, education, treatment & self-empowered healing.

1 comment:

  1. A valuable post and it much helpfull to all.Thanks a lot for your post.

    Thanks,
    Karim - Positive thinking

    ReplyDelete