4 Ways to Treat PTSD

Whether you’ve had PTSD for a long time, or you’ve just been diagnosed recently, you might be wondering how you can get back to your normal self and begin to enjoy life once again. There are many different approached you can take, but the best thing to do if to find what works the best for you. Here are 4 ways to treat PTSD:

 

Medications –

Medications are the most popular, and probably the best option for those with severe and debilitating PTSD. There are no medications specifically for treating PTSD itself, but many can help alleviate the symptoms. SSRIs are great for reducing depression and anxiety that comes along with having PTSD, and SNRIs are another option for reducing depression. Always talk with your doctor before starting or stopping any medications.

 

Psychotherapy –

There are a few different kinds of psychotherapy available, and these kinds of treatments usually go hand in hand with being treated medicinally as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Cognitive processing therapy is very similar, but has more to do with processing and analyzing the traumatic event. EMDR is another form of psychotherapy, and it uses your eye movements to help you process the traumatic event.

 

Alternative Treatments –

Alternative treatments include things such as trauma-sensitive yoga and acupuncture to help relieve the stress and anxiety that come along with PTSD. This kind of treatment tends to be more natural, less invasive and comes with fewer side effects.

 

Innovative Treatments –

These kinds of treatments are going to be much more creative. Types of innovative treatment include Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy to help desensitize the person from their fears and help them overcome their traumatic experience. Other innovative treatments involve using drugs such as ketamine infusions or MDMA to help lessen PTSD symptoms and calm the person down enough to be able to face their trauma more effectively.

 

As you can see, there are lots of different options for treatment out there. The internet can help you decide what you think will work the best for your journey to recovery, but always discuss your options with your doctor first.

Your PTSD Might Be More “Complex” Than You Thought…

Do you feel like you might be suffering from PTSD, but the events that have caused it still aren’t over? Are you still having to face the issue that is making your mental health decline? If so, you might have what is called Complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is what happens when a person can get no escape from whatever is causing their trauma. If you think this is you, then read more below to find out if you fit the symptoms.

 

Feeling Alone

Those that suffer from C-PTSD can have a really hard time trusting other people, and not being able to trust means not letting anyone in, and never actually being able to connect with others. This can also be fed by the victim feeling outcast for their differences. They can feel broken and useless, making them shy away from others and leading to aloneness.

 

Having Emotional Flashbacks

There are different kinds of flashbacks that people with PTSD can suffer from. One of them is emotional flashbacks, and this is where emotions from the past are triggered by something more minor. You might find yourself getting intensely emotional and overwhelmed for irrational reasons, and you can blame this on emotional flashbacks. This kind is the least understood of all flashbacks but is pretty common among those with C-PTSD.

 

Being hypervigilant

Hypervigilance is when you are extra aware of things and people. Many tend to scan a room upon entering it or sit with their backs against a wall. For those with C-PTSD, they can be hypervigilant about people. You might find yourself watching people for signs of lying or hurting you, such as watching their body language and movements, and their tone of voice.

 

Feeling Hopeless, Ashamed, and Depressed

When things seem like they’re never going to get better, it can bring on lots of feelings of hopelessness. Many even lose faith in their religious and spiritual beliefs. For physical and sexual abuse victims, they can be made to feel ashamed of who they are. They might feel dirty, disgusting, and worthless for how they’ve been treated. These kinds of thoughts can lead to depression and even suicidal tendencies if they continue.

 

Trying to Lean on Someone Else

When so much keeps going wrong, those with C-PTSD try to find relief by searching out someone to lean on. This desperations usually results in being in another toxic relationship that will cause even more trauma in the long run. For those that dealt with childhood trauma, they can have a hurt inner child, and this could mean seeking out a parent figure to take care of them.

 

Dissociating

When we are faced with never-ending trauma, sometimes the only way to be able to escape and cope with it all is to completely dissociate. A certain level of this is normal, and can even be healthy. But there comes a point when it can become very unhealthy and even turn into Dissociative Identity Disorder.

 

Staying Tense

Many people carry stress in their shoulders and necks, but for those dealing with C-PTSD, they carry it in their entire body. They can tense up and stay that way for long periods of time without even realizing it, waiting for the next attack to hit. This can cause unexplained muscle soreness.

 

There are a lot of symptoms that those with C-PTSD must face and deal with every day. Remember, there is hope for those that suffer, but it takes strength to get through. If you haven’t reached your happy ending, then it’s not the end yet.

Is PTSD Affecting Your Memory?

Do you often find it hard to remember simple, everyday things such as whether or not you brushed your teeth, or why you just walked into a different room? If so, it could be another symptom of your PTSD. Studies show that when you suffer from PTSD, the hippocampus – the region of your brain that is responsible for emotions and memory – is damaged, and can even shrink in volume up to 8%. So what can you do to help with the short term memory loss of day to day life? There are a few options.

 

Take Medication

Studies have shown that SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are good for more than just fighting depression. They can also improve memory skills. So if you’re taking an SSRI for PTSD, it will likely help decrease the short term memory loss that comes with it.

 

Reduce Environmental Stress

You can’t heal from a stress-related disorder if you never get a break from it. Remove yourself from the toxic environment, and it might help you to be able to think straight once again.

 

Practice Organization

If your thoughts are all over the place, write them down so you can make some sense of them. This way, you won’t have to rely on your memory so much, and you can trust what you have written down. Plus, studies show that the action of writing things down helps you to remember it.

 

Stay Away From Distractions

When you go to complete a task, try to do it with as little distractions as possible. If you’re going to get something from a room, be thinking about where it is so you’re prepared when you get there. If you’re cleaning or working, try turning off the electronics.

 

There are a variety of ways to help you with your short term memory loss. And as long as you stay positive through the whole process, things are bound to get better with time.

The New Jersey Fire Massacre – How Holiday Stress Can Easily Get Out Of Hand

The holidays can be a stressful time of the year – you have finances, gift-buying, traveling, and family relationships to worry about. There’s a lot going on, and it can be difficult to get through. But you don’t expect people to fly off the handle and go on a killing spree.

Unfortunately, that seemed to be the case for the Caneiro Family, in New Jersey. Paul and Keith Caneiro were close brothers. They kept a close relationship, worked together, and even lived close by to each other. Being only 11 miles apart they could rely on each other for anything. But just two days before Thanksgiving, Paul murdered Keith and his entire family, then set the whole house on fire to cover it up. If that weren’t bad enough, he then went and set his own house on fire with his family in it to try to show that someone else had targeted and was out to get the Caneiro family.

This tragic event will leave survivors and bystanders struggling with PTSD, and you might ask yourself why someone would do something like this. But when we step back and look at the bigger picture, it reveals a struggle that’s much deeper than what we can see. The Caneiro brothers worked together, which leads us to believe that the reason behind this horrendous crime could have been related to financial stress and blame towards Keith. It was also right before the holidays, adding even more stress to the situation. Paul was unable to express or control his emotions and struggles, and ultimately, it got the best of him.

While a massacre like this is rare, struggling with day to day life isn’t, and there can be consequences when we don’t face what’s in front of us. As the holidays get closer, know that you’re not the only one having problems. It’s a difficult time of the year, but you’re not alone in it. While most people don’t actually desire to kill their loved ones, they can still get frustrated or irritated, and acting on those feelings can always make matters worse. So before you say something you’re going to regret, take a deep breath, recognize what you’re struggling with, and try to openly communicate it.

If you do lash out and snap at a loved one, don’t try to make up excuses or pretend it didn’t happen. When Paul tried to cover up what he had done, he made things so much worse by catching fire to everything around him, hurting even more people in the process, and earning him life in prison. Don’t let this happen to you. If you do or say something you didn’t mean, apologize and make sure you don’t do it again.

While it may seem like there is no end in sight for stressful situations, how you deal with them can make a huge difference. Don’t let the stress get the best of you during this holiday season. Acknowledge what you think and feel, and practice open communication. It’ll make all the difference.

Do You Qualify for Disability?

Battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious matter.  PTSD is a medical condition that can affect every aspect of your life, making it difficult to function in a normal and productive way.  Sometimes the symptoms become severe enough that you struggle to get out of bed, take care of yourself, or hold a job. When your PTSD is this bad you may become eligible for Social Security disability.  

 

Social Security disability is designed as a safety net for those who, through no fault of their own, are not able to work due to some sort of medical condition.  While it may be easy to see someone with a physical condition and understand why they struggle to find work, there are many people who struggle to make ends meet while they fight against real and severe mental and emotional disorders.  But, while PTSD can cause a real need for disability benefits, it can often be difficult to prove.

 

If you feel you may need the help of Social Security disability, it is important that you file as soon as possible. You can find information on the Social Security Administration website (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/apply.html) as well as an online application. But before you file, you should make sure you have all of your documentation in order.  Make sure you have spoken to your therapist and can document your severe PTSD symptoms. For most people, PTSD will fall under the Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders section of the Social Security Administration guidelines.  In order to qualify for disability in this section you will need to document the following:

 

12.06 Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders (see 12.00B5), satisfied by A and B, or A and C:

Medical documentation of the requirements of paragraph 1, 2, or 3:
Anxiety disorder, characterized by three or more of the following;
Restlessness;
Easily fatigued;
Difficulty concentrating;
Irritability;
Muscle tension; or
Sleep disturbance.
Panic disorder or agoraphobia, characterized by one or both:
Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences; or
Disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations (for example, using public transportation, being in a crowd, being in a line, being outside of your home, being in open spaces).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, characterized by one or both:
Involuntary, time-consuming preoccupation with intrusive, unwanted thoughts; or
Repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety.
AND

Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (see 12.00F):
Understand, remember, or apply information (see 12.00E1).
Interact with others (see 12.00E2).
Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (see 12.00E3).
Adapt or manage oneself (see 12.00E4).
OR

Your mental disorder in this listing category is “serious and persistent;” that is, you have a medically documented history of the existence of the disorder over a period of at least 2 years, and there is evidence of both:
Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support(s), or a highly structured setting(s) that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of your mental disorder (see 12.00G2b); and
Marginal adjustment, that is, you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life (see 12.00G2c).

 

Once you have your documentation in order, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Disability is there for you as a way to live and survive with this debilitating disorder.