POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)?

Trauma, as a medical term, refers to any injury or wound violently inflicted on the body. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that often follows a terrifying physical, life threatening, or perceived as life-threatening, event. It causes the person who survived it to have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories, or flashbacks, of the ordeal. Persons with PTSD often feel chronically, emotionally numb. Once referred to as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue”. About 25 per cent of people involved in major traumatising events go on to develop long-term PTSD symptoms. This percentage rises if life-threatening incidents are almost constantly repeated, as in front line fighting during sustained battles in war

WHAT KIND OF EVENT CAN CAUSE IT?

Violent attacks on the person. Rape. Sustained verbally aggressive attacks. Sudden illness events like a heart attack. Traffic accidents. Industrial injuries. Witnessing sudden violent death, as in train crashes, bombings and war-zone incidents. Panic attacks where the person thinks he is dying. In fact, any event that triggers a strong fear (phobic) response can lead to PTSD. Children have even developed PTSD symptoms from watching horror films on TV.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE TRAUMATIC MEMORIES

Traumatic memories may cause any or all of the following problems: panic attacks, intrusive memories, nightmares, sudden irrational anger outbursts, depression and other unpleasant emotional states, even intense flashbacks where you actually hallucinate going through the terrible event again as if it were in the present. One sufferer who was traumatised by experiences in the Falklands War (who also experienced flashbacks) described it as “a constant, silent churning” in the back of his mind.

WHY ARE PTSD MEMORIES DIFFERENT FROM OTHER ?

In people suffering PTSD symptoms, the pattern of the memory is stored in a part of the brain called the Amygdala, which is responsible for ensuring our survival by triggering the ‘flight or flight’ response when something dangerous occurs. When something in the environment or in the sufferer’s thinking matches the memory in the Amygdala, it sets off the alarm bells just as if the original incident were happening again. At the same time, other memories may be recalled very powerfully, bringing back the sights, smells, sounds and emotions from the original incident. The Amygdala has no sense of time, and does not know that the incident is in the past.

IS THIS A MAJOR PROBLEM ?

Trauma is a problem for most GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists, all over the world. The continuing blizzard of news stories about the difficulty of living with PTSD shows how little effect the currently popular treatments have.

The amygdala has to learn that it is possible to visualise the incident without panicking, and the most reliable and least invasive way to do this is through the psychological method known as the ‘rewind technique’. This technique is a refinement of one taught on NLP courses for many years. This is a guided imagery technique, which allows the brain to revisit the traumatic events in a dissociated way while being physically extremely calm, so that the amygdala can reinterpret the memory patterns as non-threatening. What I learnt from my training with Human Givens that this version of the technique was refined, as a result of finding out why it worked. when properly delivered, it reliably relieves the nightmares, panic attacks, flashbacks and intrusive memories.

Extensive clinical experience shows it to be a more cost effective and successful treatment than the treatments recommended by NICE guidelines, namely EMDR and CBT that take many sessions and are often only partially successful.

Treatment is safe (unlike critical incident debriefing for example, which research shows may increase rates of PTSD).

Treatment is non-voyeuristic (It is suitable for victims of sexual assault, beating or any kind of humiliation, as the victim do not have to tell the therapist details what happened.)

Please contact Secure Mind Solutions on 07444 928 382 if you require this service.