30 Day Integrative Holistic PTSD Treatment
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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a set of symptoms that develops after a traumatic event. An occurrence is considered traumatic if it overwhelms your ability to cope with the stress it causes – in other words, our experience of trauma is highly subjective.
About half of all adults experience trauma in their lifetime. While for some people trauma goes away on its own with time, others may carry it with them for a lifetime until it’s intentionally and effectively treated. Any traumatizing event can cause PTSD, but it’s most commonly associated with military combat, violence, natural disasters and abuse. It’s estimated that around 6.8 percent of people in the US experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Rates of PTSD are higher among women than they are among men.
Someone is considered to have PTSD when their stress symptoms last for over a month following the event – though for some people, the onset of symptoms can come about as long as six months afterwards. Reminders of the incident, such as people, places and dates associated with it, can trigger flashbacks and flare-ups of other symptoms. As a result, many people do their best to avoid situations that might remind them of the incident – and depending on how severe their PTSD is, they may want to avoid everything entirely.
PTSD changes the way your body deals with stress. It increases your stress hormone levels and throws off your neurotransmitters, changing your neural pathways and networks – and as a result, how your brain functions. This is why people with PTSD can’t simply turn it off or get over it – its effects can be severe and feel completely out of your control.
The symptoms and acuteness of PTSD vary from person to person, but often include some combination of the following:
You might also have intense physical reactions to your memories of the event, like a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, panic or dizziness. Avoidance is a natural trauma response; because of this, you might even have a hard time remembering what exactly happened to cause your trauma. You might also blame yourself for what happened, or for surviving the event when other people did not (survivor’s guilt).
When you live in a constant state of fear, sadness and isolation, it’s natural to want to somehow ease your pain. And unfortunately for many people – especially those who don’t receive the treatment they need – alcohol and drugs become the easiest way to escape their emotional state. The problem with this is that substances only make the situation far worse, by destabilizing your mood, heightening your anxiety and depression and compounding PTSD’s psychological effects.
Substances are far more likely to lead to dependence and addiction when they’re used for self-medication. Whether or not addiction co-occurs with PTSD has to do with factors like how well-developed your coping skills are, and your genetic predisposition to substance dependence.
Conventional treatment for PTSD centers on talk therapy – but new research shows that trauma is an embodied experience, and to truly be effective, treatment should be, too. Some people find it re-traumatizing to talk through their experience, or even difficult to verbalize their experience in the first place. But some holistic treatment techniques are able to bypass cognitive processing and directly release the trauma from wherever it is stuck. Here are a few examples:
In EMDR, your therapist has you repeat bilateral eye movements while recalling distressing memories. This cues your brain to move the events from your active, working memory to your long-term memory where they get appropriately filed away. As a result, you can still remember the event, but it doesn’t affect you as strongly – you don’t feel it like it happened yesterday. EMDR is extremely effective in treating PTSD: most people notice significant improvements after just a few sessions.
Trauma disconnects you from your experience of your own body. Trauma-sensitive yoga is designed to gently bring you back into your bodily awareness, helping you identify the physical sensations associated with your emotions. It all takes place in a safe space that mindfully minimizes triggers. The more often you practice actively relaxing, the easier it becomes to transition into a calm state.
Are you ready to change your life? Call us at (877) 710-3385 to take the first steps with us.