Surviving Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Surviving Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Patient’s Guide to Healing, Treatment, and Recovery

Social networks can be wonderful tools to experience friendship, develop matrimonial relationships, learn about new ways of seeing things, and even for healing. One of the stories from a social network site concerned a woman who was engaged to a military man with a PTSD diagnosis. A month before they were to be married he shot himself. Now she continually struggles with anger and resentment for his leaving her here alone. Additionally, she has repeated this grief and anger process on the anniversary of his death every year for the last seven years. This is not an isolated story.

There are many people who have been affected by PTSD sufferers, and many did not know that PTSD was involved. A reasonably suspect PTSD case occurred for another social network site woman who nearly died from a surprise knife attack by her fiancée about 2 ½ months before their wedding after he had had only a couple of drinks and returned home. So being open and it is possible to listen to stories of the real world, as well as the make believe social network world.

A PTSD Survivor’s Treatment Overview

Social networks are about enjoyment so how do you begin the discussion of what PTSD is doing to your life or the life of someone you love. Here is a summary of what a PTSD survivor, who spent nearly six years in treatment, thinks people should know.

  • PTSD is not just a result of a bomb exploding in a war zone. People experience if from many other sources: multiple hits to the head from beatings or auto accidents, natural disasters such as lightening strikes or earthquakes for instance.
  • PTSD occurs because something happens that is not in the victim’s control, it is unexpected and generally unpredictable.
  • It seems that with PTSD, at least in some cases, the person’s brain structure is somehow altered because of the trauma and probably in the way it handles teh chemicals, neurotransmitters, already in the brain.
  • With PTSD there is an inability to handle emotional responses that previously had been managed easily or comfortably. These are important to understand because the indicate that effective treatment must include several approaches.

Why the Types of Treatments: Resting the Brain

Primary in importance, from this survivors’ perspective, is restoring the normal operations of the brain. This frequently means getting sleep to allow the natural healing and de-stressing processes to occur.

  1. Consequently, prescription sleeping medications can be given. There is goodness in having sleep, even from medications. First, it may help get some relief from the traumatic onslaught because you are asleep. Second, the thought pressure lessens after a good night’s sleep, even though the nights may be few and far apart.
  2. Next is the need to stop the recurrent feelings about a similar event occurring spontaneously, just like the one(s) that happened before. Here too medication can be very effective. In some cases specific medications are used as part of a PTSD protocol, but in certain cases, based on symptoms the physician may vary from the protocol and use other medications. The medication duration may be a few years, in others — some PTSD people have told me, their doctors talk about lifetime medications. The issue is not medication duration, but effectiveness. So take it.
  3. The main person for this story also used acupuncture to deal with stress, a vacation that included a cruise of several days, and vitamin and mineral supplements to replace what the medications were depleting.

Why the Types of Treatments: Retraining the Mind

  1. There is a need for counseling as well to understand the process and the experiences that keep sweeping over the person like waves on the beach. Medications keep the symptoms at bay, and the counseling can include guided imagery work to help address the hidden fear of helplessness and vulnerability resulting in dissociation and activities designed to change behaviors as similar sensations appear in life. For instance in an earthquake where the ground starts to slowly vibrate, passing trains and heavy trucks cause similar vibrations in the ground resulting in retriggering of the experience.
  2. Additional work can focus on the emotional components that flood through the person and leave no room for options. Some forms of cognitive intervention work that teach how to stop the flood, even for a few moments allows for initiating new behaviors and blocking the previously inevitable tsunami of anger, fear, self-loathing, and desperation that may lead to the PTSD horror stories in the evening news.

Hang in There: It will be Effective

Although this article is about recovery from PTSD and changing into a survivor, it is also about having people around you that care for you and love you understanding the complexity of the treatment process. It takes years to recover for both the victim and for the family. Even when the victim becomes a survivor, the family may still be held hostage to the memories of the PTSD before treatment started the turnaround. So family therapy is a good idea with a PTSD specialist for the survivor and the family members.

Social Anxiety Disorder Basic Facts

Social Anxiety Disorder Basic Facts: When Socializing is Terrifying

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that approximately 15 million adult Americans and many, more worldwide experience Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This places it as the single most common chronic anxiety condition that exists. The disorder affects from people from all walks of life and in recent years, entertainer Donny Osmond came forward to announce that he has struggled with SAD since childhood.

Social Phobia Goes Beyond Shyness

Most people experience a degree of shyness when meeting new people or even those they are already acquainted with socially. With SAD, the shyness is extreme and exaggerated, causing the sufferer to feel very uneasy, on-edge or even panicky when he is in a social setting. The typical symptoms of anxiety will manifest when SAD sufferers are in the presence of people they are uncomfortable with, which is usually everyone outside of their immediate family and very close friends.

SAD Symptoms

The symptoms of anxiety experienced by people with SAD include the common ones which are feelings of panic and apprehension, trembling, an urge to escape, rapid heart rate and breathing, muscle tension, feelings of unreality (depersonalization and derealization) and dizziness.

The anxiety symptoms that seem to be more intense in SAD sufferers are feelings of embarrassment, blushing, dry mouth, sweating and feeling that others are judging them. Symptoms can vary among those with SAD, depending on how developed the disorder is. Some will experience symptoms even while meeting with only one person, while symptoms only manifest in others when they are in social settings with several people present.

Inappropriate Timing of the Fight or Flight Response

Research studies by mental health groups in regard to social phobia have found that most patients develop the disorder during childhood. Over time, learned behaviors develop that cause the “fight of flight response” to become triggered more often and at inappropriate times, when SAD sufferers attempt to be active socially. The anxiety itself is not an unnatural emotion but it is the timing of it that becomes disordered (not in the order intended). Socially phobic people have learned to recognize social events and meeting new people, as a threat to them.

Treatments for SAD

There are psychiatric therapies including those in the “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” category that help people with SAD, to change the way they think about social events and settings. They also learn to respond differently to the feelings and symptoms of anxiety, so that they can channel the energy produced by it into putting their best foot forward when meeting new people. It is a therapy that helps anxiety patients to react positively to anxiety, so that it works for them, rather than against them.

There are also medications that can be combined with psychiatric therapies when needed or taken as a single treatment, including anti-anxiety drugs and SSRI anti-depressants. People with SAD should also self-educate about their disorder because knowledge can become power to help them overcome SAD or to greatly diminish the effects of it (coping) in their lives.

Social Anxiety Disorder Problem

Social Anxiety Disorder: One of the More Prevalent but Lesser Known Mental Disorders

With mental illness on the steady increase, disorders such as Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder are becoming widely known. However there is another little known mental illness described by recent studies as the third largest disorder in the United States of America. The name of this disorder is Social Anxiety Disorder.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia as it is sometimes called is the anxiety of being evaluated negatively by other people. The fear of judgement experienced by a person with the disorder leads to feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment and humiliation. It also may result in Depression and substance abuse.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder produces feelings of anxiety when an individual is confronted with a social situation. There are acute physiological symptoms that accompany the disorder. These include:

  • heightened fear
  • blushing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • perspiration
  • parched throat and mouth
  • shaking
  • difficulty swallowing
  • muscle spasms

Situations Causing Distress in People With Social Anxiety Disorder.

There are a number of situations which cause distress in individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder. These may include:

  • Being judged by others
  • Meeting people for the first time
  • Being the center of attention
  • Being observed while doing something
  • Social encounters that involve strangers

Who is Affected by Social Anxiety Disorder?

Many people are affected by Social Anxiety Disorder. However it is slightly more prevalent in women than in men. Recent studies have shown Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common mental disorder in the world.

Substance Abuse and Social Anxiety Disorder.

Individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs as a means of coping with the stress, low self-esteem and depression the disorder causes. According to Timothy J. Bruce PHD, in the article “Social Anxiety Disorder: A Common Underrecognized Mental Disorder”, a significant percent of patients with Social Anxiety Disorder have a dependency on drugs or alcohol. “Up to 16 percent of patients who present with Social Phobia have alcohol abuse problems” says Bruce.

Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder.

Social Anxiety Disorder is often misdiagnosed as panic attacks or depression. This can make treating the disorder quite difficult. However when correctly diagnosed, a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and medication has been found to be useful in treating individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder.

Despite the prevalence of Social Anxiety Disorder, it is often misdiagnosed. Social Anxiety Disorder is however a very real disorder with specific symptoms. If the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder are left untreated they can be crippling to the person with the disorder and often result in the individual avoiding all situations involving social contact.

The avoidance of social situations has subsequent, negative consequences to the social, work life and finances of the afflicted individual. However with the right medical help there is a good outcome for those with the disorder. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder should consult a health professional.