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.

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