PTSD

Expectation
Post traumatic stress disorder, with a usual specific date of onset, is easier to monitor  improvement, than gradual onset difficulties.  The longer and more severe PTSD has been experienced, though, the longer it may take to obtain relief.  The neurotherapy typically involves reviewing the conditions and cues, helping to develop more appropriate reactions to the disturbing mental events.  Neurotherapy may be helpful in twenty sessions, but so much depends on severity and learning the more adaptive techniques.  PTSD can be overcome.    

The Story
Marty (a hypothetical name) lived with her two daughters in an apartment.  One night there was a break-in by a middle-aged man, who bound the two girls, and in their sight raped Marty.  On leaving, the assailant threatened to kill them if they called the police. 

The police were called several hours later and evidence collected.  Marty was in shock and the girls were crying.  Marty, a single mother, sent the girls to stay with her mother.  She had horrible nightmares every night, for the next six months.  Later nightmares were several nights a week, even a year later.  She was terrified to be alone, but felt unsafe to have her girls at home, either.  Marty broke into sweating and rapid heart rate, whenever the phone rang or there was a knock on the door.  Visual replays of the rape, in her mind, were triggered, by being alone near any man.  She avoided her church and had many sick days missing work.  She began to feel guilt for not preventing the assault.

The Story
Joe, involved with military trauma, could not forget the events he had experienced. Nightmares were frequent and profoundly disturbing. Anger and guilt associated with the traumas, often without actual guilt of the causing trauma, prosisted for a longtime. Joe developed PTSD. Medications were marginally helpful. Compassionate therapy including retraining the brain has been helpful. Specific relaxation training and calming the automotive nervous system through learning voluntary control has been helpful. Joe lives a more normal life, without the PTSD disturbance now.

Discussion
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is predictable for many victims of violence. PTSD occurs, especially for the person sensing the vulnerability to the violence, in comparison to the previous happy times. The self-questioning involves many “What Ifs.”  The outcome may lead to feelings of guilt, depression or anger.  These strong feelings can interfere with a normal life, with the constant expectation of a recurrent assault. Various triggers can kindle these horrific feelings.  Other traumas, for instance, may involve motor vehicle accidents, industrial injuries, sports accidents, and even mental abuse from years earlier.  The traumas must be life threatening, by definition. 

Psychotherapy is usually prolonged and possibly effective in developing personal strength.  Various cognitive-behavioral techniques may give the PTSD sufferer tools to combat the internalized stress response.  Some individuals are so traumatized that the ability to return to normalcy is difficult and even delayed for years.  Consider our Viet Nam Veterans, now thirty years post trauma, continuing to suffer PTSD.

Neurotherapy is a new rehabilitation tool, which may help the PTSD sufferer to normalize brain function, thus controlling the PTSD curse.  PTSD typically activates the high frequency brainwaves associated with anxiety or fear of harm.  These associated emotions activate profound sensory-motor and autonomic system dysregulation.  The neurotherapy brainwave training may be able to reduce the autonomic arousal pattern, related to kindling, like a burnable material being burned by a flame.  These kindling cues can come in all types, but are associated in memory with the traumatic event.  The brainwave training can lead to a calmer, reflective and increased healthy and rational response set to the cues or kindling.  Hopefully, this will assist the sufferer to approach normalcy.

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