Natural Therapies for PTSD
What does PTSD mean?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects all age-groups. However, the veteran community is most susceptible to PTSD, owing to extreme trauma that they face while on duty. The studies suggest 11-30 percent of veterans suffer from PTSD during their lifetime, going by their service areas. Further, around 7-8 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD, which is a psychiatric disorder.
Individuals who have been part of traumatic events are known to have PTSD, which causes incapacitating stress. When is PTSD triggered? More commonly, natural disasters, war or combat situations, and excessive violence cause PTSD.
Even police officers, soldiers or firefighters may develop PTSD. Surely, the likelihood of women having PTSD is twice as compared to men. Though, the PTSD disability affects all people – notwithstanding gender and other societal barriers.
PTSD for childhood trauma
Childhood trauma could also be a the risk for the development of PTSD in adulthood.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is a symptom caused by repeated trauma over months or years.
For easing the PTSD anxiety and stress of the traumatic events, a range of therapies is available. These include medications, various types of therapies, and inoculation training. Also, in recent times, the use of weighted blankets is common for dealing with PTSD. Weighted blankets for PTSD are a good way for people to catch up on their lost sleep.
Using a heavy blanket benefits your body from Deep Touch Pressure. In turn, you can calm your nerves and enjoy a restful deep sleep. If you are not able to sleep soundly after undergoing trauma, only rely on weighted blankets while making them a part of your regular sleep regime.
Famous people With PTSD
If you suffer from PTSD you’re not alone. More than 40 million people around the world suffer from PTSD including a bunch of celebrities:
Ariana Grande – Singer and songwriter
Whoopi Goldberg – actress, talk show host, and comedienne
Mick Jagger – singer of The Rolling Stones
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – wife of President John F. Kennedy
Monica Seles – grand-slam winner tennis player
Shia LaBeouf – actor
Barbra Streisand – singer
Alanis Morissette – singer-songwriter
Lady Gaga – singer
Charlize Theron – actress
With a large percent of the human population showing PTSD symptoms, the time for action is now. Recognizing PTSD signs during the early stages helps, for you can then initiate treatment plans for your timely recovery.
How PTSD is diagnosed
As per the Diagnostic Manual (pdf) of the American Psychiatric Association, the PTSD symptoms are grouped into four major categories. These are cognitive imbalances and mood disparities, resistance or avoidance of triggering situations, flashback memories, and intrusions.
Knowing about the PTSD symptoms can help in recognizing whether your loved one is suffering from this disorder.
PTSD victims are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. As part of their sleep problems, they may have PTSD nightmares and other PTSD night terrors. Also, not necessarily, the nightmares bear relation to the traumatic events. Nonetheless, the stressful experience gives rise to sleeping issues.
To normalize your sleep cycles, only use a weighted blanket. Deep touch pressure calms the nervous system, helps to fall asleep, and relieves PTSD anxiety.
Anybody who has witnessed a traumatic event tends to over-react or have anger issues. Anger outbursts stem from underlying anger that PTSD causes.
Trauma victims seem to be emotionally distanced from people – including their family members and friends. They may do so due to a feeling a numbness. Maintaining distance from others and not showing interest in long term relationships are other PTSD symptoms.
PTSD sufferers are depressed overall. PTSD depression symptoms include pulling out from social gatherings, not displaying interest in pursuing any hobbies, and sadness.
Hyper-vigilance is a sign of PTSD anxiety. Yes, you may perceive that PTSD patients remain on constant vigil and always envision worst-case scenarios. Due to their heightened emotional condition, they are also not able to sleep, rest, or relax.
Revive the disturbing situations
PTSD patients constantly replay the distressing situations in their minds. Also, they may choose to or not to discuss their condition with their close ones. Reliving the painful experiences causes their condition to deteriorate further, leading them to remain anxious or depressed.
PTSD patients are overcome with a sense of paranoia. They may not feel safe because of overpowering dread or doom. More so, they may feel that they are losing control of their lives and try exerting control over their surroundings.
An individual who is plagued with suicidal thoughts could be ailing from PTSD. If you perceive anybody with active or passive suicidal thoughts, make sure they get the requisite professional help. Such perceptions are red flags that all is not well with their mental health.
PTSD and Depression
Both these conditions are interrelated. Depression heightens your risk of PTSD and vice versa. Also, the symptoms of PTSD and depression tend to overlap. Thus, you may not be able to figure out which of the two disorders you’re ailing from. Common symptoms of both disorders are emotional turbulence, difficulty in sleeping, and lack of interest in daily activities.
PTSD and Anxiety
Similar to PTSD and depression, the symptoms of PTSD and anxiety overlap too. Also, as part of your PTSD awareness, note that that PTSD is a kind of anxiety. Nonetheless, you can suffer from anxiety sans PTSD.
When to consult your doctor on PTSD?
PTSD could be short term or long term. Short-term PTSD stays for a couple of weeks; and long term PTSD, for many years. The individual may display PTSD signs shortly after the traumatic incident or after brief or long intervals.
Individuals who are not able to come to terms with past events or showing PTSD indicators are advised to consult a doctor. As part of the PTSD diagnosis, the medical experts will inquire about the various symptoms and for how long has the individual been experiencing the discomfort.
Even any person having suicidal thoughts must opt for a PTSD diagnosis. They can avail a range of natural and medical treatments for their recuperation.
Though, weighted blankets imposing Deep Touch Pressure are an effective way of alleviating PTSD symptoms.
Treatment to PTSD
Medications and a host of therapies constitute two categories of how PTSD is treated.
Is PTSD curable? For treating PTSD, no particular drugs are available. Though, PTSD symptoms (such as anger issues, anxiety, and depression) are manageable with drugs. The FDA has approved selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), anti-anxiety medications and anti-depressants, as part of PTSD treatments. Even so, their intake for only a short duration is advisable and only under the supervision of medical professionals.
Additionally, the doctors prescribe the medicine Prazosin for PTSD for patients having blood pressure problems. This medicine has shown to be beneficial for treating PTSD nightmares, among other PTSD symptoms.
A range of psychotherapy techniques can help with PTSD. Such treatments help in developing self-esteem in the patients, improving PTSD symptoms, and, in general, coping with their condition.
Mental health professionals work to understand and address the underlying root causes.
The common therapies for PTSD are as follows.
A good way of treating PTSD is to remain exposed to the situations that you are avoiding. Over time, you start coping with the distressing memories.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Over 12 sessions, you work with your psychotherapist to overcome the trauma-related thoughts and memories during CPT as part of your PTSD treatment plans.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Research studies indicate that discussing the traumatic experiences while moving your eyes back and forth rapidly helps the brain to reprocess the memory. In turn, you may not panic, or feel afraid, when thinking of the trauma.
How do weighted blankets help?
Nowadays, weighted blankets are a preferred choice for people who are looking to sleep well. Weighted blankets are highly recommended for PTSD patients as well, the benefits of weighted blankets are undeniable. As such, they can sleep soundly which helps to reduce their symptoms. On the other hand, inadequate sleep can worsen their symptoms.
Let us now study the different ways in which weighted blankets help to get sleep.
Deep Touch Pressure (DTP)
DTP techniques are therapeutic and help to treat anxiety. They ground the body and offer uniform touch throughout the body while soothing the nervous system. Besides, they can cause the heart rate to become lower.
Reduces Cortisol Levels
Due to daily stress, the body produces the stress hormone that is Cortisol. With weighted blankets, the amount of Cortisol that the body manufactures reduces. As such, the body relaxes and you fall asleep seamlessly.
Increases Serotonin Levels
DTP facilitates greater production of Serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of happiness and improves overall wellbeing. That said, with weighted blankets applying DTP, your sleep can be restful.
You can limit your movements by using heavy blankets. Thus, you stay in one place for longer durations which leads to uninterrupted sleep.
Natural PTSD Treatments
In addition to using weighted blankets, you can treat PTSD naturally in other ways too, as seen in the following details.
The general recommendation for PSD patients is to adhere to a diet that improves mental health.
• Opt for conventional dietary regimes like the Japanese, Norwegian or Mediterranean diet. Such diets are anti-inflammatory and help to reduce body inflammation which, in turn, leads to lower stress levels.
• Raise the intake of healthful foods. These include nuts, legumes, fruits, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables
• Avoid processed food varieties
• Consume nutritious meals
To treat any disorder naturally, the general rule is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Having said that, you must consume nutrient-rich foods, sleep for around 8 hours at night, and exercises regularly. Though, keep in mind to exercise only in moderation, without going overboard.
Always start with low-impact exercises such as walking, gardening, swimming, and jogging. Initially, exercise for 30 minutes and gradually increase the time limit.
Exercising serves a range of purposes. As such, you can boost blood circulation in the body which is therapeutic for the mind, body, and soul. More so, exerting the body facilitates the release of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the ‘feel-good’ hormones, which help to enhance the mood and treat depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health problems.
Yoga has holistic benefits and serves as an effective PTSD cure. With yoga, you can balance your mind and body that helps in the body healing process.
At the start, you may feel that you cannot perform yoga because you’re not flexible. However, yoga is adaptable, with no prerequisites. Begin with basic yoga poses, before progressing to the advanced ones.
Disconnect from stimulation starting with 5 minutes every day. Also, you must try practicing mindfulness, for studies suggest fewer PTSD symptoms in people who follow suit.
Acupuncture techniques can help to cope with nightmares, fear, depression, anxiety, anger, among other emotional upheavals.
Clinical hypnosis has helped to treat PTSD by reducing both the physical and emotional effects of trauma.
Do not forget to breathe
Taking long breaths can be stress-relieving. Also, to calm your nerves and balance your nervous system, you must breathe. No matter how stressful the situation, always take the time out to breathe.
PTSD: How to Prevent?
Sadly, you cannot prevent distressing experiences that result in PTSD. Though, if you’ve been through traumatic situations, you can safeguard yourself from the discomforting symptoms.
As such, you should have a strong support system, comprising of your near and dear ones. And whenever the experience weighs heavily on your mind, talk to your well-wishers to feel better and keep your mood upbeat.
Further, try reframing how you view the tough situation. Think you are a survivor and not a victim.
Also, consider connecting with others who are experiencing trauma for you can gain strength to deal with your situation in the process.
Living with a person having PTSD
PTSD does not affect only the person having the disorder, but others around them too.
The fear, anger and emotional outbursts cause strain on the strongest relationships.
By learning how to comfort someone with PTSD, you can support them. Also, think of enrolling in a support group with family members of PTSD patients. The group members can give you tips on how to help someone with PTSD nightmares.
Moreover, ensure that your loved one is getting the required treatment – including therapy, medication or both in combination.
PTSD treatment centers for veterans
PTSD treatment in the Department of Veterans Affairs is available. Medical centers have specialized PTSD treatment programs and PTSD specialists who provide treatment for Veterans with PTSD.
Furthermore, accept the fact that living with a PTSD patient is not easy. To overcome your challenges as a caretaker, you can also opt for therapy.
Living with PTSD can be overwhelming. Nevertheless, you can overcome the disorder, start small for the gradual build-up of your physical and mental health via a holistic approach. Work with your doctor, cater to the body’s nutritional and exertion demands, and, more importantly, try to remain calm in all types of situations.
The United States Senate designated June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day
The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder has designated June as PTSD Awareness Month. The Center promotes awareness of PTSD and effective treatments throughout the year
American Psychological Association (APA) provides resources for individuals and families to discover ways to identify and manage and cope with PTSD.