Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You can fight against PTSD

You can fight against PTSD
De-Tour Combat PTSD
Kathie Costos
July 10, 2013

There is yet one more news story of "new PTSD research" that is not really new and misleading.

There are some things science has gotten right on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, however they seem to be getting more wrong. Keep in mind that PTSD has been researched for over 40 years, so there has been very little that has actually been new coming out.

One of the things science got right was when they started to scan brains of PTSD survivors. These scans have shown how the mind reacts proving that PTSD is not just in your head. It has changed your mind.

This is only partly right.
According to the model, changes in two brain areas — the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulated cortex (dACC) — may predispose people to PTSD. Both of these regions are involved in feeling and expressing fear, and both appear to be overactive in people with PTSD, even before they develop the condition.

The part they got wrong is the "predispose" assumption but as the article points out, there is more research to be done.

According to the MAYO Clinic this is there new list of causes
Causes of PTSD
By Mayo Clinic staff

You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event that causes intense fear, helplessness or horror.

Doctors aren't sure why some people get post-traumatic stress disorder. As with most mental health problems, PTSD is probably caused by a complex mix of:

Your inherited mental health risks, such as an increased risk of anxiety and depression
Your life experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you've gone through since early childhood
The inherited aspects of your personality — often called your temperament
The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress

Psych Central has a slightly different take on it,
Pre-traumatic psychological factors (for example, low self-esteem) may make this process worse (for example, low self-esteem may be reinforced by a brutal rape). Post-traumatic reactions by others (for example, a raped woman who is viewed by family as “dirty”) and by the self (for example, physical discomfort caused by memories of the rape) may also play a role in influencing whether such symptoms persist. It is hypothesized that only after successful reprocessing of the traumatic event(s) do PTSD symptoms decrease.
For a better idea of this, the National Institute of Mental Health puts it this way
What causes PTSD?
Living through or seeing something that's upsetting and dangerous can cause PTSD. This can include:
Being a victim of or seeing violence
The death or serious illness of a loved one
War or combat
Car accidents and plane crashes
Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires
Violent crimes, like a robbery or shooting.
There are many other things that can cause PTSD. Talk to your doctor if you are troubled by something that happened to you or someone you care about.

When I first started learning about PTSD it was back in 1982. That is when I met my Vietnam Vet husband. I had a lot to learn to understand him better. My Dad was a Korean War veteran and my uncles served in WWII. I had no clue what Jack was going through until my Dad said the words "shell shock" to explain what he had seen in Jack. I needed to learn so that I could understand the man I fell in love with.

As the years went on one thing led to another. With every answer I found, there was one question driving me to search more. Why didn't I have PTSD? I am not a veteran. I have faced death many times. According to researchers I should have ended up with PTSD. In the list from National Institute of Mental Health, the only thing I did not experience was combat.

Abuse survivor
My Dad was a violent alcoholic. While I was not a target for his fists there was a constant threat along with the turmoil he created until I was 13.

Crime survivor
My ex-husband tried to kill me.

Accident survivor
At the age of 4 I was pushed off a high slide at a drive-in movie playground. I went over the side, landed head first on cement and almost died.
A car accident totalled a car but I inexplicably not only walked away from it, I was so hysterical I pushed the car from the passing lane to the breakdown lane.

Health crisis survivor
Aside from the above I miscarried twins and hemorrhaged.
After my daughter was born an infection took over my body leaving my doctor to explain he had never seen a bacteria count that high on a live patient.

Moved to Florida right before Charlie, Francis and Jeanne.

Death or serious illness of loved one
My Dad had many heart attacks and strokes. He passed away at the age of 58.
One of my brothers passed away at the age of 42 and another was 56. My Mom passed away at 85. We also lost my husband's family in 13 months. First his sister, then his Dad, followed by his other sister, followed by his Mom and a couple of years later his nephew committed suicide. He was also a Vietnam Veteran.

Then there is also the factor of living with my husband's PTSD that can cause Secondary PTSD. I don't have it and I don't for a very simple couple of reasons.

The first one is my family was very close and extended out to uncles, aunts and cousins. No one had any secrets. No matter what was going on, it was talked about while I was growing up. Most of the time their advice was pretty lousy but they always listened and I knew they loved me no matter what. Whenever I needed to talk, they listened and helped me work it all out. The other thing was I was raised with a strong faith in God and Christ. I knew who I was because of these factors and was able to make peace with whatever happened knowing God did not do it to me but was there to get me through it. I was able to forgive others, know I was forgiven as well as be able to do the hardest thing for me, which was forgive myself so that I did not blame myself for what happened. No matter what I had survived, I am still happy even though there is no earthly reason for it.

There was a time in my life when I had to go to talk to a psychologist because of my husband's PTSD. The frustration had begun to change me and I was feeling angry. I just needed to talk to someone with an understanding of what PTSD was so I wouldn't have to stop talking about what was going on to explain it to someone else. She already knew. She was able to listen as I vented.

That is what prevented PTSD in me. I have all the characteristics of people suffering from PTSD including deeply compassionate but the list from above suggesting it has anything to do with anything other than life threatening events is pure bull shit. My whole life proves that one but there was a time when I had to prove it to myself, so I trained in Crisis Intervention only to discover my beliefs held true. Talking about it in a safe place prevented PTSD and faith helped fight it off.

Combat and PTSD in Vietnam Veterans
About 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 to 25 percent have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced “clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.”

This has also been supported by over 30 years of working with veterans and their families struggling with PTSD. Once they know what it is, what it is doing and how to fight it, they begin to heal.

Our choices are simple. We can use the knowledge that has been gained over the last 40 years and head it off before it starts and help those with it already with what has been proven to work or we can go on counting the numbers of servicemen and women committing suicide along with veterans.

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