Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cure for PTSD has been found

Cure for PTSD has been found
De-Tour Combat PTSD Survivors' Guide
Kathie Costos
August 29, 2013

After 40 years, billions spent by the government, mental health community and countless universities along with an ever growing list of charities, the cure for PTSD has been discovered, so they can all give back the money they collected. They can stop writing prescriptions. Stop telling everyone what to do while bucking against what other organizations are doing and pretending they have all the answers.

While there is no one size fits all PTSD cases because there are different levels along with just as many causes, the solution used most has been medicate it with legal drugs as well as street drugs and alcohol. That leaves the pharmaceutical companies searching for a cure for old age instead of PTSD numbing pretending the pills fix everything.

The cure is to stop all trauma. End it. Boycott it. Stop sending young men and women into combat. Stop letting people cause accidents. Stop letting people commit crimes. Stop letting parents and other adults abuse kids. Stop domestic violence of every kind. This will stop police officers from having to risk their lives. Stop bullies. Stop health issues. Stop fires. This will stop firefighters from having to risk their lives. Stop storms. Stop floods. Stop other countries from doing what they do and then stop this country from feeling the need to do something without having a clue what that "something" will end up producing after they do it.

Stop people from dying? Ok that is going a bit too far. We'll have to settle for a warning before anyone dies from this point on. Naturally that also causes trauma because just getting the news that someone will die will be traumatic in itself.

You can't stop with those. Childbirth is also traumatic. If a woman discovers she is pregnant and wants to keep the baby, put her to sleep at a certain time and she'll never know what happened during childbirth. If she doesn't want the baby, put her in a coma for seven or eight months and take the baby out but don't tell her you did it. That way she'll never have to deal with deciding what to do or wonder for the rest of her life what happened to the baby later on. As for the shock of discovering she was pregnant in the first place there isn't much you can do about that unless you boycott sex. As for the Dad of the unwanted, just send him the bill for contributing to the child he not only wouldn't have cared about but probably didn't even know about in the first place.

Since none of the above are possible it is easier to understand why there is no cure for PTSD. No cure has been found in all these years but researchers have discovered a long list of things to do to help heal from the traumatic events we survive.

The best thing to do is talk about it with someone you trust in a safe place that takes your emotions out of the event and into the safe surroundings. Trust is important so that you don't hold back and you know what you have to say is important. I've seen people check their watch when they are only pretending to listen. It it important that they do not try to fix you on the spot or treat what you're saying as if it is a contest they want to compete with you on. It is your moment to really matter and the way you are treated afterwards can either prevent the trauma from taking hold or changing you from that point on.

When you know you have a problem that will usually show up about 30 days after the event. If the feelings are not getting weaker then you may need to go see a professional to be evaluated. They have tests as well as pills and while most are not experts on trauma, they have enough knowledge to figure out what is going on.

Then if you find out it is PTSD, you need to keep seeing the professional but you also need to hook up with a program to teach your body how to work without the adrenaline rush. Not as easy as it sounds because what may work for your buddy, bores the hell out of you. Just like medications are not the same for everyone, body works are an individual thing.

Oh, but you are not done yet. You have to take care of the spiritual part of you too. No, I'm not talking about going to church or getting hit over the head with a bible and someone telling you are you suffering because you are sinful. I am talking about the kind of spiritual stuff Christ talked about. Talking to God, asking for forgiveness for whatever you feel you need to be forgiven for and forgiving other people including the ones trying to kill you. But then you have to work on your relationships starting with the people you treated like crap as well as the forgiving them for pushing you away. Not so easy but necessary.

Once you accept the fact that the only cure for PTSD is to stop all traumatic events, you are a lot closer to understanding why it hit you. You, my dear, are human and other humans come into your life for better or worse. Unless you live in a cave from the day you are born, which comes with a whole other set of issues, things happen that you were really not ready for but as you saw in the list above, getting the warning is also shocking itself. Besides would you really want to never come into contact with another human ever again?

Stop hearing a child laugh? Stop hearing a joke? Stop hearing I love you? Stop hearing music? Stop hearing someone tell you that you matter to them?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Early treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder

In 2008 after taking crisis intervention training to become a Chaplain I was sure I found the answer I had been searching for. There had to be a reason I did not have PTSD after too many times with my life on the line.

While I have never served in combat just living had me facing many times when I should have died along with another time when I wish I did.

The fact I am still here, changed by what I survived proved to me that the difference was my family. I had a large Greek family much like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Nothing was a secret. Everything was talked to death by everyone. I knew they loved me, were willing to spend as much time as I needed to listen and while most of the time they gave lousy advice, I always knew I could talk to someone anytime I needed to. There were things I talked to my Mom about, other things I talked to my Dad or brothers or cousins or Aunts. Sometimes I talked to friends.

You have to know that my first experience with facing death happened when I was only 4. Doctors said I should not have survived what someone did to me, but I did even though I had TBI when no one really knew what damage was done to the brain. Someone did it to me. It was another kid getting impatient with me on a high slide I was too afraid to go down by myself. He pushed me too hard on one side and I hit the concrete head first.

I wrote about what my life taught me and how some psychologists have it all wrong. Psychologist is wrong on critical incident stress debriefings but that isn't really new. The problem is when they get attention as "training professionals" and I as a lowly person go up agains them. The fact is when you spend over 30 years researching something as if your life depends on the answer, it matters a hell of a lot more than what someone reads is a book while planning to make a career out of it.

There is healing after traumatic crisis no matter what caused it. I have said too many times that while we cannot prevent PTSD in everyone we need to understand what works and what has failed.

Well finally the MAYO Clinic has produced yet another report on how effective this is.
Early treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder

Early therapy can stop post-traumatic stress disorder from taking hold, say doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a car crash, an assault, or a major catastrophe like the terror attacks of September 11 last year. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, lack of concentration, sleep disturbance, irritability and guilt. Left untreated, someone with PTSD will lapse into a state of chronic anxiety.

I have worked with police and firefighters as well as veterans because I not only believe it works, I am living proof it does.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Combat PTSD numbers prove you have a lot of company

If you think you are alone with Combat PTSD numbers prove you have a lot of company.
Phila VA holds summit on vets' mental health problems
The Inquirer
Curtis Skinner Staff Writer
August 16, 2013

For 30 years, L. Bunny Johnson flew in combat zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan, rescuing fallen soldiers by medevac. But when she got back, she was the one needing medical help for her invisible wounds. "Mistrust, PTSD, mental health problems in general . . . Let's just leave it at that," said Johnson, 60, of Abington.

Asked about the scale of mental illness in the veteran community, she said, "On a scale of one to 10, I'd go to 30." Her trauma - and desire to help others - led her to a summit Friday at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. About 80 people - from experts to veterans - came to discuss the growing epidemic of mental illness among veterans and what could be done to help them.

Nationwide, the number of VA patients being treated for mental illness spiked 45 percent between 2005 and 2012, reaching about 1.8 million. But over the same period, the number of veterans in the system grew by only 16 percent. In 2010, an estimated 22 veterans committed suicide each day. In response, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs called for centers across the country to hold summits like the one in Philadelphia. Eight are scheduled through September in Pennsylvania and another one is set for Sept. 18 at the Lyons Campus of the VA New Jersey Health Care System to get input on ways to help struggling veterans.
read more here

However I am not optimistic about this summit unless they are actually looking for what has worked instead of just focusing on what the DOD and the VA have been doing. The results prove too much has already failed.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Idiots among us on PTSD still

If you know anyone attacking PTSD veterans you'll want to pass this on. I just posted on Wounded Times about a manager telling a Gulf War veteran that vets like him are a "bunch of babies" and he's facing a lawsuit. The fact that after all this time people like the boss are still running around the country attacking men and women willing to die for the sake of someone else but can't manage to learn a damn thing about them only shows some people will never learn. My answer to this fool is simple. There is a list of people he should go talk to face to face to discover just who he called baby.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Telehealth Counseling Makes PTSD Treatment Accessible For Veterans

Telehealth Counseling Makes PTSD Treatment Accessible For Veterans
By Tarryn Mento
Monday, August 12, 2013

EL CENTRO, CALIF. — After an hour-long commute from Yuma, Ruben Moreno Garcia arrives at his El Centro apartment and immediately boots up his laptop. First thing: he checks his inbox for the two emails he receives every Monday.

One email is a reminder for his weekly counseling session; The Army veteran was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving three tours in combat. The other email has a username and password for that he needs in order to connect to those weekly counseling sessions.

He logs into Jabber, a Skype-like service, and inputs the newly-generated credentials. A few rings later and he's connected to Kathryn Williams, a psychologist located more than 100 miles away at the San Diego VA. read more here

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Combat roles in Middle East more likely to cause psychological trauma

I could not do this work if I did not read reports from other countries. Why? Because PTSD is not a national illness. It is a human illness that hits after traumatic events. It is the only way to "get it" which has been proven following a list of traumatic events.

Reporters tend to lump everything reported together as if there is no difference in the outcome of the experience, the duration and the factor of continuation of the threat.

We talk about how firefighters are hit by PTSD yet return to fight fires over and over again, risking their lives each time. For them it is not just the fires they rush to put out or the lives they save. It is also the threat of the alarm sounding while they are simply eating a meal together.

We talk about police officers and the treats they face on a daily basis but we don't talk about the different type of PTSD they get hit by because the nature of their work also comes with having to make split second decisions about killing someone or not. As with firefighters, a day of risking their lives is followed by a never ending chain of risks for as long as they are on the force.

With combat veterans their type of PTSD is similar because it also involves the use of force. They risk their lives everyday they are deployed as with cops on the job but they cannot simply go home at the end of the day to their families. They cannot get an emotional debriefing at the end of event to sort it all out. Most of the time they cannot even do it when they are back on base or when National Guardsmen return to their homes at the end of the tour.

So tracking what is happening in other nations if vital to discovering what works and what has failed. So far no nation has treating PTSD right. This is about Australian veterans. They are suffering the same way our troops are.
ADF study finds combat roles in Middle East more likely to cause psychological trauma
ABC Australia
By defence correspondent Michael Brissenden
Posted 1 hour 13 minutes ago

A Defence Force study into the health of soldiers deployed to the Middle East over the past decade shows those who have served in combat roles are at greater risk of psychological trauma.

The report into more than 14,000 soldiers found significant increases in mental health problems were experienced with increasing exposure to traumatic events.

It also showed greater combat exposure leads to greater risk of subsequent mental health problems, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is now recognised as a significant issue for veterans, and it is estimated between 15 to 20 per cent of veterans will return home from deployments with some form of PTSD.

However, symptoms may take many years to present.

The report states "significant increases in mental health problems were found with increasing traumatic and combat exposure, with the adjusted risk for some problems increasing five to fifteen fold.

"These findings covered PTSD symptoms, major depressive syndrome, panic and other anxiety syndromes, and alcohol misuse," the report stated, and found "greater combat exposure does lead to greater risk of subsequent mental health problems, including PTSD."
read more here

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Marchers call for awareness of PTSD

Marchers call for awareness of PTSD
August 3, 2013

About 100 people turned out in Howarth Park on Saturday to help raise awareness of and support those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Organizers of the first PTSD Awareness Walk said they hoped the event could help people understand that veterans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from the syndrome that often includes anxiety, flashbacks, trouble concentrating and irritability.

“We feel PTSD isn’t just for soldiers,” said Rita Constantini, a former Army Black Hawk helicopter crew chief who deployed for Operation Provide Comfort II in northern Iraq. “Anybody who’s working their way back from trauma can stand with us.”

About 60 people signed up for the event, which included a walk along Lake Ralphine and opportunity for people to make contact with various groups offering services for veterans.

The money raised may help support projects with some of those groups to help reach out to those who suffer from PTSD, Constantini said.

Steve Bossard, a Marine who served in Vietnam before becoming a police officer, said PTSD used to be known as “shell shock” and “battle fatigue.” People now realize that it can affect people exposed to all kinds of trauma.

“I’ve had incidents in police work that were even worse than some of the stuff I’ve seen in Vietnam,” said Bossard, who is now retired.

He said he’s suffered flashbacks, bad dreams and a limited range of emotions. Bossard “self-medicated” with alcohol until he learned to recognize that he had PTSD, he said.
read more here

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Waking Up Scared (Healing, PTSD & Sexual Abuse)

Waking Up Scared (Healing, PTSD & Sexual Abuse)
Bangor Daily News
Jim LaPierre
August 3, 2013

4am is her witching hour. She wakes each morning with adrenaline coursing through her veins. Her heartbeat hammers rapidly and every muscle in her body is impossibly tense. She’s in fight or flight mode but there’s no one to fight and nowhere to run.

The first 30 seconds feels like half an hour. It’s the time in between sleep and waking. What’s real? What isn’t?

It’s much worse than a bad dream. It. Feels. Like. It. Just. Happened. Again.

The tears come but she fights them. She checks the sheets but they’re clean. She sits on the side of the bed – rocking back and forth but it’s a little too fast to bring comfort. “Breath!” Can’t get enough oxygen.

Hyperventilating is terrifying. Head pounding. Need light. Need air. Must get out of this room.

She walks outside. Lights a cigarette. Nicotine helps. Start the coffee – no chance of going back to sleep now.

Go to the bathroom but turn away from the medicine cabinet mirror. Cold water on her face stings but feels real.

Still avoiding the mirror, can’t stand the image there. She needs a shower but it doesn’t feel okay to do that yet.

Settle in with some reading – daily affirmations. Get centered. Prayers are sent but feel futile. She never got the hang of meditation. It just gets her stuck in her head.

Song on Pandora grabs her attention:

“I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing .Just praying to a God that I don’t believe in.”

The Script “Breakeven”
read more here