If you’ve lived through a trauma, even if you weren’t physically harmed, you know how you feel sometimes. A slamming door may remind you of a car accident, a firecracker, of a gunshot. However, if these feelings become overwhelming or affect your mood for extended periods of time, you may be suffering from PTSD.
WHAT IS PTSD?
“Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, or other dangerous situations that a person lives through, either with or without being injured. PTSD does not necessarily result from the event itself, but how a person is able to deal with or process what has happened to them. When a person is unable to cope with an event(s), the results manifest as mental trauma. The American Psychiatric Association notes the condition’s long history, even before it was officially recognized in 1980. Over the years, it has been referred to by many names, like “shell shock” during World War I and “combat fatigue” following World War II. Regardless of the name used, PTSD can happen to anyone at any age.
PTSD BY THE NUMBERS
According to some studies, PTSD affects about 3.5 percent of U.S. adults each year, and an estimated one in 11 people can expect a PTSD diagnosis in their lifetime. Women get PTSD twice as often as men. Three ethnic groups – African Americans, American Indians, and U.S. Latinos – are overly affected and show higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder than whites of non-Latino heritage. Despite mainstream media reports, PTSD affects more than just U.S. combat veterans.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE PTSD
If you believe you’re suffering from PTSD, the best way to find out is through an exam. In most cases, this is accomplished through a psychiatric evaluation from a mental health professional. Diagnosis are characterized by comparing your symptoms with criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Once diagnosed, the goal is to treat the root cause of the problem. This entails finding resolution or emotional acceptance of the event(s). There are many types of treatment for PTSD, but none of them work as rapidly as integrated ketamine infusion therapy.
THERAPY FOR PTSD
Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use different effective and research-validated therapies to help people suffering from symptoms of PTSD. Although there are many effective treatments, they are often tailored based on factors like overall mental and physical health, the duration and severity of the symptoms, and willingness to try certain treatment options. Here are several choices to ask about.
- Ketamine was introduced in the early 1960s and used primarily as an anesthetic. Because of its safety profile, it gained widespread acceptance and popularity during field trials on wounded U.S. combat troops fighting in Southeast Asia. Soon afterward, doctors, scientists, and private citizens discovered its other curative powers, including ketamine’s ability to treat the symptoms of PTSD and chronic pain which didn’t respond to previous treatment. Today, ketamine is used with great success to treat PTSD. When combined with integration, we are seeing prolonged effects.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy, which focuses on changing painful negative emotions which may include shame, guilt, and many others, and beliefs that can lead to stress, like “I am a failure”; “the world is unsafe” and caused by a traumatic event. Doctors or clinicians help the person face such distressing emotions and memories and return to productive everyday living.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy, which uses recurring, detailed envisioning of the trauma or liberal exposures to symptom prompts in a secure, controlled manner to confront and gain control of distress and fear and build valuable coping mechanisms. As an example of technological advancements, virtual reality programs are now utilized to assist war veterans with PTSD to re-experience the battlefield in a regulated, therapeutic way.
- Stress Inoculation Therapy has the goal of arming someone affected by PTSD with the required coping skills to effectively defend against stress triggers through the application of milder levels of stress, like how a person is inoculated to prohibit infection following exposure to an illness.
- Ketamine is sometimes combined with other forms of psychotherapy, like group therapy. Group therapy helps survivors of comparable traumatic incidents to disclose their experiences and responses in a non-judgmental and comfortable setting. Group members help each other realize that many people would have the same responses and experience the same emotions.
- The National Center for PTSD has also reported on other complementary therapies for PTSD, like relaxation, meditation, and acupuncture. Before starting therapy, it’s critical to ask about risks and benefits for each and choose one you’re comfortable with.
PTSD is a serious mental health condition affecting thousands of people in the U.S., and many more worldwide. If you experience symptoms, get help by talking to your doctor or seek a mental healthcare professional, research the benefits of ketamine as a therapy, or contact Advanced Wellness and Pain today to schedule a complimentary consultation.