Positive Approach to PTSD Support

  • Published
  • By Dr. Julie Reese
  • 944th Department of Psychological Health

Post-Traumatic Stress

Our lives are filled with many experiences that influence who we are and how we perceive the world.  At times, these experiences are negative and impact us in a neurologically, emotionally, and physically reactive manner.  This is called post-traumatic stress.  Symptoms of post-traumatic stress can occur as a child or an adult and can include loss or appetite, insomnia, fatigue, anger, fear, anxiety, digestive problems, and racing heartbeat.  In these instances, proactively implementing coping mechanisms, including physical activity, journaling, talking it out with family or friends, meditation, prioritizing and minimizing, listening to music, horseback riding, etc., along with psychotherapy, can be powerful in reorganizing our ability to regain our place of serenity.  Responding to stress in a proactive manner allows for growth and healing, and has the power to prevent the possibility of more clinical diagnosis.

When traumatic experiences are repetitive or cause terror and fear of safety for self or others, powerlessness, shock, and hypervigilance, clinical diagnosis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is likely to occur.  If the symptomatology of PTSD, specifically flashbacks, nightmares/terrors, dissociation, avoidance, excessive arousal, negative thoughts and guilt, hallucinations, flat affect, emotions, and memories is not adequately treated and processed, these symptoms can last for years.  www.thriveworks.com

Treatment for PTSD

While living with PTSD can be especially difficult and can feel overwhelming, the first step to feeling better is recognizing the signs and symptoms and reaching out as there are various forms of recommended treatment that can make a tremendous difference.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) assists with changing the thought process and allows for a more theoretical knowledge and practical application of coping mechanisms.

Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy gently exposes the individual to the event a little at a time while taking deep breaths and cognitively acknowledging a level of safety in that moment, assisting with creating a new dialogue about the event.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) assists with reframing and processing traumatic memories and flashbacks in a therapeutic and supportive manner.

Equine Therapy consists of working with horses, which supports self-regulation, calming techniques, mindfulness and being present.

Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) therapy is a non-evasive, outpatient procedure that injects a local anesthetic in the neck blocking the sympathetic nerves that cause flight or fight reactions. 

SGB: A possible breakthrough treatment for PTSD. (June 16, 2019). 60 Minutes Overtime. By Bill Whitaker. www.YouTube.com now available at pain clinics in Arizona.

Medication Management in combination with therapy can be useful in minimizing some of the anxiety and depressive symptomatology, along with insomnia issues.

Make self-care a priority!  If you are not okay, nobody is okay.