Avoidance Of Things That May Trigger Unwanted Memories:
Avoiding people or events that remind you of the traumatic event. This can mean avoiding massive public places or avoiding visiting sites that are reminiscent of combat zones . This can also mean a constant need to stay busy to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.
Personally, this was something I always did that never made sense to many people, even those closest to me. I literally worked myself into pure exhaustion or pushed myself, so I would always be in a state of motion, busy, at times, even in chaos. As the saying goes, an idle mind is the devils playground. In my case, I was one of the first responders at Ground Zero in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11, and to this day, I have never been to the 9/11 memorial & museum, let alone back to the Ground Zero area, and I am a New Yorker.
How Does Ptsd Happen
During a trauma, your body responds to a threat by going into âflight or fightâ mode. It releases stress hormones, like adrenaline and norepinephrine, to give you a burst of energy. Your heart beats faster. Your brain also puts some of its normal tasks, such as filing short-term memories, on pause.
PTSD causes your brain to get stuck in danger mode. Even after youâre no longer in danger, it stays on high alert. Your body continues to send out stress signals, which lead to PTSD symptoms. Studies show that the part of the brain that handles fear and emotion is more active in people with PTSD.
Over time, PTSD changes your brain. The area that controls your memory becomes smaller. Thatâs one reason experts recommend that you seek treatment early.
Service Records Vs Medical Records
One of the first things that the VA does when a Veteran files a claim for PTSD disability is to request medical records. If the Veteran has experienced a traumatic event that may have caused immediate injury or that the Veteran sought out medical or mental health treatment for, it would be present in their medical records. Also, since the onset of the Gulf War, pre- and post-deployment questionnaires address the questions of mental health issues as a course of record. However, again that stigma is present and someone who may not want to be medically discharged or sent back stateside may not seek treatment for mental disorders or tell the truth on forms in order to keep their job and duty station.
So, if there are no medical records or medical evidence, how can someone go about proving that the incident occurred in service? One way is by requesting that the VA review the veterans service records as well as your medical records. By reviewing your military records, there may be what are called markers to PTSD or mental health issues such as sudden disciplinary issues, a sudden drop in performance review scores a request for a change in duty station or different squad, company, or platoon records of going AWOL or other issues such as excessive drinking, dereliction of duty, insubordination, etc. Any types of behaviors that were not present before the incident but become prevalent after may be considered markers of a traumatic event.
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Tip : Be A Good Listener
While you shouldnt push a person with PTSD to talk, if they do choose to share, try to listen without expectations or judgments. Make it clear that youre interested and that you care, but dont worry about giving advice. Its the act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say.
A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on. Instead, offer to talk as many times as they need.
Some of the things your loved one tells you might be very hard to listen to. Its okay to dislike what you hear, but its important to respect their feelings and reactions. If you come across as disapproving, horrified, or judgmental, they are unlikely to open up to you again.
Take Care Of Your Body
The symptoms of PTSD, such as insomnia, anger, concentration problems, and jumpiness, can be hard on your body and eventually take a toll on your overall health. Thats why its so important to take care of yourself.
You may be drawn to activities and behaviors that pump up adrenaline, whether its caffeine, drugs, violent video games, driving recklessly, or daredevil sports. After being in a combat zone, thats what feels normal. But if you recognize these urges for what they are, you can make better choices that will calm and protect your bodyand your mind.
Take time to relax.Relaxation techniques such as massage, meditation, or yoga can reduce stress, ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, help you sleep better, and increase feelings of peace and well-being.
Find safe ways to blow off steam. Pound on a punching bag, pummel a pillow, go for a hard run, sing along to loud music, or find a secluded place to scream at the top of your lungs.
Support your body with a healthy diet. Omega-3s play a vital role in emotional health so incorporate foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts into your diet. Limit processed and fried food, sugars, and refined carbs which can exacerbate mood swings and energy fluctuations.
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About Va Claims Insider
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. Were here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements for a wide range of disability conditions.
About 8 Million Americans Suffer From Ptsd Per Annum
So is PTSD a disability? Actually, no, it belongs to the long list of mental health issues. The official PTSD definition states that this is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have gone through a shock or a trauma such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war, combat, rape, or other violent personal assault. It can affect people of all ages, ethnicity, nationality, and culture.
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Service Connection For Non
Veterans who suffer from one or more non-combat PTSD stressors must provide the Department of Veterans Affairs with credible supporting evidence that they developed this common mental health condition due to events they experienced while on active duty. They can submit anything from lay statements to medical evidence to newspaper articles and even testimonials from fellow veterans to prove that the event took place and that it had a traumatic effect on them.
Encouraging Facts About Ptsd And Cannabidiol: Cbd For Ptsd Is Not Addictive Like Prescription Medications And Opioids
Though more research is needed, it seems that CBD doesnt have psychoactive side effects and has fewer side effects than traditional prescription drugs. Therefore, CBD has great potential to be declared as a safe and non-toxic alternative that can greatly improve the quality of life of PTSD patients.
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If Trauma Happened Long Ago Youre Automatically Over It
PTSD can be triggered years after a person experiences trauma. Symptoms usually show up about three months after a traumatic event, but you could develop the condition years, even decades, later.
That can be especially true when it comes to trauma experienced at a young age. Someone could experience a childhood trauma and never process it until much later, Ermani says. It could be something they never talked about and then something happens during their adulthood to trigger that memory and it could start exacerbating symptoms of PTSD. This is often seen in people who experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse. They might have suppressed memories of this trauma and then are triggered later on when they are adults.
Dr. Cameron Ritchie cites the example of Vietnam veterans. Many of them experienced their trauma about 50 years ago, but experience trigger events for their PTSD decades later.
% To 43% Of Children Experience At Least One Trauma During Their Childhood
Its possible for children and teenagers to suffer from PTSD if theyve seen a friends suicide, experienced any type of abuse, lived through disasters like school shootings, floods, car crashes, and fires, or witnessed violence where they live.
The chances of developing PTSD are higher among girls than boys .
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Living With Someone Who Has Ptsd
When a partner, friend, or family member has post-traumatic stress disorder it affects you, too. PTSD isnt easy to live with and it can take a heavy toll on relationships and family life. You may be hurt by your loved ones distance and moodiness or struggling to understand their behaviorwhy they are less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel like youre walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. You may also have to take on a bigger share of household tasks and deal with the frustration of a loved one who wont open up. The symptoms of PTSD can even lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.
Its hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but its important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over their behavior. Your loved ones nervous system is stuck in a state of constant alert, making them continually feel vulnerable and unsafe, or having to relive the traumatic experience over and over. This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one cant simply choose to turn off.
With the right support from you and other family and friends, though, your loved ones nervous system can become unstuck. With these tips, you can help them to finally move on from the traumatic event and enable your life together to return to normal.
What Is Primary Evidence For A Ptsd Stressor
Primaryevidence is generally considered the most reliablesource for corroborating in-service stressors and should be carefully reviewedwhen corroboration is required. It is typically obtained from theNational Archives and Records Administration or Department of Defense entities, such as service departments, the JSRRC, and the Marine CorpsArchives and Special Collections .
- Command chronologies and war diaries, and
- Monthly summaries and morning reports.
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Who Can Get C
- People who have survived living in concentration camps.
- People who have survived prisoner of war camps.
- Survivors of long-term childhood physical and/or sexual abuse.
- Anyone who has been part of a prositution brothel.
- Survivors of long-term domestic violence.
PTSD and C-PTSD share many of the same symptoms, but literature has pointed to three symptoms exclusive to C-PTSD
- Problems with emotional regulation. You might have a lessned sense of emotional sensitivity. You may lack the ability to respond to situations appropriately or feel you are unable to control your emotions.
- Problems with interpersonal relationships. You may have difficulty feeling close to another person feel disconnected or distant from other people. It may be hard for you to maintain close relationships with family, significant others, or friends.
- Negative self-concept. You may have a poor perception of oneself. You might feel worthless, helpless, shame, guilt, and other problems related to self-esteem.
C-PTSD can be treated with the same evidence-based treatments that are effective for treating PTSD. However, some research suggests that therapy with a focus on reestablishing a sense of control and power for the traumatized person can be especially beneficial.
Some examples of how to treat anxiety include:
While there is no one simple answer, people do recover with a combination of supports. It can take some time to find out what works best for you, but it does get better.
Adherence To Cpap Therapy
Adherence to CPAP therapy is less common than doctors would like, simply because sleeping with the mask on can feel uncomfortable. Individuals with PTSD are to use CPAP therapy consistently, often due to masking discomfort, nightmares, and claustrophobia. Nightmares in particular are associated with higher resistance to CPAP therapy. Individuals with PTSD use CPAP therapy for a shorter amount of time only 3.5 hours on average and on fewer nights overall.
A study of veterans found that among those without PTSD, 70% adhered to CPAP therapy. Among veterans with PTSD, that adherence rate dropped to less than 50 percent.
Non-adherence to CPAP therapy has serious consequences. One study of individuals with PTSD and OSA found that those who followed their CPAP therapy experienced a 75% improvement in PTSD symptoms. For those who didnt, their symptoms got 43 percent worse.
Studies show the more frequently a person uses their CPAP therapy, the more their PTSD symptoms improve. CPAP therapy has an even stronger positive effect among those with severe PTSD, as opposed to mild to moderate symptoms.
Specifically, CPAP therapy can significantly reduce the frequency of nightmares and the distress they cause for individuals with PTSD. CPAP therapy also relieves the daytime sleepiness symptoms of PTSD, improving quality of life.
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Behavioral Approach Instead Of Medication
The fight-or-flight response has undoubtedly proved useful for survival throughout evolution and to this day. Heightened responses to a stressful event also may prime us to recall the event and respond similarly when a new situation appears similar. However, this response may arise even when there is no comparable threat.
The idea is that excessive anxiety right around the time of a traumatic event can consolidate a type of memory called fear conditioning, says Thomas Neylan, MD, UCSF professor of psychiatry and head of PTSD research at the San Francisco VAMC.
In studies of other traumatizing events, psychological debriefing in which the person who has experienced the event talks about it in the immediate aftermath with a trained and sympathetic counselor is more likely to do harm than good. Its better not to dwell on the event.
Charles Marmar, MD, a former UCSF and VAMC researcher who now heads the Department of Psychiatry at New York University, earlier worked with collaborators on a French study showing that the drug propranolol administered within 24 hours of a traumatic event may help people to better manage these memories. Propranolol is a heart drug, but it also blocks the action of stress neurotransmitters on the amygdala, a brain structure with a crucial role in fear conditioning and vigilance.
But within the military, taking a drug to manage ones mental state has the potential to be stigmatizing.
What Are The Effects Of Ptsd
There are many. They may include disturbing flashbacks, trouble sleeping, emotional numbness, angry outbursts, and feelings of guilt. You might also avoid things that remind you of the event, and lose interest in things that you enjoy.
Symptoms usually start within 3 months of a trauma. But they might not show up until years afterward. They last for at least a month. Without treatment, you can have PTSD for years or even the rest of your life. You can feel better or worse over time. For example, a news report about an assault on television may trigger overwhelming memories of your own assault.
PTSD interferes with your life. It makes it harder for you to trust, communicate, and solve problems. This can lead to problems in your relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. It also affects your physical health. In fact, studies show that it raises your risk of heart disease and digestive disorders.
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Emotional And Psychological Trauma
If youve experienced an extremely stressful eventor series of eventsthats left you feeling helpless and emotionally out of control, you may have been traumatized. Psychological trauma often has its roots in childhood, but any event that shatters your sense of safety can leave you feeling traumatized, whether its an accident, injury, the sudden death of a loved one, bullying, domestic abuse, or a deeply humiliating experience. Whether the trauma happened years ago or yesterday, you can get over the pain, feel safe again, and move on with your life.
Ptsd Since Childhood With No Memory Of Trauma
Hello Dr. Schwartz, I am a 21 year old female, and I have recently been tentatively diagnosed with PTSD by my therapist. I was surprised when he brought up PTSD, but I have all the symptoms, lasting as long as I can remember since childhood terrifying nightmares, obsessive flashback thoughts that are vivid and consuming , social anxiety and a history of airplane phobia, history of disturbing childhood play, vigilance and over-alertness to attack, trouble falling and staying asleep, dysthimia, trouble concentrating and bad memory, feeling emotionally detached from loved ones, headaches and sharp stomach pains, etc. The problem is, I have thought and thought about what the trauma might be, and I just dont know. I have had sad and scary things happen to me, but none of them seem like they would be a traumatic trigger. Ive had the above symptoms for as long as I can remember. Is it possible for childhood traumas to have been lost from memory but still have an affect? Or is this probably just a misdiagnosis?
I have no way of being able to state, with any kind of certainty, that you diagnosis is correct or not, although it seems to be a good one. However, I can tell you that it is common to have suffered a trauma early in life and not have any memory of it while retaining all of the symptoms you have properly listed above. In fact, even later in life, a trauma can occur, be forgotten yet the individual experiences all of the typical symptoms.
Best of Luck
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