Also known as PTSD – just how common is it?
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Can hypnotherapy help you overcome post-traumatic stress: PTSD?
We’ll look at some facts and symptoms of PTSD, How you can help someone you know who is suffering from this debilitating issue.
We include a look at everyday stress and ask if this can result in PTSD type symptoms.
You may be wondering what are the available treatments.
And how hypnotherapy could be a good option.
What’s the best thing to do next?
Some Post Traumatic Stress facts
According to *‘patient UK’, 3 in 100 people may develop PTSD in their life time, with 2 out of 3 people getting better without treatment. It’s not unusual for recovery to take several months after the initial incident.
1 out of 3 people experience PTSD symptoms for much longer, and with treatment, they go on to recover and lead a much more fulfilling life. The response to treatment will differ from person to person.
Post-traumatic stress is very often attributed to events such as being mugged or attacked, experiencing a natural catastrophe or watching a terrible incident.
Not everyone is affected in the same way.
For example, let’s say two people from the emergency services attended the same distressing incident. One of them may end their shift, pick up the family shopping on their way home, and get on with their life. The other may have found the experience so traumatic, that they require time off work and counselling.
Most people differ when it comes to their threshold level of trauma.
When is the right time to seek more intensive therapy?
The UK National Institute for clinical excellence * (NICE) recommends that
“non-trauma-focused interventions such as relaxation do not address traumatic memories, should not routinely be offered to people who present with PTSD symptoms within three months of a traumatic event.”
Patient UK advice’s that
“if your symptoms are prolonged and moderate or severe, (PTSD) treatment can help you to adjust. If you have severe symptoms 2-4 weeks after the incident, you are likely to need treatment.”
The importance of empathy for suffers from PTSD
Being told to pull yourself together is not helpful and pretty counter-productive. Understanding even a little about what’s going on in the brain which causes PTSD may be useful, as you work towards getting better
How a friend or family can help someone suffering from PTSD
- Are they showing unusual signs of irritability or flashes of anger?
- Listen to the person without interrupting as they relate their experience
- What to do if their symptoms continue beyond a month:
- If things are getting worse, you could try to encourage them to seek further professional help.
What is the emotional arousal doing?
Whether you’re directly involved or a bystander, witnessing a traumatic event can have a significant effect on the body’s reactions.
The emotional part of the brain (amygdala) alerts the nervous system which produces copious amounts of adrenaline, in preparation for the fight, flight or freeze response.
As the flow of blood is diverted from other areas of the body, its fuels the muscles to quickly react. You may experience an increase in heartbeat, sweating, tummy upset, dry mouth, and trembling
At the peak of a negative experience, the brain takes a snapshot of your emotions and everything in your environment. It uses this information to protect you from any perceived danger in the future.
This raw information gets stored in the brain’s amygdala. Unfortunately, that can mean a miscalculation of risk when everything is safe.
* What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
Memories of traumatic occurrences can severely affect people, and specifically those serving in army battle-conditions. These include:
- ‘flashbacks’ to incidents which can have a significant impact on family life or ability to hold down a job.
- ‘Flashbacks’ – of the event can trigger feelings of anxiety and fear.
- Persistent, recurring thoughts – of the distressing event.
- Being on high alert – or hyper-arousal means you may experience feelings of anger and irritability – insomnia, nightmares, poor concentration and being easily startled.
- Avoidance – staying away from people or places, events or objects that are reminders of the experience.
- Change in outlook – individuals who have PTSD may only be able to envision a bleak future. They might have less interest in activities they used to enjoy, feel emotionally numb or detached from others.
Can everyday stress develop into PTSD symptoms?
Stress is a common experience for most people.
- Good Stress, for example, is those feeling which pushes us by energising a creative drive.
- Survival stress, for instance, can happen when someone faces a real tangible danger. It helps to protect us by giving us the ability to escape or save lives.
- Modern stress could mean dealing with issues at work, in social relationships, limiting self-beliefs, public speaking, or self-expectations. Some people find specific experiences far more stressful than others.
- Chronic Inescapable Stress is where the problem that causes stress cannot be resolved by the person quickly. The problem seems never-ending and therefore persists on a daily basis. There is a feeling of no control.
Traumatic Stress can be indicated when the symptoms are apparent in your daily life.
Visiting your General Practitioner
Medical professionals can prescribe medication. They often do this, as the first line of treatment, for anxiety attacks and depression.
The sufferer may feel more able to cope.
For a person to achieve long-term success, the underlying thoughts and triggers need to be resolved.
Choice of therapies can range from Eye Movement Integration (EMI, IEMT, EMDR), or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Other forms of talking therapies may also be advised, for example, counselling.
Not all hypnotherapists work the same. It’s advisable to have an initial conversation with the therapist, to find out how they work, and what they can offer you.
If it isn’t possible to come to terms with the initial traumatic event, it is possible to remove or ignore the triggers which increase the risk for ‘flashbacks’.
The aim of hypnosis will be to focus on removing the panic and anxious feelings, related to the original event; thus, helping the client to change the inappropriate responses
Quest trained Cognitive Hypnotherapists (QCH)
The approach used by Cognitive Hypnotherapists is evidence based. Drawing upon modern discoveries within hypnotic language, Cognitive theory, NLP, Evolutionary Psychology and Positive Psychology.
As a practitioner, I have trained in the area of Eye Movement Desensitisation (EMI, IEMT) and the REWIND technique.
The approach used by QCH trained hypnotherapists is unique.
If you have a problem with Stress, anxiety or PTSD and would like help to resolve your issue, you may like to think of hypnotherapy as a possible option.
I hope this article helps, even in a small way, to get out there an understanding of this condition. And for anybody suffering from associated symptoms to know that they should not feel shame or guilt because it’s not their fault and they are not alone.
If you’re curious about how Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy could help you contact me directly for an initial no obligation phone conversation.
UK Online Patient.info
UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence
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