PTSD Emotional Foundation & Health
More and more war veterans are returning from active duty with a diagnosis of PTSD. As reported in the November 30th, 2011 edition of “USA TODAY, The Nation’s Newspaper”. Article written by Gregg Zoroya.
(USA TODAY Headline): “Troops with PTSD straining resources, 10,000 new patients per quarter flood the VA”.
(USA TODAY, a few quotes from their article):“Ten thousand combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder flooded into VA hospitals, every three month this year, pushing the number of patients ill with the disorder above 200,000 and straining resources, Department of Veterans Affairs data to be released today show.” “The increase is more than 5% per quarter, according to data obtained by USA TODAY, and it occurs as the VA struggles to move veterans quickly into therapy.” “ ‘Demand for mental health care is only going to continue to grow as thousands more troops return home,’ said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.” “Since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began, 211,819 combat veterans have been treated by the VA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), about 16% of the 1.3 million who fought. But the VA says it sees only about half the veterans from the two wars, because hundreds of thousands seek care elsewhere or not at all.” “PTSD is often characterized by flashbacks in the form of nightmares, a state of hypervigilance or a feeling of emotional numbness to the world.” “The Veterans Administration is becoming overwhelmed with this increase, presently estimated as a 5% increase every three months.”
PTSD has two basic mechanisms. Emotional and Physical. In my clinical experience, I have found conventional medicine seems to only acknowledge the emotional mechanism. When I treat for PTSD, I have found best success when treating both the emotional and physical mechanisms together.
PTSD affects the Amygdala of the brain. Some medical sources suggest PTSD shrinks the amygdala. Other sources suggest PTSD causes the amygdala to become hyperactive. (1) The amygdala is an almond shaped mass of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. It is a limbic system structure that is involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. The amygdala is involved in the processing of emotions such as fear, anger and pleasure. The amygdala is also responsible for determining what memories are stored and where the memories are stored in the memory system of the brain. This determination is based on how huge an emotional response an event invokes.
PTSD also affects the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Adrenal Glands. (1) These are the systems the human body uses for its “Fight or Flight” response. In PTSD, “the sympathetics and adrenals are on constant overload.” When the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands are on constant overload, the PTSD victim will have constant nervous tension that cannot be explained or treated by mental health therapy alone. Unfortunately, in my research and personal clinical experience, most conventionally treated PTSD patients are treated only through mental health therapy, and if not responsive to these therapies, are then prescribed appropriate anti-depressant medications.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS:
Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) can address both the amygdala issue, as well as the sympathetic and adrenal issues. (1) With the amygdala issue, the objective is to allow the traumatic information into explicit memory with reduced emotional load. Then the patient can recognize, verbalize, categorize and finally release the PTSD event. In some serious cases, if the patient is currently seeing a mental health specialist; counseling treatment should allow a more speedy and positive outcome. With the sympathetics and adrenal issues, treatment protocols are designed specifically to quiet down the sympathetic and adrenal systems. There is less unexplained nervous tension when the “fight or flight” systems of the human body have been quieted down.
“FSM is a non-traumatic way to deal with traumatic memory. The patients don’t experience stress memories during treatment..” “Report feeling substantially better and ‘different’ in a way that’s hard for them to describe at the time.” “When they return the next week, they describe feeling ‘more free,’ or ‘more open,’ ‘less upset,’ ‘less reactive.’” “Report less rumination, better sleep, reduced or eliminated intrusive memories.” “Able to start taking the next steps to address whatever it is they’ve been struggling with.” (1)
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines trauma as something that is threatening to the self or someone close to you, accompanied by intense fear, horror, or helplessness. IE: Severe stress beyond the range of normal human experience. Half the general population will experience a traumatic stress in their lives. IE: Rape, molestation, abuse, assault, combat, kidnaping, and accidents. 15% of those will develop post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD affects 8% of the general population at some time in their lives. It is eight times more common than cancer or schizophrenia. (1)
PTSD causes physiological trauma, leading to actual changes to the Solar Plexus, Sympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system, Brain stem, Adrenal glands, Hindbrain, Midbrain, and Forebrain. Fears of different types are also stored in various organ systems, as is well documented in Chinese Medicine. (1)
Mainstream medicine’s usual treatment of choice is antidepressant / psychiatric pharmaceutical drugs. In early 2011, documentation from various reliable medical watch groups, have started to surface, documenting the enormous widespread (multi-billion dollar industry) over-use of the various forms of psychiatric drugs, and strongly question their efficacy:
Citizens Commission on Human Rights Seattle
Alternative Mental Health
Numerous articles, search under: “psychiatric drugs”
Some medical professionals will say “it is all in your head, there is nothing wrong with you.” Yes, while PTSD does traumatize, then change the way the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain function, it is more than a simple “it is all in your head” function. The changes are absolute. How else can anyone explain why a PTSD victim, when placed in the same situation again, starts to tremble exceedingly. It is NOT something they can control. Psychiatric drugs do not heal the damaged neuron pathways of the brain, it only subdues the emotions. But PTSD affects far more than the brain alone. PTSD patient’s sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands are on “constant overload.” (1)
PTSD traumatizes, then changes, the way the Autonomic Nervous System functions. Think of the automatic nervous system as “automatic.” If you touch a hot stove, the burn signal does not travel to your brain, where your brain processes the “hot stove” input, then sends back a signal to your hand to withdraw your hand. No. There is a much faster way to withdraw your hand. The hot stove signal goes through your autonomic nervous system, specifically the sympathetic component. The hot stove signal travels to your spinal cord, where there are afferent and efferent (input and output) portions within the structure of the spinal cord, that bypasses the need to send the signal to the brain for computation. Way too slow. Instead, the sympathetic nervous system instantly sends a signal back to your arm to “withdraw!” your hand. It is “automatic.” The Sympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system is the “fight or flight” reaction. The Parasympathetic component is responsible to allow your body to relax, to digest food, to use the bathroom, etc.
Adrenal glands: In close concert with the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” response, the adrenal glands produce epinephrine (commonly called adrenalin), which is the hormone needed for instantaneous fight or flight reactions. In chronic PTSD, the adrenal glands have been overproducing too much adrenaline, too often. The muscles of the patient are continuously tight, because the body is ready to “fight or flight” immediately. (1)
Because PTSD causes physiologic changes to the sympathetic nervous system, in addition to the adrenal glands, both systems must be treated together. In addition, as before mentioned, parts of the brain were also affected, as well as potentially other organ systems. Treatment of PTSD, must “reprogram” all of these nervous systems, hormonal systems, and organ systems. (1)
Taking a psychiatric drug, and / or painkillers, does not heal the body. If treatment is confined only to “masking” the trauma and pain, the body will continue to “compensate” however it can. The longer proper healing is delayed, the more the body will compensate, then compensate again, and again, until many “layers” of ill health have developed in the victim’s physiologic and psychologic makeup. (1)
1. The American Physiological Association defines PTSD trauma as something that is threatening to the self or someone close to you, accompanied by intense fear, horror, or helplessness.
a) Severe stress beyond the range of normal human experience.
2. Half the general population will experience a traumatic stress in their lives.
a) Rape, molestation, abuse, assault, combat, kidnaping, accidents.
3. 15% of those will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
4. PTSD affects 8% of the general population at some time in their lives.
5. Eight times more common than cancer or schizophrenia.
1. Exposure to psychological trauma or stressor.
2. One symptom in the category of intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks.
3. Three symptoms from avoidant category.
a) Avoiding thinking of the event.
b) Decreased interest in things.
c) Feeling cut off from others.
d) Feeling emotionally numb.
e) Sense of foreshortened future.
4. Two symptoms from hyper arousal category.
a) Startle response.
b) Hyper vigilance.
d) Decreased concentration.
e) Decreased sleep.
1. Some patients need or respond well to the PTSD protocols, but do not have a diagnosis of PTSD.
a) History of early childhood stress, abuse, rape, surgery, auto accident, other trauma.
(1) Frequency Specific Microcurrent professional medical training seminars for doctors: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011