POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) has been extensively researched as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, and is considered to be an evidence-based therapy. EMDR is a powerful and effective therapy for the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy incorporates eye movements or other bilateral stimulation into a comprehensive approach that processes and releases information trapped in the mind and body, freeing us from disturbing images and body sensations, debilitating emotions, and restrictive beliefs.
In addition to the treatment of PTSD, EMDR is also used to treat the psychological effects of smaller traumas manifesting in symptoms of depression, anxiety, phobias, low self-esteem, creativity blocks, and relationship difficulties. Not only does healing occur much more rapidly than in traditional therapy, but as a result of EMDR's clearing of emotional and physical blockages, many people also experience a sense of joy, openness, and deepened connection with others.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. They may worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.
Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. People with GAD don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. All anxiety disorders may relate to a difficulty tolerating uncertainty and therefore many people with GAD try to plan or control situations. Many people believe worry prevents bad things from happening so they view it is risky to give up worry. At times, people can struggle with physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches.
When their anxiety level is mild to moderate or with treatment, people with GAD can function socially, have full and meaningful lives, and be gainfully employed.
Medication alone and psychotherapy alone can relieve depressive symptoms. A combination of medication and psychotherapy has been associated with significantly higher rates of improvement in more severe, chronic, and complex presentations of depression.
Coping with the loss of a close friend or family member may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face. When we lose a spouse, sibling or parent our grief can be particularly intense. Loss is understood as a natural part of life, but we can still be overcome by shock and confusion, leading to prolonged periods of sadness or depression. The sadness typically diminishes in intensity as time passes, but grieving is an important process in order to overcome these feelings.
As a psychotherapist with an interest in trauma and two years experience immersed in residential addiction treatment, I have learned that many people who have suffered the effects of trauma use addictive substances or behaviors in an effort to relieve their pain. Brain research indicates that people with childhood trauma have difficulty with self-soothing, more activated sympathetic nervous systems, and lower pain tolerance. Addiction may also be passed down from one generation to the next.