What Is EMDR Therapy and How Can It Help You?  by Brooke Chaplan

Those with post-traumatic stress disorder undergo a wide variety of symptoms that can interfere with their everyday life. EMDR therapy is intended to help reduce the effects of PTSD on the body. In fact, there have been positive clinical outcomes showing this therapy’s effectiveness for treating addictions, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and even OCD.

What is EMDR Therapy? 

EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy. This extensively researched therapeutic practice has been proven to help people recover from trauma and PTSD-related symptoms. It’s classified as a psychotherapy method and is notated as an effective treatment offering by the NHS, American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, American Psychological Association, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and so many more. 

What Makes EMDR Therapy Different? 

When you look at the treatment options for traumatic disorders like PTSD, many require in-depth conversing with a licensed therapist. Many patients will spend hours talking about their distressing issues and even complete homework between their therapy sessions.

EMDR therapy doesn’t work like that. Rather, it’s specifically designed to allow the brain to resume its natural healing process. However, it does include an element of talking therapy to help heal.

EMDR Therapy and Your Brain 

The human brain has a natural process for handling traumatic memories and events that happen in our lives. It utilises communication between the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. The amygdala is the brain’s alarm for a stressful event. The hippocampus helps the brain to learn and share past memories regarding danger and safety. Lastly, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for analysing what’s happening and controlling your emotions and behaviours. 

Who Can Benefit from EMDR Therapy? 

EMDR therapy can be beneficial for a wide variety of patients, including both children and adults. It’s been known to treat individuals who have the following conditions (and more): 

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating Disorders 
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Personality Disorders 
  • PTSD 
  • Sexual Assault Victims 

Basically, anyone who has experienced a traumatic incident in their life can benefit from this particular type of therapy treatment. In fact, most individuals are able to overcome their symptoms in just a few EMDR sessions as compared to ongoing psychotherapy sessions. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic incident, it may be difficult to move on with your life.

Fortunately, EMDR therapy can be a great solution to help your brain and body successfully process the incident and move on.

EMDR therapy is recommended for all types of patients, regardless of age or gender. 

This article was written by Brooke Chaplan, writer.

How Car Accidents Affect Mental Health And What To Do About It: by Stubbs Law Firm

(image: Will Creswick: Unsplash).

Car crashes can be some of the lowest moments in any individual’s life. In the aftermath of any accident, it’s common for medics to immediately focus on any physical injuries sustained by the victims. However, in addition to physical wounds, many victims also suffer psychological trauma that may last long after their physical injuries heal.

Studies by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs reveal that more than 20% of car accident victims develop mental trauma, while approximately 10% of victims develop full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. This psychological trauma can significantly lower the victim’s quality of life if not addressed.

Car accidents can affect your mental health in the following ways.

1. Emotional distress

Many people struggle with severe anxiety and emotional distress in the few weeks and months after the accident. Recurring nightmares, fearfulness, and avoidance of any form of vehicle travel are common psychological distress symptoms in the aftermath of a car crash. This psychological trauma can be hard to shake off, especially when physical injuries are permanent.

2. Anger and mood swings

Drivers may struggle with guilt and sadness, especially if they were responsible for the crash. Passengers and other victims may channel their anger and frustrations at the driver for causing the crash. Negative thoughts can affect the victim’s relationships at work, home, and school.

3. Depression

High-stress levels can quickly plunge a car accident victim into depression which causes many people to seek refuge in drugs and alcohol abuse. Common signs of depression may include sleeping disorders, appetite loss, suicidal tendencies, and emotional outbursts. Post-car crash depression can be challenging to diagnose and treat without the involvement of a mental wellness specialist. 

4. Regression in children

Psychological trauma affects kids in many ways that may affect their mental and physical development. Some common symptoms of regression and mental trauma in children may include loss of concentration, poor grades in school, and bed-wetting.

Ways to improve your mental health state post-accident

It’s necessary to seek professional help if the mental trauma lingers over a few weeks and affects your social and family relationship.

Therapy

Recovering from mental trauma after an accident becomes easier when you seek professional help. A psychologist will guide you on the next steps and what medication to take depending on the severity of your condition. Group therapy with other accident victims can go a long way in relieving stress and helping you ease back to your normal life.

Seek legal help

While victims may receive compensation for physical injuries sustained during car crashes, insurance companies may downplay the psychological impact of such events, especially for victims who don’t suffer physical injuries. Psychological trauma can impact your ability to work and provide for your family hence the need to seek compensation through personal injury claims. Your compensation may help pay for therapy and offset any lost income from car crashes. When seeking legal help from an attorney, provide accurate details of the crash and include medical details from your doctor’s consultation.

Stubbs Law Firm is vastly experienced in various legal solutions, from personal injury to insurance disputes. We help car crash victims get justice, and appropriate compensation for all injuries suffered in car accidents.

This non-sponsored article was written by Stubbs Law Firm.

4 Ways EMDR Therapy Can Help You Cope With Anxiety by Rachelle Wilber

(image: Unsplash)
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Mental health issues are very common and you may be dealing with anxiety and depression or past traumas. Whether you are worried about your finances, family problems, or other issues, anxiety can sometimes feel overwhelming. To cope with this, more people are turning to EMDR (Eye movement desensitisation and processing) therapy and getting surprisingly effective results. If you are searching for answers as to how to deal with anxiety, here are four ways EMDR therapy may help.

Verbalise Less About Trauma

If you are a person who does not like to talk about your anxiety, EMDR can be very beneficial in that it does not rely on you having to talk about painful memories or situations. Instead, it lets you use your imagination to focus instead on happier thoughts and feelings, helping to reduce your anxiety- although you will have to face your fears at the right time too, in order to heal.

Reduces Physical Problems

When you feel anxious and depressed, your body suffers as much as your mind. As a result, you may find yourself experiencing stomach cramps, headaches, a rapid heartbeat, and other similar problems. EMDR therapy has been shown to provide relief from what are known as somatic symptoms. When used regularly, these symptoms are greatly reduced or eliminated, helping to ease your mind even more.

Helps You Regain Control

When you are anxious, you generally feel as if you have no control over your situation. EMDR therapy changes that by helping you regain control of your emotions. To do so, it reduces the intensity associated with negative emotions and past trauma, and also helps lessen the intensity of any negative or disturbing images you may be replaying over and over in your mind.

Improves Processing of Information

EMDR therapy helps you improve how your brain processes information related to traumatic events. Instead of talking about the events that trigger your anxiety over and over, you instead are encouraged to use your imagination to process your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and emotions. By doing so, your therapist can help you create a mindset that is more tranquil, calmer and less stressful to you. It can take time to heal from trauma and to process it, so you will need to stick with the sessions to get the full benefits.

Rather than let anxiety rule your life day after day, consider speaking to a therapist about how EMDR therapy may be beneficial to your life.

This article was written by writer Rachelle Wilber.

PTSD Therapies And Which One Might Be Right for You by Kara Masterson.

(image: Nick Hewings, unsplash)

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is one of the most commonly recognised mental health issues because most people endure at least one traumatic experience in their lifetime. Though it’s commonly associated with war veterans, PTSD can occur from enduring the trauma of an abusive relationship, ill health, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job.

Thankfully, there are many PTSD therapies you can choose from in order to experience healing. 

Prolonged Exposure Therapy 

When people struggle with a form of PTSD, avoidance is one of the most common approaches. After all, no one wants to revisit the trauma. However, that trauma impacts the way a person lives in the future. By facing the trauma and incorporating activities such as deep breathing exercises, you’ll decrease the amount of power that traumatic event holds over you. Exposure comes in a number of ways- but should be done with a qualified therapist. One example of exposure is to record yourself as you talk about the event that traumatised you. As you listen to the recording, you can do a calming activity such as colouring in order to help you cope and heal with the story of your trauma. 

EMDR Therapy 

EMDR stands for “eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing”, and it’s been instrumental in healing people who’ve dealt with traumatic events. Actress Sandra Bullock famously discussed how she used the assistance of an EMDR therapist in order to deal with various traumatic events in her lifetime. By thinking about the event as you concentrate on something your therapist is doing, you can help to associate a positive experience with that traumatic one. Therapists use tools such as flashing lights, sounds, and movement in order to help with the healing journey. In order for it to be effective, consistent sessions for a few months are the best line of action, with a therapist you trust. 

Cognitive Processing Therapy 

Cognitive Processing Therapy is a PTSD treatment method that allows you to sit down and talk with your therapist about the traumatic event (or events) you’ve endured. You’ll need to process how you feel like it impacted your life. Once you’ve talked through it all, you’re tasked with the responsibility of writing it all down. The act of journaling helps to stimulate your mind to ponder on ways you can cope and adjust in order to move forward in the most abundant manner. Your therapist serves as a guide to help you process and heal with the truest version of the story of what happened to you. 

Stress Inoculation Training 

This method for healing your PTSD is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. With this training method, you’ll learn various techniques such as self-massages in order to relax and get rid of the stress that’s associated with your trauma. You don’t need to be in a private space to do this type of training. It can be done on your own or within the safe space of a group. 

As the conversation surrounding mental health shifts, don’t be afraid or ashamed to get help. You don’t have to silently endure the negative impact of PTSD. While therapy requires you to show up and do the work, you can move past your trauma and experience healing. 

This article was written by writer Kara Masterson.

On my Therapy Journey to Being Free: I Choose Life. By Eleanor

Image: notsalmon.com

I started back in therapy consistently (weekly), 2 months ago in August after reoccurrence of panic attacks. I have been working with a really brilliant therapist for the past two years who is a specialist in trauma and EMDR therapy. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and is a way to help you process and confront traumatic memories, with the aim of reducing their impact on your life. Its a very good therapy for people struggling from PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). Although I do not have the full disorder, I do have some PTSD symptoms according to a therapy questionnaire, from being sectioned and in hospital in 2014 and other traumas that occurred around the same time.

My PTSD symptoms include:

– Panic attacks (palpitations, sweating, negative thoughts, fight or flight adrenaline and needing to cancel feared event) triggered by certain situations which remind me of the past traumatic events. This includes fear of medical appointments now including going to hospitals for myself or the drs surgery.

– Social anxiety- what will they think of me?

-Other fears over traumatic events – i can get triggered and feel flooded with panic.

So, as you can see, a lot to deal with and unpack in therapy. And figuring out my identity as a 33 year old woman with bipolar disorder (thankfully stable) and what the future could hold.

I have to say that finding an excellent therapist has been a lifesaver. I look back to where I was 2 months ago and generally (without jinxing it) my nervous system has calmed down a lot, I have been anxious but able to enter certain situations I couldn’t have done 8 weeks ago. My medications keep my mind stable and my husband and family are a wonderful support too. I love my work and can do it from home. I am really lucky in so many ways.

It is still a major work in progress for me, getting back to the person I once was. I prefer to work from home and I also am unable to go out as much alone as I would want. However, I am starting to go out more with others and I will keep working to find freedom from fear for myself.

If you’re feeling stuck or alone or fearful, reach for help. I have been very lucky to have help with funding my therapy sessions (shout out to my incredible parents) but they are so needed. I know not everyone has this.. the waiting lists for the NHS are so long and I was on them for years without support. My local borough also does not fund trauma therapy which was frustrating at the time.

Thanks for reading the update, feel free to share your therapy experiences with me,

i feel quite emotional writing and sharing this with you! And remember- to keep reaching, growing, and above all healing. Healing is so important for our mental health if you can access it,

Eleanor x

PS- while writing this blog. I was listening to the Sugababes originals Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan (MKS) sing No regrets which has the lyrics.. ‘I choose life’ . Listen here to this live version (not an ad, genuine love): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfdYE7BkEsw

The Road to Recovery: On PTSD, Trauma and the Future… by Eleanor for Mental Health Awareness Week

Trigger Warning: sexual assault, details of assault and severe mental illness

Hi everyone,

Its been a while but I thought I would put type to keyboard and write a blog for more mental health awareness.

Since my book was published, I haven’t written many follow up personal blogs, purely because the launch of my life story into the public domain felt overwhelming and scary. 6 months on, I am used to it being out there but I have been working hard in EMDR trauma therapy to help myself.

See, the truth is that right now the Bipolar Disorder for me is stable and under control on my medicines. I still get side effects- weight gain, dry mouth and thirst, but my mind is generally healthy in terms of the Bipolar- no mania or depression. Anxiety and panic yes but Bipolar, not really at the moment.

Yet, almost lurking unseen after I left hospital in 2014 and began my recovery was the fact I was traumatised by my experiences of going into psychosis (losing touch with reality via delusions, false beliefs) and my experiences when being sectioned. I will just give an overview as the rest is in my book- but this included- being restrained, being attacked by other patients and seeing them self harm, being injected with Haloperidol (an anti psychotic) in front of both male and female nurses in a part of the body I didn’t want, being chased round A and E by security men in genuine fear of my life, dealing with lawyers and going to tribunals while ill, thinking I had been abused by family and was locked up by a criminal gang and fearing my family were against me. My bipolar mind could not cope.

Just before this all happened, I was very vulnerable and was sexually assaulted by a man I knew through friends and all of this trauma stayed with me.

I did what most of us with severe mental illness and assault survivors do- I tried to rebuild my life. I tried to work in schools helping children with special educational needs. I tried to work for a mental health charity as a peer support worker for people like me. I began to blog and write and share as therapy- from charities to national newspapers. Bit by bit, as I wrote out what I has been through, I started to slowly heal. But, the symptoms of the extreme panic remained. I lost jobs because of it. I became depressed. I started dating but I often had to cancel dates- (before I met Rob, my husband who listened to me talk about it all and didn’t bat too much of an eyelid.)

I was in a state of flux, a state of transition. I knew I had trauma still living in my brain and body. I had been physically and sexually assaulted, I had been mentally violated- I had been sectioned twice in a few months and now I was sent home to try and rebuild my life as a 25 year old single woman.

I share this important blog, not to share that I am a victim- because I am not. I want to share that I believe for about 5 years, I have been suffering with some of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My therapist believes the same.

The panic attacks that grip me with fear before work or the day ahead when I have to leave the house. The fear of going out or travelling at night alone. The fear of being taken advantage of and having to trust men again (thank you to my husband for helping ease this pain). The fear of exploitation, of losing my mind, of not trusting mental health professionals any more.

My panic attacks get triggered by certain events- it could be having to speak about my life or book, or seeing people I don’t feel comfortable with, of feeling exposed, of worrying about others judgement. I am still healing from all I have been through and experienced. The PTSD means that I have to take medication (Propranolol) to function sometimes. It means that I experience flashbacks in my body- I feel gripped with fear, I get chest pain and shallow breathing and I start to cry. I had one the other day at 4am….. thank the lord for meds so I could calm down and sleep.

My therapist is incredible and we have been working since October to process the roots of my trauma and panic disorder. We use a combination of rapid eye processing with talking therapy which helps to tackle each and every trauma- and we are still at the tip of the iceberg. It takes time to process the deep rooted experiences in my brain- we are getting there slowly.

For me, in many ways my future is uncertain. My medicines have long term physical side effects. Motherhood will be more of a challenge due to medication and my mental health- I am still processing the choices I will have to make, which I will write in another blog.

I want to end this blog by saying- if you know someone with anxiety, PTSD, another anxiety disorder or something like bipolar or schizophrenia- Be Kind. You never know what someone has gone through.

The NHS waiting lists for help are too long, services are too underfunded- all my treatment has been private provided by my family due to being stuck on a list for years. I am lucky, not everyone is. 

I hope this blog gives some information about my experiences of PTSD since leaving hospital 6 years ago. It is by far the most personal thing I have posted since publishing my book but I hope it helps you feel less alone.

Positivity and Hope are key.  Meeting my husband and my therapist changed my life for the better as I slowly rebuild and find an equilibrium again.

Love,

Eleanor x

We are 4! On Be Ur Own Light’s Fourth Blog Anniversary by Eleanor

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Its Today- 1st March 2020 and Be Ur Own Light is 4 years old! (cue the streamers!)

I still remember starting this blog as an outlet for my fears, thoughts and emotions dealing with my bipolar and anxiety. The blog started as a way to tell my friends and family how I was feeling and has evolved into working with guest bloggers and now brands/ partners on sponsored wellness posts too! Writing the blog and sharing thoughts has been so therapeutic and it has taken me on  a journey that I could not have imagined.

In November 2019, I published my first book Bring me to Light with Trigger Publishing which is the book of my life story with bipolar disorder, anxiety and my life in general (travelling, going to drama school, starting a career as a writer). The blog has also grown so much this year and is currently nominated in the Mental Health Blog Awards for Blogger of the Year, thank you to our nominee!

Additionally, Vuelio awarded us as a Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog for the second year running and interviewed me (Eleanor) about working as a blogger!  Thanks also to Feedspot.com and My Therapy App for listing us in their mental health blog lists too for social anxiety and bipolar!

This year, I have written about World Bipolar Day for the Centre of Mental Health, about my search for EMDR therapy on the NHS, living with depression in winter, about writing my book and new life changes (getting married) and 2020 new year round up with hopes for the future. We also promoted mental health campaigns such as Shout UK text line (founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and Meghan),  Christmas 4 CAMHS, Time to Talk Day and Mental Health Awareness Week. Additionally, I spoke in Essex with my Dad about our joint story with bipolar for the Jami Mental Health Awareness Shabbat and we also spoke at Limmud Conference in Birmingham!

This winter I did some interviews for the book which can be seen on the Book tab above and also received some lovely reviews. It was amazing to appear in Happiful Magazine’s bonus wellness Mag this January (edited by campaigner Natasha Devon) and to write for Glamour and Bipolar UK. I also enjoyed being interviewed for the Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle! Hopefully at some point I will do podcasts about it too and more interviews.

From March 2019-2020, the blog has attracted wonderful and talented guest bloggers wanting to spread their messages about mental health and wellness.

We have also worked with the following brands on sponsored and gifted posts and hope to work with many more this next year :  YuLife, Nutra Tea, Essential Olie, Loveitcoverit on mental health apps, I-sopod floatation tanks, Core Wellness Maryland, Wellbeing Escapes Holidays.

My guest bloggers have written about their recovery and living with mental illnesses, as well as advice on how to improve your mental health. There a posts for whether you are going through a divorce, a bereavement, are stressed or have anxiety. We also had posts with people’s first hand experiences of mental illness including a brave post about being a sibling of someone with mental illness and one of living with an eating disorder. Furthermore, Be Ur Own Light has also covered World Mental Health Day and Time to Talk Day this year, featuring personal mental health stories as a way to raise awareness and fight misconceptions.

We have also covered new books coming out, a mental health fashion brand and a song about social anxiety, as well as posts about different therapies to help you.

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Thank you to my amazing guest bloggers (non sponsored) March 2019-2020 for your fantastic content:   

Ashley Smith- How Massage Therapy helps Anxiety Disorders

Emily Bartels- 5 tips for a mental health emergency plan

Dale Vernor- Understanding PTSD by Gender 

Tan at Booknerd Tan- How audio books and walking has helped anxiety

Emma Sturgis- Loving yourself, tips for a body positive life

EM Training Solutions- How to maintain mental health at work

David Morin- On social anxiety and talking to others

Lyle Murphy- How equine therapy can help those with mental health issues

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust- Best of Musicals event

A Time to Change Hypnotherapy-  Hypnotherapy for self esteem

Nu View Treatment Center- The connection between anxiety and substance abuse

Shout UK- Royal family launches mental health text line

Mental Health Foundation – Mental Health Awareness Week  May 2019 Body Image

Emerson Blake- Coping with the stress of becoming a single parent

The Worsley Centre- A guide to therapies and finding the right one for you

Byron Donovan at Grey Matter – How I recovered from depression to form a fashion brand 

Luci Larkin at Wooley and Co Law- How to reduce stress and maintain mental health during a divorce

Nat Juchems- How to keep your loved ones memory alive after bereavement

Emily Ilett- on her book ‘The Girl who Lost her Shadow’

Mark Simmonds- an interview about his book ‘Breakdown and Repair’ with Trigger Publishing

Curtis Dean- 5 facts about music for stress relief

Robert Tropp- How quitting illegal drugs helps anxiety in the long term

Aaron James- the difference between psychotherapy and counselling

Dr Justine Curry- 4 ways to help a friend with bipolar disorder

Christmas 4 CAMHS campaign for children in childrens mental health wards

Ani O- 4 ways to ease the fear of doctors appointments

Katherine Myers- Ways that spending time outdoors can improve your mental health

Anita- 5 ways to lift you out the slump of seasonal depression

Chloe Walker- taking care of your child’s mental health

CBT Toronto- how to deal with social anxiety and depression

Katy- a true story with anorexia and OCD

Vanessa Hill- Life changing habits to bring into the new year

Rachel Leycroft- Expressing social anxiety through songwriting

Shira- Living with a sibling with mental illness: the meaning of normal

Capillus- 10 signs you may have an anxiety disorder

Brooke Chaplan- When therapy isn’t enough 

Jami Mental Health Awareness Shabbat 2020 

Mike Segall- Time to Talk Day- 9 years undiagnosed, my story with bipolar disorder

Jasveer Atwal- Living with PCOS and managing mental health

Leigh Adley at Set Your Mind Free- How CBT helps children with anxiety

Lizzie Weakley- How to heal and move forward when you have an eating disorder

Sofie- Living with an eating disorder

Thank you so much to all of you and I am excited to see what 2020-21 brings for the blog!

Be Ur Own Light continues to be read globally and I love receiving your messages about the blogs and finding new writers too.

Heres to a 2020 of positive mental health, of fighting the stigma against mental illness and creating a positive and supportive community here. 

Happy 4th birthday Be Ur Own Light!  ❤ May this be an enlightening year of growth for us.

 

Love and Light always,

Eleanor    

xxx

Understanding PTSD by Gender: Guest blog by Dale Vernor

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(image: Kennington Osteopaths)

Post traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD can occur in a person who has experienced or been a witness to an event that is traumatic enough to affect their lives in a negative way. Witnessing a death, a serious accident, war, abuse, being a victim of a crime, natural disasters and childhood trauma can all be causes of PTSD. Many people only associate PTSD with war and veterans, but the truth is an estimated 3.5 percent of the US population suffers from PTSD.

Research has shown that there are differences in the brain when it comes to how men and women process and deal with PTSD. Science is admittedly behind on truly understanding the gender differences when it comes to PTSD and how it is expressed, but there have been some findings.

Men and women respond to stress differently. Men are more likely to respond with a fight-or-flight response in a stressful situation and women are more likely to use a more calming response known as tend-and-befriend.

This is an emotion-focused coping mechanism. It should be noted that there is so little data that stereotypes should not be formed, however, there is enough data to support differences in the genders.

PTSD in Men

Men are more likely to have PTSD due to combat trauma, trauma from natural disasters and disasters caused by human force, some sort of violence and accidents. Based on studies and research men actually suffer more traumatic life events than women on average, however, only 5-6% of men will experience lifetime PTSD. Lifetime PTSD is less prevalent in men than in women. Double the rate of women will experience lifetime PTSD at 10-12%.

PTSD in Women

Women are at a substantially higher risk for PTSD than men. Biology and psychology play a part in why those differences exist. Women are more likely to experience what is considered “high-impact trauma” at a younger age than men.

Women are more likely to experience sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault that leads to their PTSD. It is sexual trauma that puts women at a higher risk for PTSD than men.

Women who suffer from PTSD will also tend to do so longer in comparison to men; on average 4 years to 1. When it comes to seeking help for PTSD women are more likely to seek support for their illness amongst a group. They tend to look for social support.

Symptoms of PTSD Same in Men and Women

The women and men who have this condition often express similar symptoms. Men may display their symptoms in a more aggressive expression where women have shown to retreat internally and avoid the outside world.

Some of the symptoms of someone suffering from PTSD are:

Re-experiencing nightmares, having flashbacks and frightening thoughts that appear real, avoiding people, places and things that may remind a person of the trauma and avoiding feelings and thoughts to cope with the trauma, signs of heighten anger and anxiety expressed physiologically, being hyper-vigilant against threats, difficulty sleeping, experiencing an onslaught of negative feelings, thoughts and judgments, unreasonable blaming of yourself, excessive guilt and a negative perception of yourself in the world, and disinterest in regular every-day activities.

PTSD and Substance Abuse

According to the U.S. National Library of medicine 50-66 % of people who have PTSD simultaneously suffer from addiction. What begins as a means to cope with the symptoms of PTSD, which are distressing, usually turns into a full-blown addiction.

Substances like drugs and alcohol can decrease anxiety in the moment, escape the pain , distract from negative emotions and increase pleasure in the short term. The coping mechanism of substance abuse affects both women and men. There are dual diagnosis treatment centers for people who are suffering from PTSD and substance abuse.

Post traumatic stress disorder, wherever you live in the world and whatever gender you are, can be hard to cope with. Please seek support if you need it and know you are not alone.

This post was written by Dale, a freelance writer specialising in mental health, based in the USA.  He can be found on Twitter https://twitter.com/DaleVernor

4 Helpful Treatment Options for those who suffer from PTSD- Guest post by Rachelle Wilber

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that affects people who’ve experienced major trauma events. Common among military service members who’ve fought in combat zones, PTSD can also affect people who’ve lived through other terrifying episodes that have resulted in physical and/or mental harm. If you believe that you suffer from PTSD, you can work with a therapist and try any of these four different treatment methods to overcome the condition.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy works to alter thought patterns that often cause people to relive the traumatic events in their minds. As Mayo Clinic states, the goal of cognitive behavioural therapy is to make you more aware of negative or inaccurate thoughts so that you can adopt a healthier perspective of challenging situations and respond in a better way. Undergoing this therapy may also help prevent relapses that could jeopardise your mental health.

Exposure Therapy

Your therapist may also try exposing you to things that trigger traumatic thoughts as a way to alleviate them. This is done in a safe way, and your mental health care provider will be there to help you process your thoughts and feelings and give you tools to overcome your anguish. You may be shown pictures, see writings or even revisit a place where the traumatic episode occurred. Gradually, these negative thoughts should lose their power and cause you less mental grief the more that you’re exposed to them.

Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Also known as EMDR therapy, this treatment method involves recalling distressing thoughts while a therapist’s fingers move in front of your face. You’ll be asked to follow these finger movements with your eyes while discussing your feelings, however, you generally won’t be required to talk about your thoughts in great detail.

Some therapists use foot or hand tapping or musical notes instead of finger movements in front of the face. This more active approach to therapy is intended to minimise the effects of bad thoughts.

Medication

Medication is sometimes prescribed by mental health professionals to work in conjunction with other types of therapy. Prozac, Zoloft and similar antidepressant medications are formulated to boost serotonin levels in the brain to alleviate negative thoughts and emotions. Your doctor may also prescribe Depakote to stabilize your moods. Prazosin often works well in stopping nightmares.

You don’t have to continue letting PTSD dominate a large part of your life. Seeking professional help and undergoing any of these therapies will likely give you positive results.

 

This article was written by freelance writer Rachelle Wilber from San Diego, California

On Complex PTSD and my recovery: Guest post by Lydia for World Mental Health Day

ptsdlydia

Hi there, I’m Lydia a 20-year-old youtuber and film maker, I’ve been battling my mental health conditions for a little over five years. This article is about C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and how I’ve found recovery, but first, what is C-PTSD?

C-PTSD, is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder that stems from repetitive exposure to a traumatic experience, it is also commonly diagnosed alongside BPD (borderline personality disorder), I was diagnosed with C-PTSD around 3 years ago after witnessing a suicide and multiple suicide attempts, without going into too much detail it was really hard, and has taken me until this year (2018) to even begin to process what happened.

So, let’s talk about recovery, there a massive misconception that it isn’t possible to recover from any type of PTSD, however it totally is possible to  find recovery. My recovery really got started this year when I made the decision to privately access EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which was without question the most beneficial type of therapy I’ve tried.

Following this there was a major incident in which my mental stability declined rapidly I was subsequently detained in a psychiatric hospital for a little under a month, following my release, I decided to take control of my mental health and help myself.

The first thing I did to help myself was cut off from everybody negative, which I realised I had to do, because I really was at a point where I could have reached crisis point if things didn’t change. I moved from one end of the country to the other, I blocked everybody’s number, Facebook and Twitter, it was a drastic move but so important and to anybody who struggling with their mental health I’d wholeheartedly recommend doing this, just cut yourself off from everybody negative, you don’t have to justify it, your health and welfare should be the most important thing in your life.

The next thing I did was go to my GP and re-start my medication. Sometimes you just need an extra push, psychiatric medication can’t change your life circumstances, but it can help you heal. This was a pretty big decision but it was one I needed to make.

The final thing I did was to take a break and find a hobby.  I went on holiday with my family, I started creating more positive content on YouTube while also documenting my recovery which has been one of the most helpful things I’ve done/ This is because I’m a part of a really supportive community on YouTube, and just reading comments like “you gave me hope” means so much.

The big move I made this year was to write and release my own book on the journey I’ve been on, and I wouldn’t change it because it’s made me who I am today.

After a few years of complete hell, I’ve turned my life around and I’m certainly in a much more positive place, things change and life changes for the better. My overall message for you all would be to never lose hope, just hold on because if you put in the time and work things will change, however don’t expect people to change things for you. Hold on and find recovery.

 

Lydia is a youtuber and film maker, talking about her mental health. You can see her channels here:

www.youtube.com/lydiisadinosaur

www.twitter.com/Lifewithlydia