December 21, 2020

Podcast 26: What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? (PTSD)

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What causes PTSD and Symptoms, Treatments Options

Podcast (Audio Only)

This is a summary of today’s podcast on Signs of stress and signs of PTSD. We will start with:

  • Definition of PTSD
  • How pervasive is PTSD in on Americans?
  • Discussion of PTSD affects
  • Examples of events that you choose if you think they meet the definition of PTSD
  • My story
  • A new type of traumatic stress possible being created by the pandemic
  • Effective Treatment options

Let’s get started with definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD Core issues are anxiety and depression, lack of trust, Victim thinking and avoidance.

It seems like Trouble or bad things follows me and just happens to me.  I told my story of a life with PTSD memory of a young child whose older brother tried to smother hand and drown me.  I thought I might die.

95% of our mind are was wired by the time we are 18 yo to the beliefs of the parents and environment.  I found a counselor saved my life from a life with an alcoholic fishermen husband from Maine and desperate to live a better, healthier life.

That was why I choose to become a counselor went back to get my graduate degree and have been a counselor now for 30 years. With trauma as by specialty to help other people.

Know the symptoms that create the victim thinking from PTSD, so you don’t get trapped by them or so you can become aware to make a different choice, once you are aware and know there is help

These are the Clinical symptoms out of our DSM Diagnostic manual to diagnosis PTSD.  

There are 5 sections, I will go over to see if you have some of these sx. If so, treatment is critical not to keep, making unhealthy thought habits going to cement this victim life style in place, because you don’t know what to do or never even know you have the sx of PTSD.

You must have the first criteria and if you don’t, there is not PTSD diagnosis.  I hear from clients that think they must have PTSD because they were bullied, and in fear.  Or the opposite, sexually abused but, I was never penetrated, so it can’t be abuse or have PTSD sx.  Not necessarily true for both examples, or they could be true for both, it is the reaction to the event and how it has affected the person with symptoms.

  • 1st criteria: You must have actually been exposed directly to a trauma that threatened death or serious injury or sexual violence.

For more than one month, the client has been experiencing symptoms of re-experiencing: 4 other section you must have At least 1 symptom:

  • 1.Presence of Intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic distressing memories of the traumatic events such as: Distressing dreams, Flash backs. Psychological distress, or a Physiological response to internal or external cues that resemble the trauma.
  • 2. One of these: Avoidance of the distressing memories, thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma  or Persistent avoidance of people, places, and things that reminds them of an associated memories or traumatic events.
  • 3. 2 or more of these: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with traumatic events; Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event, Negative beliefs about self or the world because of the traumatic event.  Persistent, distorted beliefs about the cause of the trauma.  Marked diminished interest in significant activities, feeling of detachment or estrangement from others, Persistent inability to experience positive emotions.
  • 4. 2 of these: Reactivity or arousal associated with the trauma that is evidenced by: Irritable mood, reckless destructive behaviors, Hyper-vigilance, exaggerated started response, problems with concentration and Sleep disturbance.

It can also have dissociative symptoms if feeling detached from reality or feeling of the world is unreal to you

This is the mental and physical anguish that the clients suffer, which can be traced back to a traumatic event. While PTSD affects both adults and children, the percentage among war veterans is significantly skewed. While PTSD is be found at a rate of about 9% in the general population, it shoots to as high as 30% among deployed and non-deployed war veterans.

PTSD symptoms can be psychological and behavioral.

A patient may go through their trauma repeatedly in their nightmares and thoughts. Alternatively, they may completely avoid situations that remind them of the trauma or stay constantly over-vigilant. Such symptoms lead to sleep deprivation and sudden loss of temper.

Needless to say, a condition like PTSD has a negative impact on the quality of personal relationships with lack of trust in other and worst within yourself and performance at work with inability to communicate, socialize because of frustration and anger, irritability,  that can be  unintentionally targeted towards the partner, family or co-workers. Situations that would otherwise be non-consequential become big issues. It can lead to spats at work and even escalate to domestic violence.

The key is to identify the symptoms early, get help, and create a system of support to help.

I have found, from my specialty with trauma my 30 years as a mental health profession, you can learn to manage this, not cure this. 

I consider this a brain injury from the trauma that you thought you were going to die and you brain has now been wired differently, to protect you in all ways.

But the good news is, if you wired this, you can rewire it.

Now because of the pandemic, we need to be aware of a new traumatic stress called Secondary Traumatic Stress when the stress overwhelms the coping mechanism leaving people feeling out of control and helpless.  Continual exposure to the trauma, like health care or Mental Health workers or caregivers become depleted, exhausted, or worse self-destructive. 

We are already seeing in with depression rates increasing and suicide rates increasing with caregivers.  With many of the same sx as PTSD.  And only 40% of the clients seek treatment.  This treatable.

The best treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)you can find Apps for and download to teach you skills to work with your symptoms.  This is treatable.

DBT has 3 components and has been shown to have the highest success rates. Because it has a workbook with it.  That you can open up in the moment of the app to open up in the moment and look at ways to deals with an emotion or the freeze up response in the moment, if you go the restroom and use it. There is also mindfulness component to learn how to let go and not get so attached and agitated by situations, or people.  And it includes the CBT or looking at the thoughts that you are having in that moment that is either helping or making the situation worse. You can learn to Stop think breath and make a new choice in the moment to make the situation worse.

There is exceptionally good treatment, and it HAS to be within your Control when with who to do treatment.  Because avoidance and lack of trust are huge issues, and you must feel you choose your treatment.

But please choose it to learn to Trust Yourself most of all, please reach out if you want it or need it.

You can find an 1800 on the back of your insurance card for the Mental health service that your insurance will pay for.  There is help through you work look in the HR manual for EAP for 6 free sessions.  Or ask a friend who helped them with these issues.  Many Veteran agency have specific groups and training to build skills to feel better.

I certify clients to have an ESA and I have found that one ways as one of the simplest most helpful, if you can have your dog with you in more places or to go to a family gathering, if you have you dog friend with you Our website for that is You can learn to trust yourself again.

Please reach out. Or go to our website for other resources.

Happy New Year’s Welcome 2021

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