Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a serious and debilitating disorder that affects not only individuals and their families but disrupts every aspect of their lives. Work, relationships, social interaction, biological and medical functions are all disrupted after a person has experienced a PTSD event.
What is the definition of PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.
PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as “shell shock” during the years of World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. (Torres, 2020)
Who suffers from PTSD? – PTSD can occur in all people of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in eleven people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups – U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians – are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.
People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.
A diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to an upsetting traumatic event. However, the exposure could be indirect rather than first-hand. For example, PTSD could occur in an individual learning about the violent death of a close family or friend. (Torres, 2020) It can also occur as a result of repeated exposure to horrible details of trauma such as police officers exposed to details of child abuse cases or even hearing of similar cases in the media or in movies.
Treatment for PTSD-There are six different standard types of therapy for PTSD.
One-Therapy- Some involve individual therapy, some group therapy and sometimes family therapy. These mostly fall under the heading of cognitive behavioral therapy. The goals are to improve symptoms, teach skills to deal with the trauma and restore self-esteem. Two-Cognitive Processing Therapy. A therapist helps a person consider all the things that were beyond their control, so they can move forward understanding and accepting that, deep down, it wasn’t their fault. Three-Prolonged Exposure Therapy. In treatment, a therapist teaches breathing techniques to ease anxiety when one thinks about what happened. Four- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. With EMDR, a person does not tell their therapist about the experience. Instead, they concentrate on it while they watch or listen to something the therapist is doing — maybe moving a hand, flashing a light, or making a sound. The goal is to be able to think about something positive while they remember the trauma. Five-Stress Inoculation Training- A person learns massage and breathing techniques and other ways to stop negative thoughts by relaxing their mind and body. Six-Medications- Medical doctors will usually start with medications that affect the neurotransmitters serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs), including: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, anti-depressants and more. (Bhandari, 2020)
Functional Medicine/Functional Neurology and Naturopathic Treatments for PTSD
Functional Medicine is a relationship between a patient and their physician looking at more than just the symptoms of a given disorder, but discovering the core reasoning for the condition and what can be done to reduce or alleviate symptoms. This could be through testing to check for other related disorders. Blood and other tests, medical history, review of lifestyle, environmental factors and diet both historically and currently are reviewed before a treatment plan is devised. A discussion of what the patient has experienced or has gone through and how it is affecting their life is discussed. Then, the patient and the doctor develop a treatment plan to possibly include not only therapy but supplementation, diet and lifestyle changes. This treatment would be in conjunction with any social or behavioral therapy the patient is receiving from VA or private sources and is not in any way meant to replace them.
Theta Chamber Therapy-Theta brainwaves are present during deep relaxation and dreaming. Theta brainwave entrainment is used to lower stress and anxiety levels as well as facilitate healing and growth. This is accomplished 4 ways: Vestibular motion-throws off the brain’s natural sense of time and space while enhancing the flow of the patient’s bio magnetic field causing the inner ear to balance. The sense of floating relaxes the body. Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES), offers deep relaxation, increases suggestibility and allows subconscious thoughts to surface. Binaural Beats-Played as background music, create an opportunity for new neural pathways to form. Visual Light Patterns-induce the Theta state, opening the brain to suggestion and promoting specific healing rhythms.
BrainMaster Therapy-Brainwave neurofeedback is guided exercise for the brain. The goal of neurofeedback is to transform an unhealthy, dysregulated brainwave imbalance into a normal healthy, organized pattern. With this, the brain becomes more stable and is able to operate optimally and efficiently. A Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG) evaluation is performed prior to treatment. After neurofeedback training sessions where the patient comfortably watches a movie of their choosing, the patient’s brain learns how to use new brainwave circuits and over time the new circuits become permanent.
Hyperbaric Therapy-Low pressure Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen your blood can carry. In the chamber, the air pressure is increased to three times higher than normal air pressure. Oxygen is dissolved into all the body’s fluids, the plasma, the central nervous system fluids, the lymph and the bone and can be carried to areas where circulation is diminished or blocked. In this way, extra oxygen can reach all damaged tissues and the body can support its own healing process. This includes your brain. Patients report improvements in their general state and overall health and appearance, have increased physical performance, sleep better and feel more relaxed.
AO Scan-Our digital body analyzer helps a patient find out what is going on in their body and works to correct the imbalances. In a simple 15 minute scan, a 24 page report can clearly define areas that can be addressed with the help of the doctor such as food sensitivities, bacterial diseases, bone, muscle and cardiovascular issues, insulin resistance, heavy metals, parasites, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and much more. Subsequent scans help to correct issues with healthy frequencies.
To learn more call Michigan Health and Wellness for a FREE consultation. Functional Medicine, Functional Neurology, and their relation to the holistic treatment of PTSD are managed by our clinical director, Dr. Tony Aboudib, DC. Dr. Aboudib attended post-graduate studies at Carrick Institute for graduate studies in clinical neuroscience, American Functional Neurology Institute, Functional Medicine University, Institute of Functional Medicine and Kharrazian Institute for graduate studies. For more information call 231-421-5213 or click here to go to our Contact Us page to schedule a free consultation.
Torres, Felix. (2020). What is PTSD? American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd.
Bhandari, Smitha. (2020). What are the treatments for PTSD? WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-are-treatments-for-posttraumatic-stress-disorder#3.