By Emily Roberts, MA, LPC
There has been a recent buzz in the media regarding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Iraq veterans. Although anyone who has suffered from a trauma knows, PTSD has been around since the dawn of time (watching your caveman buddy get eaten by a Saber Tooth tiger). However, it was not recognised by the American Psychological Association until the 1980′s. The media attention and those brave soldiers who speak out about suffering from the disorder, are allowing more soldiers to get help and making it let stigmatized to do so.
The incidence of PTSD is on the rise as two wars drag on. In April, a Rand Corp. study concluded that 1 out of almost every 5 military service members on combat tours — about 300,000 so far — returns home with symptoms of PTSD or major depression. “Anyone who goes through multiple deployments is going to be affected,” says Dr. Matthew Friedman, director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD. But nearly half of these cases, according to the Rand study, go untreated because of the stigma that the military and civil society attach to mental disorders.
This expert is from TIME Magazine’s eye-opening article “How One Army Town Copes with Posttramatic Stress” by Tim McGirk. He talks about the rise in suicides and homicidal behavior due to untreated symptoms. Colorado Springs, AKA Army Town, has the highest suicide rate in the country! This is not ironic, it is also the home to many soldiers who have just come back from war.
to read the article in its entirety.
Daniel Amen, M.D., author of Change Your Brain Change Your Life, who has made brain imagining through of SPECT scans available to the public, has hundreds of brain scans from PTSD brains. There is a significant difference in looking at the scan, and for many out there seeing the effect trauma has on their brain, may be enough to get them to seek out therapeutic interventions. His recent blog post follows an Army Snipers battle with PTSD and how changing his brain chemistry helped to relieve him of daunting symptoms http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-amen-md/changing-the-brain-of-an_b_666631.html
The good news is that the brain CAN change, and PTSD symptoms can be reversible. One has to be willing to seek out treatment for symptoms. We know that brain chemistry imbalances are treatable through amino acid therapy, pharmacology, talk-therapy, and specialized approaches such as EMDR, EFT, and many others. If you or someone you know is suffering from these symptoms share the articles listed, it may help normalize their experience and allow them to get well.
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