Managing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The majority of us have experienced stress at some point and many people feel stressed on a regular basis. Depending on the circumstances, the intensity of the stress and tension can differ. In some instances, a traumatic experience can create such intense feelings of panic that they overload the sufferer’s ability to cope. At this point, problems can develop that are difficult to control. This is generally diagnosed as PTSD. The effects can be both physical and emotional and have a substantial impact on quality of life and ability to function.
The foundations for PTSD can be laid in many ways, for example, by seeing a horrific accident, being attacked or going through a natural disaster. Though we tend to think of PTSD as being a problem for the armed services, it can easily affect civilians too. Left untreated, the symptoms of PTSD can have a long-lasting effect on daily life.
Typically, someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will experience ‘flashbacks’, which include the intense feelings of anxiety and panic that they had at the time of the original event. This distinguishes it from other kinds of trauma which are dealt with by the memory shutting down or ‘repressing’ the experience. So, PTSD sufferers are frequently, vividly and powerfully reminded of the terror they experienced.
The resulting fatigue caused by sleep problems affects concentration and the sufferer can become unpredictable and volatile, causing problems at work and in the home. Depression and anxiety are common symptoms of PTSD. This constant state of emotional stress can also lead to physical signs and symptoms, such as palpitations, stomach problems and migraine headaches.
For medical professionals, the first line of treatment includes medication to manage anxious feelings and depression. However, hypnosis is an alternative option to treat PTSD and is especially effective in keeping creating calm and minimizing feelings of anguish.
There are numerous approaches that can be used, so even if it is just not possible to completely come to terms with the initial traumatic event, it is usually possible to remove or disregard the triggers which increase the risk of ‘flashbacks’. Hypnosis creates a comfortable and relaxed state which can help to lower anxiety levels so the PTSD sufferer can cope better with day-to-day life. The automatic subconscious ‘fight or flight’ response can be overcome with hypnotherapy and be replaced with calmer thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The first hypnotherapy session will go over a detailed history of how the original event is experienced and the triggers that create ‘flashbacks’. A treatment plan will be agreed and progress thereafter carefully reviewed.
The aim of hypnotherapy is to get rid of stress and other problems associated with the trauma and then to enhance feelings of self-worth and self-assurance. The goal is to make certain that the sufferer is effective in reducing the frequency and strength of ‘flashbacks’ so that they can get on with normal life again. Hypnotherapy treatments are solution focused and will work to ease any distress so the sufferer can cope with life without the excessive strain of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It can also help relieve any related problems that may have been caused in the workplace or in the home as a consequence of PTSD.
Tunbridge Wells hypnotherapist Karen Martin said: “Post traumatic stress creates powerful emotional responses which can be confusing and distressing for the sufferer. Sometimes, behaviour and personality can appear to inexplicably change, affecting relationships and leading to uncharacteristic or unpredictable behaviour which can be anti-social or even violent. I can offer some powerful techniques to help restore equilibrium.”