What is PTSD?

Because I have been greatly bothered by my PTSD lately, I decided it was time to research more to determine how I to can best help myself overcome and cope with my current symptoms. In helping myself I hope I will help you as well.

PTSD is…

a disorder caused by the involvement in or exposure to a traumatic event. In a normal situation, the brain will switch the body from “survival mode” to a state of restoration, but PTSD is when that switch never occurs, leaving the survivor in a constant state of emergency. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen in the aftermath of any traumatic experience, and it is for this reason that 7 out of 10 psychologically abused women develop PTSD. Veterans who return from war with PTSD suffer from the same disorder to the same severity as many victims abused in their own homes. However, the utilization of service dogs to serve those with PTSD has historically only been used for veterans, leaving others who suffer with fewer options. That’s where we come in.

The Brain is Separated Into 3 Parts (simplified)

  1. Neomammalian: The front brain, controls cognitive processing, decisions-making, learning, memory and inhibitory functions.
  2. Mammalian: The mid-level brain, processes emotions and conveys sensory relays
  3. Reptilian: The innermost part of the brain responsible for survival and autonomic body processes. PTSD happens here.

Brain Functioning

“Normal” Functioning: When your brain functions without trauma, it goes in a “top down” direction of processing. You’re thinking regularly and taking in information. When you’re thinking this way things feel neutral, and aren’t particularly emotionally charged or frightening.

Trauma Functioning: When something traumatic happens our brains switch into “survival mode”, meaning that the reactive parts of your brain take over. Your body therefore prepares you for fight or flight, and you have little control over what you do because the less cognizant parts of your brain take over.

Typically when our fight or flight is triggered our brains go from reactive to responsive and things continue as usual. With PTSD, the shift from reactive to responsive never occurs. Instead the reptilian brain holds the survivor in a reactive state.

SYMPTOMS

If you think about the last time that you were terrified to the point of fight or flight being triggered, all of these symptoms make a lot of sense.

1. Re-experiencing

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares

2. Negative Changes in Beliefs or Feelings

  • Loss of loving feelings.
  • Forgetting parts about the traumatic events or not being able to talk about them.
  • Feeling the whole world is dangerous and no one is trustworthy.

3. Hyper-arousal 

4. Avoidance 

  • Inability to sleep or relax
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Easily startled

What Happens When Triggered:

PTSD is reinforced by what’s called a “trauma feedback loop,” which means that when there’s trigger (something to cause a flashback or a panic attack related to the trauma), we relive the trauma, and we tend to avoid the thing that caused the trigger. For example, if something traumatic happened in a coffee shop, the sound of a coffee grinder might be a trigger. Then it might escalate, become the smell of coffee, and so on, so forth. Before we know it we’re avoiding everything to do with coffee, but the symptoms of PTSD still exist. The more this cycle continues, the more PTSD is enforced near the base of the brain. In order for PTSD to be recovered from, the traumatic memories need to be processed by the higher parts of the brain, and that can’t be done while the cycle is constantly repeating itself. For PTSD to be recovered from, the cycle must be interrupted.

We Must Interrupt:

  1. Fear/panic
  2. Poor memory consolidation
  3. Avoidance

Facts and Statistics

  • 1 in 9 women will get PTSD in her lifetime. 
  • 7 out of 10 psychologically abused women develop PTSD and/or severe depression.
  • Symptoms of PTSD include: anxiety, hallucinations, flashbacks, depression, loss of focus, nightmares, guilt, headaches, agitation, dizziness, panic attacks, chest pain, and insomnia
  • PTSD manifests in the limbic (responsible for fight or flight) part of the brain, thus rendering the survivor in an almost constant physical state of emergency.
  • PTSD develops in 1 out of every 3 people who experience trauma.

Sources: WWW.FREEDOMK9PROJECT.COM


 

Image result for PTSDRelated image

 

Copyright © 2018 Susan Walz | myloudbipolarwhispers.com | All Rights Reserved

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6 Comments

  1. Well this is extremely informative and I thank you for posting this information and the follow up one as well. I was diagnosed with PTSD by my physician in 2015, but I was not informed that there were stages to this. After reading both posts I can honestly say I am between stage 3 & 4. Hmmm…at least now I know why getting through it is taking much longer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope and pray you will recover to a better and more manageable stage. I hope you are getting help and have a good support system. Keep fighting and keep keeping on. I also never heard of mental illness being put into 4 stages until recently. I feel it helps for understanding and clarity to put it in those terms. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been rolling solo since I was 38 years old when it finally dawned on me abuse wasn’t normal. I’m 61 now. This one hit me hard and lasted over a bit over 3 months, and ‘literally’ took the breath right out of me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is amazing when that lightbulb of clarity goes on. I had that happen too and it is so bewildering how it can take so long to figure it out. I hope you are doing better now. I am happy you found my blog so that I could find yours. You and your blog are awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

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