June is National PTSD Awareness month! It isn’t just the person with PTSD that is living with it, but all those with whom they come in contact, including loved ones, friends, co-workers and even people they meet casually in the everyday course of life. In honor of those who struggle with PTSD, I wanted to share information on trauma, the statistics about PTSD, some PTSD symptoms, the connection to stress and short-term and long-term therapies that might help ease the stress associated with it for all concerned.
Trauma Types & Stats
Traumas come in all forms and are perceived as traumatic by the individual person. What may be traumatic to one person isn’t traumatic to another. Being embarrassed in front of your 5th grade class because you were pressured into giving an oral book report that you weren’t prepared for can be traumatic. It is called a Little-T trauma which makes you feel bad about yourself, affect your self-esteem, and may create a fear or phobia. Big-T traumas are when there is a fear of bodily harm or death. Bad car accidents, rape, armed combat and other violent experiences that are considered to be shocking and dangerous fall into this category and are the most likely to cause PTSD.
About 60% of all men and 50% of all women experience at least one Big-T trauma in their lives. More likely traumatic experiences for men are physical assault, witnessing a death or injury, accidents or combat. Child sexual abuse and adult sexual assault are more likely traumas that women will experience.
About 7-8% of all people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives which translates to about 8 million adults per year and women are twice as likely to develop it than men.
After years of doubt by both the public and mental health professionals, in 1980 PTSD was acknowledged as a disorder with specific symptoms and was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Symptoms of PTSD can be:
- Flashbacks – the person may freeze and be “somewhere else” and unresponsive to normal stimulation.
- Anger – used as a survival instinct or related to feeling betrayed or being a victim of an event.
- Depression – 3 to 5 times more likely in those with PTSD and may lead to suicide.
- Chronic pain – from an injury during the trauma or emotional connection to it results in body pain.
- Sleep problems – may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and/or have nightmares.
- Substance abuse – turn to drinking or drugs or other substances. They are trying to eliminate emotional pain.
- Suicide – if treatments don’t work, it is seen as the only way out of their mental and emotional pain.
- Grief – the traumatic experience may have resulted in a loss of a loved one or the loss of the way the person used to be. This loss is what they are grieving.
- Chronic Anxiety – always feeling “on guard”, hypervigilant, fearful and they can’t relax.
- Poor relationships – they may withdraw from those that they were close to. The relationship may experience increased conflict and a distrust those close to them. Intimacy suffers.
PTSD Connection to Stress
PTSD is connected to stress. All of the symptoms listed above create a stress reaction. Flashbacks contribute to stress in the body because any time that we recall a traumatic experience, our bodies and minds are reliving it and react just like we were there. When someone is angry, they are stressed. If they are in pain, their body is stressed, and thoughts about the pain are stressful. Lack of sleep stresses the body and the fear of nightmares is stressful. When a person is stressed, they turn to a substance that makes them feel better. Conflict in relationships, and always feeling on guard contributes to stress. Therefore, people with PTSD are in a constant state of stress which negatively affects their mental, emotional and physical well-being.
Treatments are available and focus mainly on talk therapy, which can help change how they react to their memories. There are also medications which balance chemicals in the brain that help them manage their stress and anxiety. For some people these are good, effective treatments.
Alternative therapies can include meditation, breathing, acupuncture, Reiki, yoga, aroma therapy, color and light therapy and mindfulness. These can all bring temporary relief that will help manage the symptoms.
A therapy that gets to the roots of the trauma is the best way to get longer lasting results. A clinical study of this therapy, with combat veterans, reduced their PTSD symptoms significantly after just six to ten one-hour sessions. This therapy is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) also known as Tapping. It is one of the top stress-reduction therapies in the world, is fast, and gets lasting results.
I use EFT in my one-on-one coaching and my STOP the STRESS monthly, online, coaching group, to help quickly reduce stress by helping the person I am working with identify a trauma, Big-T or Little-T that is at the root of their symptoms. Once identified, I use EFT to help neutralize the negative emotions, thoughts and limiting beliefs connected to the trauma. What occurs is a shift in the perspective of what happened, and the person’s stress levels decrease because they no longer react the same way to the previous traumatic situations that triggered them.
You Are Invited
I invite to attend the STOP the STRESS coaching group on Monday, June 14th at 7 p.m. EDT (the 2nd Monday of each month) and experience the transformational power of releasing emotional connections to long-held traumas. This month we will be addressing PTSD awareness. We begin with a group exercise to bring stress levels down overall and expand the breathing capacity of your lungs. Then you may be selected to be coached by me, one-on-one, while everyone else taps along and “borrows benefits” from the work we do together. It is a win-win for everyone and just may be the transformational experience you’ve been looking for.
Learn more and register at https://stopthestressnow.eventbrite.com
PTSD awareness is an ongoing need in all of us. It will help you to understand what the person is experiencing and why, but just may also save someone’s life. I hope this information on trauma, symptoms of PTSD the connection to stress, and treatments will make a difference in your life and those close to you.
Please share with your friends and family and help them too!
Life Wellness Coach
“Helping you get over it so you can get on with it.”
Give EFT_Tapping a try at STOP the STRESS!