Saturday, January 7, 2017

PTSD Does Not Have A Chance When We Fight Back

While I do not share everything I read on PTSD, there are many times when it reflects conversations we do not have often enough. Reading about a psychiatrist "quest to understand PTSD" touched home for me. I first heard about PTSD in 1982 after I heard the term "shell shock" for the first time and then went to the library to find out what it was.

Over the years, as I understood more and more about what it was, what it did and how to help my husband, it turned into one more quest to follow. Why didn't I have PTSD? 

Over the years, following extensive training, it became clear that as soon as the event was over for me, the battle started. Each time it was proven that the event itself was out of my control but what came afterwards was in my hands.

I had to reason with how I felt about it, myself, get past the "why me" and the questions about what I did wrong, or right, that left me alive, facing a future as a survivor.

I talked until I was done talking and when I wasn't talking, I was thinking. It was dealt with head on before it had a chance to take over my life. 

There is a 30 day window after trauma, where symptoms either go away or at least grow weaker. You are not ever going to "get over it" but you can get past it. It is part of you but then again, so is your strength. You have to grab control of your life out of "it" and you can with hard work. 

Two sections to spotlight from A Psychiatrist’s Quest to Understand PTSD on The Wall Street Journal report "Charles Marmar of NYU Langone Medical Center is on a search for better ways to diagnose and treat post-traumatic stress disorder"
What many people don’t realize, says Dr. Marmar, is that an estimated 85% of cases result from an event outside of the military, including sexual violence, a car accident or the violent death of a friend or family member. Outside of the military, women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men—in part, he thinks, because women are disproportionally targeted as victims of interpersonal violence. PTSD is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression or anxiety, he says.

And he is right about the other causes however, consider that most of them are in fact caused by occupational traumas.
PTSD: The Hidden Toll of Policing
An estimated 100,000 active U.S. police officers have PTSD, according to the organization. However, the numbers are not conclusive.

And then there are the firefighters
46.5 percent Percent of surveyed fire fighters in Florida that had considered suicide, according to a Florida State University study. 19.2 percent Percent of surveyed fire fighters in Florida that had suicide plans, according to that study. 15.5 percent Percent of surveyed fire fighters in Florida that had attempted suicide, according to that study.
The other part of the report from The Wall Street Journal is this;
Current approaches for treating PTSD, such as long-term psychoanalysis and antidepressants, haven’t been effective at reducing symptoms in everyone. “We have been struggling since World War II, at least, to develop treatments for PTSD,” says Dr. Marmar. 
But while that is also true, research began during WWI, well over 100 years ago when it was called "Shell Shock." Still everything that is known about PTSD began when researchers focused on the ones with surviving the most traumatic events along with the number of times and duration. This is all the result of research on service members during war and after they were supposed to be living in peace.

When we fight back as survivors, it just doesn't have a chance to destroy us. Every expert I have read over the last three decades explained that PTSD stops getting worse as soon as we start talking. So start fighting back as soon as you get up off the ground and take control back for the rest of your life!

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