The Real Cause of PTSD
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur after you’ve been through a traumatic event, such as combat, sexual or physical abuse/attacks, terrorist attacks, serious accidents or illnesses, and natural disasters.
During WW1 it wasn’t called PTSD; it was called “shell shock”. In WW2 it was called “battle fatigue”. During the Vietnam War, it became “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. Unfortunately as they kept trying to make this serious condition sound more palatable, it also took away the attention/urgency to treat the condition. After all, PTSD doesn’t really sound that serious. But it is!
You’ve heard the expression that “time heals all wounds.” That’s generally true for most people but not for many victims of PTSD. After a traumatic event, they may continue to feel anxious, frightened, confused, depressed, or angry for a very long time.
As you can see from the symptom list above, the condition is not derived solely from military conflict. It can afflict people from all walks of life who are exposed to very serious trauma and feel helpless in the process. But combat personnel go through a hell of a lot more mentally and physically and over a longer period of time, generally. And I know, I was in and out of combat situations for 10 years and suffered from PTSD myself.
Imagine, if you will, what it’s really like for a person in combat. Just think of the overload that builds on a daily basis. Waking up every morning not knowing if you or your buddies are going to be alive at the end of the day or even in the next few hours. Or if you’re going to be shipped home missing a leg, arm or worse. The sounds of war, even if they are a good distance away, is a constant reminder that injury or death is a distinct possibility.
And just think of the endless stream of message units coming your way from the signs of death and destruction all around you day after day, night after night. The dead bodies and body parts whether they are the enemy’s or from your buddies, the odors and sounds that surround you, incoming weapons fire, explosions, the screaming.
Extreme Subconscious Takeover Syndrome (E.S.T.S.):
I mentioned above an “endless stream of message units”. Lets say under normal conditions, the average person’s conscious mind can handle up to 1,000 message units per second from all of their five senses plus their own thoughts.
Anything over 1,000 message units will trigger a mental overload. The subconscious mind takes over, preparing you to physically fight or flee. But your mind can’t fight or run away from a mental overload. So it suppress those two physical actions and the accompanying negative feelings, tuning unfulfilled fight into stress and anxiety and the unfulfilled urge to run away into depression.
But now these men and women in combat might have 3,000, 5,000 or more message units pouring into the conscious mind. Is it any wonder that many of them come back suffering with PTSD, barely able to function?
Symptoms usually occur soon after the traumatic event; sometimes they may not start until weeks, months or years later; they may also come and go over many years. The primary types of symptomatic behavior are: reliving the event, avoiding situations, feeling numb, and feeling keyed up or “hyper-aroused”. Sensitivity to loud sounds. Paranoia.
People with PTSD may also develop other problems, including: substance abuse, employment issues, emotional feelings of hopelessness, shame, despair, physical symptoms like migraines, aches, pains and they may experience problems with relationships.
More than twenty veterans commit suicide each day. That information was revealed by Veterans Administration data from 1999-2011 covering 21 U.S. states. About 50,000 veterans were reported homeless by communities across America in January 2014.
Women veterans commit suicide six times the rate of other women. How can they not be overloaded when a 2012 Defense Department survey found that 23% of active-duty women had experienced a sexual assault. So on top of everything they normally have to deal with in the military, 23% of the women have been sexually assaulted and the other 79% pray they won’t be.
Step 1: Discovery
It starts by taking a simple yes or no answer, three-minute questionnaire that can’t be passed or failed. This begins the process by understanding how an individual learns and then applying a specific conversation to that individual’s mind. In other words, the person will be using the same language (learning behavior) that created a problem to remove it and replace it with something positive.
Step 2: Understanding It’s necessary to understand the concept of Extreme Subconscious Takeover where your conscious mind becomes overloaded and your subconscious mind begins to prepare you for fight or flight. This can turn into anxiety or depression.
Step 3: Systematic Desensitization
My SD360 Method – ‘SD’ stands for Systematic Desensitization. The 360 means we start and finish the process at the same place, relaxation and calm. But in between, we work on building self-confidence, feelings of self-control and then, very carefully, bring up a little of the feelings created by the PTSD. All suggestions are created from knowing the unique learning type of the individual. This is a must. (more on Learning Type at jbartell.com)
So in essence what we are doing, as the name of the process suggests, is systematically desensitizing the individual to a traumatic or multiple traumatic situations. And at the same time, we are building up, the confidence and the feelings of calm and relaxation to not only deal with traumatic situations but also the everyday stress that we all experience.
Step 4: Self-Help Tools
I teach methods that are scientifically tested to prevent an overload and show you how to get out of an overload once it occurs.
Breath Control Method:
This method is very simple and easy to implement. At the same time it is a very powerful way to help get out of an overload which triggers PTSD brought on by anxiety or depression.
If you’re in an overload or feel one coming on, you most likely feel some level of stress, anxiety or a feeling of emotional numbness which can lead to a lack of motivation to do anything. But no matter how helpless you may feel, there is something you definitely do control, and that is your breathing. The following exercise of controlling your oxygen intake will actually help increase feelings of calm and physical relaxation.
You can use this method with your eyes open or closed. If you’re in a place where you can get into a comfortable position, do it.
Step #1: slowly, inhale through your nose only to a count of five.
Step #2: hold that breath to a count of five.
Step #3: slowly exhale through your mouth to a count of five.
1) Always try to finish each inhale or exhale on the last number.
2) After you’re comfortable with the count of 5-5-5, increase the count to a higher but comfortable count. Don’t make the count too high and stress yourself.
3) Stress relief, like anything worth achieving, takes effort and practice.
4) Practice even when you’re not overloaded so when you really need help coping with stress, you will be well prepared.
PTSD Can be Eliminated:
The Breath Control method above is a powerful tool in combating PTSD. But you’re going to need more than that to win your battle against PTSD. You need to find someone who understands the concepts and can implement the techniques discussed in this article.