How to get out of a ptsd episode
Tips To Get Out Of A PTSD Episode - San Diego
Traumatic events can have a lasting impact on your mental health. If you’ve experienced a violent assault or a serious accident, or if you’ve been involved in active combat, you may have an ongoing emotional response for days or even weeks. But if you’ve been haunted by trauma for months or years, you may have a condition called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
PTSD is distinguished from other forms of anxiety by episodes, which are delayed stress reactions to the trauma you experienced in your past. These episodes are frightening when they occur but, with proper treatment, they can be effectively controlled.
What Happens During a PTSD Episode
A PTSD episode is characterized by feelings of fear and panic, along with flashbacks and sudden, vivid memories of an intense, traumatic event in your past. These memories are often accompanied by sensory experiences; visions, sounds, and even smells from the incident may return, as if they are happening in the present moment. Perceiving imminent danger, your brain will go into a state of alarm: your heart races, you sweat profusely, and your breath speeds up. The feeling is all-consuming, intense, and often debilitating.
How to break out of a PTSD episode
While you may feel helpless when you’re experiencing an episode, there are a few things you can do to help break out of it.
When anxiety strikes, we often take quick, shallow breaths, which can exacerbate the symptoms of an intense PTSD episode. Slow, deep breathing can lower your heart rate and reduce feelings of panic, restoring oxygen flow through your body.
Talk yourself down
If you’re having a flashback, tell yourself that the sensations you’re experiencing aren’t real, that they are merely memories of the past. Remind yourself that you’re currently safe and in control.
Running, jumping, or walking around can break you out of an episode by grounding you in the present moment and interrupting your body’s stress response. It can also help by releasing endorphins to improve your state of mind.
Connect with others
Reach out to supportive friends and family members who can listen to your concerns, remind you of what’s real, and assure you that you’re not alone.
Manage your PTSD through healthy living
While PTSD episodes aren’t always preventable, there are ways to help you lessen their intensity and reduce their frequency. Forming healthy habits and educating yourself on your symptoms can go a long way toward improving your life. For example:
- Avoid triggers: Triggers are reminders of trauma and can come in many forms, such as sensations, thoughts, or even upsetting news stories. If you can identify specific triggers for your PTSD episodes, try to avoid them.
- Engage in self-care: A healthy mind and body can better respond to and recover from traumatic stress reactions. Eat a balanced and healthy diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, avoid doing drugs and alcohol, and take adequate time to relax.
- Practice mindfulness: Building a regular meditation practice can train your brain to calm down and focus, thereby reducing the symptoms of PTSD episodes. A study published in Military Medicine suggests starting with 20-minute meditation sessions, twice a day.
- Seek professional help: Most of the time, PTSD will not go away on its own. But with the help of a licensed, professional therapist, you will be able to work through traumatic memories, identify triggers, and develop coping strategies to conquer PTSD for the long term.
Get treatment for PTSD at Alvarado Parkway Institute
You don’t have to suffer from the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder alone. Help is available at Alvarado Parkway Institute. We offer comprehensive and individualized PTSD treatment in San Diego, including one-on-one psychotherapy, medication management, support groups, and aftercare. To find out how our team of highly experienced medical professionals can help you heal from PTSD, call us today at (619) 485-1432.
What Happens During a PTSD Episode?
Throughout their lifetime, at least half of all people will experience a traumatic event of one kind or another. For some, trauma begins early in life with the devastation of childhood abuse and other maltreatment, including neglect. Beyond this, there are many other types of events that are inherently traumatic, such as military combat, rape, and assault, serious motor vehicle accidents, being stalked, natural disasters, and mass shootings. Mental health experts suggest that living through the COVID-19 pandemic is yet another event that has traumatized many people.
It’s normal for anyone who has endured or witnessed experiences like these to have a strong emotional response that could last for days or weeks. However, some people have a delayed and/or prolonged reaction to the traumatic event which can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Prevalence and Symptoms of PTSD
According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 7-8% of people in the U. S. will develop PTSD during their life—10% of women and 4% of men. To be diagnosed with this condition, a person will have symptoms that include several of these:
- Recurrent and distressing memories or dreams of the traumatic event
- Prolonged or noticeable psychological and/or physiological reactions to cues resembling the experience
- Flashbacks of the event or emotional/psychological dissociation when triggered
- Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, people, places, or any reminders of what happened
- Difficulty remembering details of the event
- Changes in mood, memory, or thinking patterns
- Hypervigilance, sleep problems, anger outbursts, or self-destructive behavior
While all these symptoms can cause significant impairment, some are more challenging to manage than others. This is largely due to the amygdala, a structure deep in the brain that is best known for our fight or flight response. When in danger, the amygdala assigns an emotional tag to any experience that could be life-threatening, and its function is automatically prioritized over other areas of the brain, including those that govern reasoning and memory.PTSD Episodes: Flashbacks and Dissociation
The amygdala doesn’t forget anything that it has deemed as dangerous and doesn’t discern whether the threat is real or imagined. This plays a big role in untreated PTSD, especially when these symptoms occur:
- Flashbacks are a nightmarish and intense reliving of a traumatic event. Whether it is momentary or lasts a few minutes, hours, or even days, someone going through a flashback is unable to distinguish it from reality. Flashbacks are uncontrollable and are very vivid, likely evoking strong sensory memories associated with the trauma that was endured and the environment in which it happened.
- Dissociation occurs when a person feels separate or disconnected from their body and surroundings as though they are observing things from outside of themselves. This tends to occur automatically as a coping mechanism to manage traumatic memories and the emotions associated with them. Like flashbacks, dissociative episodes can be fleeting or last for a long time.
Flashbacks and dissociation are often unpredictable and are caused by triggers in the environment that are reminders of the traumatic event. Such cues can be sights, sounds, odors, objects, people, places, or any number of things that are somehow associated—even unconsciously—with the fearful experience. The brain responds by activating the amygdala as though real danger is imminent. This in turn causes an increase in heart rate, shallow breathing, perspiration, and panic as the fight or flight system kicks in. For Steven, a mechanic, who witnessed a horrific accident that killed 10 people, his hands would start shaking.“Grounding” to Offset a PTSD Episode
Although they come on quickly, a person will usually have a little bit of warning prior to the flashback or dissociation. They may feel they are losing their connection to reality or things may start to look blurry. One method for not completely losing touch with reality is through a technique known as “grounding,” which is similar to mindfulness.
Just as it sounds, grounding can help a person stay present so that they recognize their oncoming PTSD symptoms for what they are. This technique involves strategies such as these:
- Engaging each of the senses by identifying things in the immediate environment they can see, smell, touch, taste, and hear
- Moving around—whether by walking, running, or jumping—to help disrupt the body’s stress response
- Breathing deeply and slowly to help calm themselves
It is possible to recover from PTSD, and one of the most effective treatments for this condition is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which the mechanic Steven underwent. This type of psychotherapy is done with a licensed mental health practitioner who is trained and certified in it.
After some sessions for EMDR preparation, a process called bilateral stimulation (BLS) is used. This involves having clients move their eyes side-to-side as they follow the therapist’s finger or having the client hold a small device in each hand that alternately vibrates. At the same time, a traumatic memory or associated bodily sensations are recalled simultaneously with the BLS. The distraction of the BLS makes thinking and talking about the experience less terrifying or overwhelming. This method helps the traumatic memories get “unstuck” so they can be more fully processed in the brain. This in turn opens the door to greater coping skills and emotional management related to the trauma.
Sadly, without treatment, many people won’t fully recover from PTSD. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. And though the road to recovery from PTSD and other types of trauma may not be a linear one, the continued progress can lead to a greater sense of well-being and have more fulfillment in life.
PTSD and other mental health issues can’t wait. During these uncertain times, your mental well-being is more important than ever and waiting until life gets back to “normal” is likely to make your symptoms worsen over time.
At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.
What is PTSD and how to get rid of it
April 14, 2022 Likbez Health
It is possible to maintain a healthy mind even after a disaster. What is PTSD? Initially, the diagnosis was made to those who had been in the war, but PTSD can develop in anyone. nine0003
Most people feel anxious, sad, angry or irritated after a traumatic event. They have insomnia and constant fatigue. This is a normal reaction to a threat to life and health, a feeling of helplessness and loss of control over what is happening. But after a month, these manifestations, as a rule, weaken and people return to normal life.
If the symptoms do not subside, the person continues to be tormented by memories and nightmares, we can talk about the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the WHO, it needs treatment 9% of those who experienced something terrible. At the same time, women suffer from PTSD 2.5 times more often than men, although men face more dangerous situations.
PTSD cannot be left untreated. The disorder spoils personal, social, work relationships, interferes with daily tasks.
Why PTSD occurs
It is not known exactly why a stress disorder develops in certain people. But there are factors that increase the risks:
- The nature of the injury. The stronger and longer the stress, the higher the likelihood of PTSD. nine0022
- Previously experienced psychological trauma. For example, childhood abuse.
- Heredity. Those with relatives who have had anxiety disorders or depression are more at risk.
- Work or hobbies associated with constant stress or danger to life.
- Presence of other mental disorders.
- Temperament and how the brain regulates hormones and other chemicals that are released in response to stress.
- Lack of support from loved ones after an injury. nine0022
- Frequent use of alcohol and other psychoactive substances.
How PTSD manifests itself
Symptoms of PTSD are more often detected within a month after the event, but sometimes they are not noticed until several years later. This can happen against the background of new stress or an accidental reminder of the experience.
Symptoms can be divided into four main groups.
Obsessive memories and dreams
- A person cannot forget and constantly replays what happened in his head. nine0022
- He has nightmares that make him afraid to go to bed.
- Any reminder of an event causes strong emotions or physical manifestations. For example, after a car accident, the victim reacts to a car signal with shaking in the hands or a sharp attack of fear.
- The victim is constantly trying to forget about the experience, it takes a lot of strength and energy.
- He diligently avoids places or people that can remind him of something terrible. For example, after the death of a loved one, a person may refuse to meet with other relatives so as not to talk about the deceased. nine0022
- Gives up favorite activities if they have something to do with what happened. A girl who survived an attack in the stairwell may refuse to train after work because she is afraid to return home in the evening.
Changes in mood and thinking
- Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world appear.
- Haunted by a feeling of hopelessness. There are no goals in life and the desire to change something.
- There are memory problems. Sometimes it is not possible to remember important details of the traumatic event. nine0022
- It becomes difficult to communicate with loved ones, maintain relationships.
- Loss of interest in hobbies or meeting friends.
- The victim is not able to rejoice or grieve, only detachedly observes life from the outside.
Changes in physical and emotional reactions
- A person constantly feels a threat to life and seeks to protect himself by any means.
- Often feels guilty or ashamed. Thinking about how it could have been avoided. nine0022
- Loss of concentration, difficulty working or just reading a book.
- The victim may be short-tempered and aggressive.
- Sleep problems appear.
- Man unconsciously strives for self-destruction. For example, he drinks a lot or ignores traffic rules.
Symptoms may increase or decrease, appear only with new stress or a reminder of a terrible event. The victim himself may not associate problems with sleep or concentration with the trauma experienced, especially if a lot of time has passed. But at the same time, constant stress interferes with a normal life. nine0003
What to do if you have suicidal thoughts
In this case you should immediately seek help:
- 495 625-06-20). They work around the clock.
- Write to a psychologist on the website of the Ministry of Emergency Situations - this is possible without registration.
- Contact your loved ones for support.
How is PTSD treated? The best place to start is to see a therapist. He will check if there are any physical diseases that can cause changes in the psyche. To do this, the doctor will conduct an examination and prescribe the necessary examinations. This could be a chest x-ray, blood tests, or a CT scan of the brain. nine0003
If everything is in order with the body, the therapist will refer you for a consultation with a specialized specialist. He will determine whether medication is needed or psychotherapy will be enough.
Before meeting with a psychotherapist, prepare a list of symptoms, behavioral changes, or lifestyle changes. At the appointment, ask the specialist about the experience of working with post-traumatic stress syndrome and the number of patients who have overcome it. It is important to ask all the exciting questions at once, because the success of treatment largely depends on the trusting relationship between the patient and the psychotherapist. nine0003
What psychotherapy can be like
According to experts, only psychotherapy can get rid of PTSD. Medicines can only relieve acute manifestations and temporarily improve the quality of life.
Several methods are used to treat PTSD:
- Cognitive therapy . The doctor will analyze the thinking errors and stereotypes that prevent you from returning to normal life after an injury. For example, the thought "I'm bad because they did this to me" will gradually turn into "They did this to me, but that doesn't make me bad." The patient will keep a diary and describe in it his condition and reactions to different situations. Gradually, a person will learn to solve problems that were previously beyond his power. nine0022
- Behavioral or exposure therapy . The meaning of the method is to return to a traumatic situation under the control of a psychotherapist. The patient is immersed in the past with the help of video, sounds or verbal description, but the specialist teaches to cope without panic and horror. Over time, memories cease to frighten, it becomes possible to live on without looking back at the trauma.
- EMDR, or EMDR - eye movement desensitization and processing. This method was developed specifically for the treatment of post-traumatic disorders. It is believed that the brain cannot cope with the processing of a stressful event and therefore memories do not go away. In an EMDR session, the patient briefly focuses on the past and at the same time on eye movements or other stimuli: pats, sounds. This synchronizes the activity of both hemispheres and helps the brain process painful memories. If the injury was mild, four or five sessions may be enough. nine0022
What drugs can be prescribed by a doctor
Medications are prescribed at the same time as psychotherapy, if you need to remove the most striking manifestations of the disorder and improve the quality of life before psychotherapy works.
Several groups of drugs are used:
- Antidepressants . May reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep, memory and concentration.
- Mood stabilizers . They are used to reduce impulsivity, anger attacks and to reduce irritability. nine0022
- Antipsychotics . They are prescribed if the shock was too severe and memories and emotions interfere with life.
- Benzodiazepines . Used to reduce severe anxiety and improve sleep. But now they are rarely appointed.
What else can you do
Taking care of yourself helps you get back to normal life faster and easier. For this it is worth:
- Follow the treatment plan, even if it seems that psychotherapy and medications do not help. It takes time to get easier. nine0022
- Find an opportunity for good rest and sports or walks. Physical activity and healthy sleep relax and help to recover.
- Diverse and tasty food. The lack of useful elements can worsen the mental state.
- Reduce or eliminate possible sources of stress. New causes for concern lengthen the treatment.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. They can increase anxiety.
- Connect with loved ones and meet friends who can support and listen. nine0022
- Find interesting hobbies that will distract from experiences and memories.
How successful is the treatment of PTSD
Everything is individual. The result will depend on the severity of the symptoms, as well as the efforts of the patient and the support of loved ones.
But if you follow all the doctor's recommendations, sooner or later you can be cured and return to normal life.
Moreover, new preparations and methods are constantly appearing. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration recently approved an app to interrupt nightmares. nine0003
How to help a loved one with PTSD
If a relative or friend has PTSD, the most important thing is to help them seek professional help. After all, the victim may inadequately perceive the situation and believe that everything will pass by itself.
- Recognize that avoidance and withdrawal are symptoms of a disorder. Do not insist on your help if the person rejects it. Just explain that you are there.
- Be willing to listen. Let your loved one know that you can talk about what happened whenever they want. But do not press, do not force to talk about the injury against your will. nine0022
- Walking together or doing interesting things.
- Plan more meetings, celebrate holidays.
- Take care of yourself. Being close to someone who has experienced something terrible can be difficult. You may experience constant stress, guilt, powerlessness. Therefore, do not forget to restore your resources: rest, eat right, play sports.
- Prepare a safe place to hide if a loved one becomes aggressive. nine0022
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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment in Israel
Services and treatment
Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Israel
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, or TSD) results from a severe traumatic event. It can be military operations, a terrorist attack, an earthquake, a traffic accident or a plane crash, rape, kidnapping of children and other events that pose a real threat to life. The experiences preceding PTSD are accompanied by unbridled fear or even horror. Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur in both the bystander and the victim of a traumatic event. But not every person who has experienced a life threat or severe stress has PTSD. On average, out of 10 people, only one experiences this disorder. There is a direct relationship between the severity of psychological trauma, the degree of threat to life or health, the mental state at the time of stress, on the one hand, and the likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, on the other. nine0003
In Israel, medicine has long been faced with this disease due to military conflicts taking place in the Middle East. The success of Israeli doctors in the treatment of PTSD is known throughout the world. The specialists of the Matspen Center have vast practical experience in working with patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, both with the army contingent and with the civilian population.
Method of treatment
1 Prolonged exposure therapy
Specialists of the Matzpen center use the most modern and effective method of treating post-traumatic stress disorder – “Prolonged exposure therapy”. The method was developed by an Israeli psychologist, Professor Edna Foa, thanks to which she was included by Time magazine in the list of 100 people who played an important role in society. The leading psychotherapist of the Matspen Center, Dr. Vitaly Tevelev, was trained by prof. Foa. He is considered today one of the best specialists in the treatment of PTS - both among military personnel and among the civilian population. nine0003
This method helps people with PTSD recognize and regulate thoughts and memories of trauma and correct their own beliefs. Patients learn to control the manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder and perceive PTSD as stress, not weakness. This helps to independently deal with manifestations of outbursts of anger and anxiety, notice the symptoms of the disease in time and improve the ability to communicate. Patients in psychotherapy sessions master relaxation techniques, which later help to fully manage their emotional and physical state. nine0003
The latest and most effective treatment for PTSD.
2 Medication therapy
Medication support is recommended for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, if necessary, in addition to psychotherapy. As in the treatment of any mental illness, at the Matspen Center this is done as part of an integrated approach.
PTSD is commonly treated with antidepressants and medications to relieve the symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety, depression, panic, aggression, impulsivity, and suicidal thoughts. nine0003
The Matspen Center uses only modern Western drugs that cause minimal side effects. The timing and dosage of medications are determined during the diagnosis of the disease and depend on the degree and stage of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Selection of the correct drug treatment that eliminates the physical symptoms of PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an acquired disease and, with the right comprehensive approach, can be treated. Applying Israeli methods and experience, the specialists of the Matspen Center help their patients to completely get rid of PTSD. Already during the treatment, patients feel relief and after the end of the course they confidently return to their usual life. They can independently control all thoughts and memories that arise in connection with the transferred stressful situation. nine0003
Treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in the center "Matspen" lasts from 1.5 months.
The estimated cost of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder at the Matzpen Center is $3,000 per month.
It should be taken into account that we start treatment only after the diagnosis. nine0037
- Dr. Evgeny Moshkovich
Therapist and endocrinologist at the Matspen Center
- Dr. Yana Beitelman
Head of the Psychiatric Department of the Matspen Center
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