Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
PTSD is a form of anxiety where extreme life stress triggers a number of persistent symptoms.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with PTSD, you’ve probably already tried other therapies and or medication. Often, many symptoms remain. As an alternative to medications, neurofeedback can often help people reduce or eliminate drugs related to PTSD symptoms as their brains become more stable.
- Exaggerated response when startled
- Sleep difficulties
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of trust
- Irritability and/or angry outbursts
- Restricted range of emotions – trouble having loving feelings
- Loss of memory for important parts of the traumatic experience(s)
- Lack of interest in significant activities
- Feeling detached from others
- Sense of doom
- Nightmares and or recurrent dreams of the event(s) or are symbolic
- Recurrent distressing images, thoughts, feelings, or perceptions of past trauma
- Acts and feels like they are reliving versus remembering past event(s) when exposed to external or internal reminders. This reliving is experienced in a third person perception.
- Hypervigilant, always on guard
- Numbing behaviors which may include addictions, constant business, avoiding people, places, things, activities and thoughts associated with past trauma(s)
- Disassociation which includes feelings of watching your life instead of being in it
If neurofeedback was better known in the world of PTSD, it would be one of the first treatments used. There are many cases of severe PTSD in which therapists and clients have reported “clients got their lives back” after training with neurofeedback. These reports are not isolated. Reports from around the world, from psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and other mental health practitioners, have chimed in to give their positive response when neurofeedback is added to the treatment program of clients with PTSD.
It’s Hard to Overcome
Any relaxation technique, from hypnosis to yoga, is useful to reduce stress. With PTSD, many common forms of relaxation and stress just don’t have enough impact to overcome the problem. Medications are often introduced to help reduce symptoms. But meds don’t change the underlying stress response.
The problem is in the brain. Something has triggered a severe stress response, which ends up producing a number of symptoms. The person can’t turn it off. How do you turn it off?
Veteran’s PTSD Neurofeedback Treatment
This video shows a once-homeless, Vietnam Veteran who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for forty years. After neurofeedback training, his symptoms improved dramatically. In just 3 sessions, his symptoms were reduced by 50%, and he experienced a 90% reduction after 18 sessions. The Homecoming for Veterans Program, mentioned in this video, offers treatment for veterans at no cost.
For more information on the Homecoming For Veterans Program, click here.
Turn Off the Stress
Research has shown clearly that PTSD is a brain-based disorder.
By training the brain, the individual learns to increase calm and regulate how they respond to stress. Training can also help target those areas of the brain implicated in PTSD. In essence, it helps the individual learn to “calm their brain.” Brain training is brain learning. Once the client becomes skilled at calming themselves, they can maintain that state without further training. Many professionals report this often reduces the reliance on medications.
During training, the first symptom usually noticed is an improvement in sleep. As more training occurs, other related PTSD symptoms start to improve. Once symptoms are reduced and these gains hold for longer periods of time, training is gradually reduced until it’s clear the stability and calm is holding. At that time, training can end.
Australia and Severe PTSD
Australia receives a lot of refugees from countries in turmoil or war (civil war, the Balkan war, etc.). As a result, the country’s health system set up one hospital in each province dedicated to dealing with health problems for those refugees. Many are severely traumatized.
One therapist in Sydney, Mirjana Askovic, worked in the hospital that treated a number of traumatized war refugees. When she heard about neurofeedback several years ago, she asked the hospital if she could learn how to use it and offer it to patients. She did this on her own, but the hospital agreed to let her try it. She said these patients were extremely hard to reach with traditional therapy and often, they did not make much progress.
The success they have achieved with neurofeedback since it was introduced has been dramatic. Mirjana has said that this is one of the few interventions that makes a big difference. The hospital has agreed and has now adopted neurofeedback more broadly for other patients.