Tag Archives for " PTSD "
In 2012 more soldiers took their own life than were killed in the Afghanistan combat and it is estimated that 20% of our 1.7 million warriors that have served in Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD. By now it is apparent that we must do more to support our troops, and much more CAN be done. A fantastic starting place would be to limit tours to one or two at the most so that the chances of encountering a traumatic event or sight are reduced. Combat fatigue also plays a roll in the emotional burden that goes along with being away from home, being in a foreign and violent land, grueling work schedules and massive physical and emotional demands. It is in my humble opinion that soldiers should not be required to serve so many tours, especially since new research using functional MRI machines are showing us that even emotional trauma affects the amygdala, anterior insula, and the precuneus.
Of course the brain is only doing what it was designed to do. When experiencing a traumatic event, the brain re-wires itself in order to keep you alive. This is true for big and small traumatic events alike since the brain is trying to adapt and survive. The brain even re-wires itself (for better or worse) when there is only a perceived threat to life or ego. So for example, when a child is made fun of at school because her shoes have a scuff mark or his hair is sticking up, a trauma print is created in the brain. Trauma prints exist so that we survive (physically or emotionally) stressful situations. Of course the bigger the trauma, the bigger effect it has on us and our neural circuitry.
We need to support those who are injured in war, whether that be a bodily injury, lost limb, traumatic brain injury or PTSD. Whether you believe that we should be going to war with this or that country is irrelevant but what really matters is that the people are getting needlessly injured in the process. Shake a veteran’s hand today and if they are suffering, please let them know about the amazing benefits advanced neurofeedback can provide. If they contact us this week, we are happy to start them off with 50% off a BrainSpa (mini-intensive) package which is three one hour sessions of realtime brainwave balancing that helps to override trauma prints in the brain. If they want to do more we offer 15% off any additional sessions, always. The BrainSpa sessions are tailored for overall mood enhancement, to help de-stress and relax, and also serve to enhance focus and sleep. Brainwave Intensives work the same but can get to older and more “stubborn” brain patters. Intensives can be added on later if desired. We work with all sorts of issues. Please call us today (or by the end of the week at the latest) to have your questions answered and to take advantage of this Veteran’s day offer. By the way, you need not have a traumatic brain injury or PTSD to get this discount… this offer is for all active duty and retired military.
We are still facing major problems in the mental health of our soldiers. We cannot ignore that there are numerous reasons behind the fact that 22 American veterans take their life every day. It is appalling and the powers that be don’t seem to be moving quickly enough to curb this horrible statistic. One of the biggest problems is that there is a huge backlog at the VA. Another major problem, one that is not spoken about, is that the atrocities our soldiers are sometimes ordered to commit are unconscionable. This latter reason is what Daniel Somers blamed on the reason for taking his own life. If you read his suicide note, you will understand some of the problems that you will likely never hear others talk about.
The answer to all of these suicides is going to be different for different people. Some people want to talk about the things they have seen or been involved in while others simply won’t. Medications can be helpful for the short term, while acupuncture and massage can both help ease PTSD symptoms and initiate or enhance healing. Hypnosis and EMDR have also helped many people. These, along with Brainwave Optimization and NeurOptimal are true and real solutions and need to be explored and promoted, yet let us never abandon the topic of prevention.
One of the worst things we can do is get people to push away their instincts and their morals while in battle, and then shove pills down their mouths indefinitely in order to suppress the symptoms that those actions cause. Symptoms are signals, that’s all. If we fly down the highway ignoring the traffic signs, it won’t be long at all until we are in a wreck. We have been conditioned to ignore the symptoms, that is part of our MO…and yet another part of the big picture of this problem.
The fact is, we are constantly putting our soldiers into situations they should not be put into, causing real and lasting trauma. We justify it by saying it is the cost of war but maybe we should rethink the justifications. Much of the time we are separating the emotions involved in the harsh realities of war by making them very “game-like”. Many drone operators have quit when they are faced with some of the reality behind their actions. In ancient times
it was more honorable to tap your enemy on the soldier than to kill them.
So, fundamental flaws exist in the system, and the system probably won’t be changing anytime soon.
The advances in neurofeedback are remarkable and revolutionary and something that we need to really look at when it comes to helping people overcome PTSD and similar debilitating or disruptive “mental disorders”. With NeurOptimal, you do not have to talk about your problems if you choose not to. The technology guides you into producing a more balanced brain and Central Nervous System, creating new neural networks to harness these new patterns, and literally over-riding the old neural networks created by the trauma (trauma prints). Please tell a suffering vet that there is a non-traditional way to heal themselves. Most providers give discounts to vets. We offer 15% off on all packages. So please, spread the word.
Now that an incredible number of Iraqi war veterans are back home, how are we going to help them integrate back into society? I recently posted a link to a video on facebook stating the cold hard fact that there are more suicides in our veteran population than there were total combat deaths. Wow! You may want to read that again because it is really important…there were more suicides among recent war vets than all combat deaths. Obviously this is a problem of enormous scale! I won’t get too political here, but will stick to the facts and what I see as the solutions.
Okay, so the situation is as follows…
All of our soldiers that resided in Iraq are home, or are coming home by the last day of this year, 2011. They are coming home to a very high unemployment rate and an almost unbelievable unemployment rate among other veterans. If you haven’t heard, here are the statistics according to Dan Beucke at www.businessweek.com:
Veterans 18-24 years old had a 30.4% jobless rate in October and black veterans of the same age had a rate of 48%. This is unbelievable isn’t it? This problem of course just compounds the other problems so many vets have coming back into civilian life with all they have seen and experienced. If you have been paying attention at all, you know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is also at record highs among our soldiers. Even among those that did not see or directly experience a dangerous or near death situation, PTSD like symptoms and a battlefield mentality still dominate in the safe circumstances of everyday life of many soldiers. For instance, one of my acupuncture patients is a veteran and her husband just came back from Iraq last week. As he sat in the waiting room of my office I talked with him for a few minutes about the politics of war (his choice of conversation not mine). On the following visit, my patient told me that he did not like coming to my office because it has two doors and he had to sit with his back to one of them. This gave me insight into something that I hadn’t really ever thought about, which was that even if you have not experienced first hand violence in a wartime situation, you are still ready to experience it. Your nervous system has been changed so that you are primed and ready for any situation that may occur, because it very well may. It is a survival mechanism that the brain understands very well and restructures to meet the needs that it sees.
A relative of mine also came back from both Iraq and Afghanistan with back pain that had emotional ties to it. In a story that she shared she mentioned how the sounds of bombs all around were terrifying to the point of causing involuntary body movements and then inability to actually fall asleep and rest. She did not experience any direct combat either, but surely experienced the effects of all that was going on around her.
Having this conversation with my patient about her husband (who by the way didn’t seem uncomfortable at all in my waiting room) and with my relative, I realized that ALL veterans of the recent wars are very likely to have complicated or subtle trauma prints when coming back stateside. Trauma prints are the rewiring of neuro networks in the brain in order to “save one’s life” regardless if that trauma or threat is real or perceived. And once these neuro-pathways are “set” (think concrete) by these life changing experiences, they are likely permanent structural changes. The problem arises when these networks are inhibiting a persons happiness (PTSD for example).
I feel that our job is to give them as much love and understanding as humanly possible, and more when called for. We need to be better at welcoming them home and showing them that we are here if they need us. Don’t be fooled, the simple act of compassionate listening can do a lot, yet for many soldiers the wounds are just too deep. Regardless of whether or not you were for or against the war, our veterans need to be cared for, and quite frankly it just isn’t happening.
“Without a favorable internal climate, a person’s thinking is likely to drive them crazy… The right starting point for creative thinking and acting is who we divinely are, and a refusal to be anything other than that. I won’t be untrue to myself.” -David Karchere