New Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress: PTSD
In order to understand this new treatment, it is important to know what causes Post Traumatic Stress and how targeting these causes provides relief.
What Causes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD is caused by a traumatic event. Although we usually think of trauma as a car accident, severe abuse, assault or combat. You may have PTSD if you can relate to any of following:
- being raised or currently living in a home with alcoholism, active addiction, or emotional illness,
- neglect as a child,
- the death of a parent or sibling as a child,
- physical, sexual abuse, rape or assault as an adult or child,
- emotional abuse, i.e. being criticized, threatened, called names, made to feel less than, stupid, or to blame, etc.,
- witnessing physical or sexual abuse,
- being the victim of a violent crime,
- experiencing a difficult divorce or death of a loved one,
- combat veteran.
Trauma results when the emotions evoked by an event are to intense to be fully felt at the time. Given this intensity, the body’s fight, flight, freeze stress response is activated. This response is natural and normal. When we are unable to fight back or flee, the mind creates a numbing response / freeze to lessen the shock. It is the mind’s way of protecting us from the full emotional pain or shock of a stressful situation. Thus the underlying cause of PTSD is the very thing that protects us. The mind’s inability to completely process or resolve these blocked, frozen emotions. However, the event (being frozen in time) is triggered and re-experienced again and again sometimes even without conscious awareness of the original pain.
Why EMDR is more effective than talk therapy.
Traumatic memories are stored in the brain differently than regular memories. The fight, flight, freeze stress response is located in the “survival brain” or limbic sytem in the brain. This is where traumatic memories are stored. Cognitive speech, problem solving, etc. uses the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, talk therapy is limited because it doesn’t activate the part of the brain where the original memories of the event are stored.
A New and Highly Effective Therapy for PTSD
EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a recommended treatment for PTSD. Unlike drug therapies, EMDR is all natural with no side effects when used by a trained specialist.
How Effective is EMDR?
The more than 24 research studies find it to be one of the top most effective treatments for PTSD. The 24 studies to date have demonstrated by empirical / non-biased research (meaning the researchers have no investment in the results) that EMDR provides long term freedom from the symptoms of PTSD.
How Does EMDR work?
EMDR, using eye movements that mimic REM sleep, activates the part of the brain responsible for processing traumatic emotions. By activating this natural mechanism in the brain, it allows past memories and emotions to be unfrozen and fully processed. Its like rebooting the brain’s natural abilities. Once EMDR is completed it results in long term freedom from the symptoms of PTSD.
A highly charged emotional event overloads the brain’s processing abilities thus causing the event to be stored differently from other memories in the brain. EMDR reboots the brain’s natural processing abilities thus creating effective, long lasting relief.