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Enriching Your Life!

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Archive - Enriching Your Life Newsletter

Survivors PTSD, Breathe...

Monday, October 01, 2001


ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Survivors and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Don’t forget to breathe

SURVIVORS AND POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

With the recent terrorist attacks on everyone’s mind there has been a lot of discussion on post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Just what is this disorder and what are some of the symptoms?

PTSD is the term applied to psychological and emotional problems that develop as the result of experiencing any serious, traumatic event. People suffering from PTSD survived a terrifying experience that left them feeling helpless and frightened. Though the trauma may have occurred months or years ago, the survivor continues to have problems because they keep re-experiencing the traumatic event, or avoid stimuli associate with the event, or get generally "numb" to all feelings.

Mental health professionals have learned that there are far more people suffering from PTSD than they had previously realized. Many PTSD survivors have just been getting by. Without recognition, and if only the symptom is treated, the problem intensifies over the years - causing greater and greater distress. Often the tragic outcome is divorce, child abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, because the survivor can no longer contain their feelings.

If you are a survivor of a trauma and are experiencing some of these symptoms you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: 1) Depression 2) Sleep disturbances 3) Tendency to react under stress with survival tactics 4) Psychic or emotional numbing 5) Emotional constriction 6) Loss of interest in work and activities 7) Survivor guilt 8) Hyper-alertness 9) Fantasies of retaliation 10) Avoidance of activities that arouse memories of traumas 11) Suicidal feelings and thoughts 12) Flashbacks 13) Fantasies of destruction 14) Cynicism and distrust of government and authority 15) Alienation 16) Concern with humanistic values overlaid by hedonism 17) Negative self-image 18) Memory impairment 19) Anger 20) Anxiety 21) Hyper-sensitivity to justice 22) Problems with intimate relationships 23) Difficulty with authority figures 24) Emotional distance from children, spouse an others 25) Self-deceiving and self-punishing patterns of behavior, such as an inability to talk about war experiences, fear of losing others, and a tendency to fits of rage.

As bleak as it seems I have painted this picture, there is help. Fortunately, PTSD is very responsive to a variety of psychotherapies. Use the hotlink to get more information on PTSD and the types of therapy that can be utilized in treating it.

DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE

If you're feeling stressed, relief could be just a breath away. The way you breathe can affect whether you become more or less anxious during stressful times.

When stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid. Taking a deep breath is often an automatic and effective technique for winding down. Deep breathing exercises consciously intensify this natural physiologic reaction and can be very useful during a stressful situation, or to maintain a relaxed state during the day. Utilize the following tips:

  • Inhale through the nose slowly and deeply to the count of ten.
  • Make sure that the stomach and abdomen expand but the chest does not.
  • Exhale through the nose, slowly and completely, also to the count of ten.
  • To help quiet the mind, concentrate fully on breathing and counting through each cycle.
  • Repeat five to ten times and make a habit of doing the exercise several times each day, even when not feeling stressed.

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. For more information about my work as a marriage and family therapist and family/business consultant please visit my website www.kmarshack.com. You’ll find self-help tips, a library of family business articles, information on on-line consultation and much more. To contact my office call (360) 256-0448 or (503) 222-6678 or email info@kmarshack.com.