PTSD and Sleep: Rest Easier with Treatment

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Many who are diagnosed with PTSD also have sleep problems. And when sleep problems last, they can have a negative impact on many parts of your life. The good news is, treatment can help!

Recognize Sleep Concerns

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I had difficulty sleeping (getting to sleep, staying asleep, waking up too early) several nights a week for several months?
  • Do I feel sluggish or have low energy?
  • Have I noticed changes in my concentration or mood?
  • Do I dread the idea of trying to sleep, instead of looking forward to it?
  • Have I woken up gasping for air?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, then talk with your provider about getting a sleep assessment and discuss sleep treatment options.

Seek Treatment

If you have PTSD and sleep problems, ask your provider about evidence-based treatment options. Treating your PTSD can help improve your sleep problems. If your sleep problems continue after you complete a front-line treatment for PTSD, talk to your provider about options for sleep-related treatments.

If you have been diagnosed with insomnia, consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). CBT-I is a talk therapy that is the most effective treatment for insomnia. CBT-I does not require medication either. For people who are doing CBT-I, the National Center for PTSD has a free treatment companion mobile CBT-I Coach. Also, VA has a free Veteran online training called Path to Better Sleep to help address insomnia symptoms.

Manage Sleep Difficulties

Treatment is the best option if you have lasting sleep problems. But these tips can also help temporarily:

  • Have a 30-minute wind down time before bed.
  • Go to bed when sleepy.
  • Get out of bed if you find yourself “trying” to sleep. Engage in a relaxation activity until you feel sleepy and then go back into bed.
  • Have a consistent wake time.
  • Make your bed and sleeping environment comfortable.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs before bed.
  • Limit your caffeine use.

Visit the National Center for PTSD’s website to learn more about the relationship between PTSD and sleep problems.

 

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Do I Have PTSD?

ptsd

The only way to know for sure if you have PTSD is to talk to a mental health care provider. The provider will ask you about your trauma, your symptoms and any other problems you have.

Talk to Someone You Trust

After a traumatic event, it’s normal to think, act, and feel differently than usual. Most people will start to feel better after a few weeks. If your symptoms last longer than a few months, are very upsetting, and disrupt your daily life, you should get help. Whether or not you have PTSD, treatment can help if thoughts and feelings from the trauma are bothering you. Talk to:

  • Talk to your family doctor.
  • A mental health professional, such as a therapist.
  • Your local VA facility or Vet Center, if you are a Veteran
  • A close friend or family member who can support you while finding help
  • A clergy member
  • Fill out a PTSD questionnaire  (see below).

 

Take a Self-Screen for PTSD

A screen is a brief set of questions to tell you if it is likely you might have PTSD. Below is the Primary Care PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, or the PC-PTSD-5 screen.

Sometimes things happen to people that are unusually or especially frightening, horrible, or traumatic. For example:

  • a serious accident or fire
  • a physical or sexual assault or abuse
  • an earthquake or flood
  • a war
  • seeing someone be killed or seriously injured
  • having a loved one die through homicide or suicide

Have you ever experienced this kind of event? YES / NO
If no, screen total = 0. Please stop here.

If yes, please answer the questions below:
In the past month, have you …

  • had nightmares about the event(s) or thought about the event(s) when you did not want to? YES / NO
  • tried hard not to think about the event(s) or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of the event(s)? YES / NO
  • been constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled? YES / NO
  • felt numb or detached from people, activities, or your surroundings? YES / NO
  • felt guilty or unable to stop blaming yourself or others for the event(s) or any problems the event(s) may have caused? YES / NO

If you answer “yes” to any three items (items 1 to 5 above), you should talk to a mental health care provider to learn more about PTSD and PTSD treatment.

Answering “yes” to 3 or more questions on the PC-PTSD-5 does not mean you have PTSD. Only a mental health care provider can tell you for sure. And, if you do not answer “yes” to 3 or more questions, you may still want to talk to a mental health care provider. If you have symptoms that last following a trauma, treatment can help – whether or not you have PTSD.

Seek Help

It’s common to think that your PTSD symptoms will just go away over time. But this is unlikely, especially if you’ve had symptoms for longer than a year. Here are some of the reasons why you should seek help.

Early treatment is better

Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop symptoms from getting worse in the future and lead to a better quality of life for you.

It’s never too late to get PTSD treatment

Treatment can help even if your trauma happened years ago. And treatment for PTSD has gotten much better over the years. If you tried treatment before and you’re still having symptoms, it’s a good idea to try again.

PTSD symptoms can affect those you love

PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your relationships.

PTSD can be related to other health problems

PTSD symptoms can affect physical health problems. For example, a few studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. By getting help for your PTSD, you could also improve your physical health.

It may not be PTSD

Having some symptoms of PTSD does not always mean you have PTSD. Some of the symptoms of PTSD are also symptoms of other mental health problems. For example, trouble concentrating or feeling less interested in things you used to enjoy can be symptoms of both depression and PTSD. And, different problems have different treatments.

When you seek help, your mental health care provider can determine whether you need treatment for PTSD, or another type of treatment.

Find the Best Treatment for You

Today, there are several treatment options for PTSD. For some people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense.

If you think you might be suffering from PTSD, please don’t delay speaking to a mental health caregiver.  It is their job to help you find relief.

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/isitptsd/have_ptsd.asp

VA recognizes September as Suicide Prevention Month

#BeThere campaign urges communities nationwide to support Veterans

Suicide is a complex, national, public health issue that affects communities nationwide, with more than 45,000 Americans, including more than 6,000 Veterans, dying by suicide every year.
Suicide is preventable, and special training is not needed to prevent suicide. Everyone can play a role by learning to recognize warning signs, showing compassion to Veterans in need and offering support. Listed are actions anyone can take to Be There:
Reach out to Veterans to show them you care. Send a check-in text, cook them dinner or simply ask, “How are you?”
Learn the warning signs of suicide, found on the Veterans Crisis Line website.
Watch the free S.A.V.E. training video to equip yourself to respond with care and compassion if someone you know indicates they are having thoughts of suicide.
Check out VA’s Social Media Safety Toolkit to learn how to recognize and respond to social media posts that may indicate emotional distress, feelings of crisis or thoughts of suicide.
Contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program when worried about a Veteran or loved one. A licensed psychologist or social worker will provide guidance on motivating your loved one to seek support.
Learn more about the #BeThere campaign and access resources to help support Veterans at BeThereForVeterans.com.
Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/65808/va-recognizes-september-suicide-prevention-month/

 

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PTSD: The Best Medicine? Focus on What’s Bothering You

Treatment Can Help You Heal

It’s common to hope that PTSD symptoms will just go away over time, but this is unlikely if you’ve had symptoms for longer than a year. Even if you feel like you can handle your symptoms now, they may get worse over time. Seeking treatment and talking about a traumatic event may seem hard, but confronting difficult memories can help you heal and move forward.

Trauma-Focused Psychotherapies

With trauma-focused psychotherapy you work with a trained provider to face exactly what is bothering you.

There are three specific treatments that have the strongest scientific evidence showing they are safe and proven to work. These therapies are:

·         Cognitive Processing Therapy

·         Prolonged Exposure

·         Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Each therapy is different, but they all teach you how to process your trauma-related thoughts, memories, and feelings so that you can move on. For more on how these therapies work and evidence based treatment watch our short, informative videos.

Treatment: What to Expect

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

After a trauma, it’s common to have negative thoughts — like thinking what happened is your fault or that the world is very dangerous. CPT helps you learn to identify and change these thoughts. Changing how you think about the trauma can help change how you feel.

“Before, I had my blinders on and I’d see all the things I had [done] wrong. And now, when I go through it, I see the experience as a whole… The way I think about this completely changed.”

– Christopher J. Tyler, US Army (1996-2004)

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)

People with PTSD often work hard to avoid traumatic memories and things that remind them of the trauma. This can help you feel better in the moment, but in the long term it can keep you from recovering from PTSD by preventing you from processing what happened to you. In PE, you expose yourself to the memories, feelings, and situations that you’ve been avoiding. It sounds scary, but facing things you’re afraid of in a safe way can help you learn that you don’t need to avoid reminders of the trauma.

“It unlocks the ugly stuff. It’s in there eating away at you anyway, so it’s better just to purge it in your therapist’s office. Honestly it felt like a weight off of my shoulders. It was phenomenal.”

– Sarah Humphries, US Army (1994-2012)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR can help you process upsetting memories, thoughts and feelings by having you focus on images of the trauma. At the same time, the therapist introduces brief sets of back-and-forth eye movements, taps or tones. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories. Over time, it changes how you react to memories of your trauma and how you feel about yourself.

“My traumatic thoughts don’t come to the forefront of my everyday life and consume my thoughts…they have been processed and placed into long- term memory, where they belong.”

– Rogelio “Roger” Rodriquez, Jr., US Navy (1987-1993), US Air Force (1993 – 2013)

AboutFace: Veterans Talk About Getting Help

To hear more about these and other Veterans’ experiences with trauma-focused psychotherapies visit AboutFace, where Veterans who have been through them, will tell you about their experience.

How Can You Decide Which Treatment is Right for You?

The online PTSD Treatment Decision Aid is a great way to learn about your options and consider which treatment is right for you. You can watch videos of providers explaining how treatments work, then build a personalized comparison chart of the treatments that appeal to you. You can share a printout of the chart with your provider as you decide together which treatment best meets your needs.

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Produced by VA’s National Center for PTSD

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

We are the world’s leading research and educational center of excellence on PTSD and traumatic stress.
PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.

Inner demons fantasy picture

Get Help, NOW !

Ways to get help

  • Get Help in a Crisis
    The National Center for PTSD provides links and information to help you locate VA and other mental health services in your area.
  • Find a Therapist
    Describes types of professionals who provide therapy and medication for PTSD and trauma issues.
  • Self-Help and Coping
    Find out what to expect after a trauma and about self-help tools that can help you manage stress reactions.

Help for Veterans

  • Care for Women Veterans
    Describes VA services offered to women Veterans, including the Women Veterans Health Care Program.
  • PTSD Treatment Programs
    Information on specialized treatment for PTSD within VA Medical Centers.
  • VA Benefits and Claims
    Answers to some questions about PTSD and service-connected disability that are frequently asked by veterans. Provides information about resources for treatment.

Getting immediate help for PTSD:

If you need help right away:

 

June is PTSD Awareness Month

 

PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. If symptoms last more than a few months, it may be PTSD. The good news is that there are effective treatments.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.
If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.
Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.

There are many different treatment options for PTSD. For many people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don’t have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.  Get help, now !

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/what/ptsd_basics.asp

Some Women Also Experience PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Dedicated to those women who were traumatized by something or someone. If you need help beginning your path to recovery, start with your family doctor. Please do not put it off. There are professionals who WILL help you.  God bless.

 

 

PTSD

 

living with an emotional abuser means that you’re living in a constant state of stress. #fiercelyunfettered #survivortothriver #emotionalabuse #stress #toxicrelationship #narcissist #psychologicalabuse #abuserecovery #fightorflight #breakfree #livefree

 

41 Truths People With PTSD Wish Others Understood

 

#PTSD I've heard people say this is a 'mental illness' Educate yourself.

 

 

The victim is never to blame. Or as my sister accused me of "asking for it."

 

 

36758167_679217959090309_4103286590661459968_n.jpg (509×509)

 

I love this. Both statements are true for me. I guess when I have a bad day (yesterday was terrible), I can remember and be thankful I don't have "bad years" anymore. ... Always hang in there. It does get better.

 

 

Tag someone and be sure to follow @wordsworthmillions for the success mindset. by the.success.club

 

Recovery is about progression, not perfection! Just keep making progress. #recovery #recovered #addiction

https://12th-stepper.blogspot.com/2015/11/nov-28-2015-readings-in-recovery-eye.html

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eyemovementdesensitazation      wellnessuniverse

Veterans Crisis Line

VeteransCrisisLineLogo

 

 

March 29 is Vietnam Veterans Day.  If you are a veteran, or know someone who is, please keep this phone number handy.  It’s estimated that 20 fellow veterans commit suicide every day.  But, there is help available.  Just make the call.  Please !

https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/

PTSD: Medications and Other Options

Medications and Psychotherapy Options for Veterans

When you have PTSD, it might feel like you’ll never get your life back. But it can be treated. Short and long-term psychotherapy and medications can work very well. There are many good options available to you. Although medications do not work as well as trauma-focused psychotherapies, they are a very effective way to treat PTSD.

PTSD medications

You’ve probably heard of some common PTSD medications already. The four medications that are recommended for PTSD are sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac) and venlafaxine (Effexor). They are also good for treating depression and anxiety.

Because medications can be prescribed by nurse practitioners, physicians, and many other providers, they may be easier to get access to than trauma-focused psychotherapy. After you fill your prescription, you will meet with your provider every few months to talk about how you’re doing.

You should know that once you begin taking a medication, it might be a few weeks before you start to feel better. Or, you might see improvement in PTSD symptoms, but be bothered by side effects like an upset stomach, sweating, headache, and dizziness. Some people have delayed orgasm or other sexual side effects. Don’t give up. Instead, tell your provider how you are feeling. A different medication might be a better fit for you. Even though the medications are similar, people will react differently to them. If you are on other medications, your provider should take that into account so that you avoid troublesome interactions.

Talk to your health care provider

Staying in touch with your provider is important. If you want to stop taking the medication, talk to your provider. According to Dr. Nancy Bernardy, Associate Director of Clinical Networking and clinical research psychologist at the Executive Division of the National Center for PTSD, “People should not stop taking antidepressants suddenly, because they can have some withdrawal symptoms.” She says that “PTSD symptoms may return if you stop taking the medication suddenly, so make a plan with your provider to slowly taper off.”

Other treatments

While medications can be a good treatment option, trauma-focused psychotherapies work better. Research shows they can keep working long after treatment is over.

To learn about the best PTSD treatments available, Dr. Bernardy recommends using the National Center for PTSD’s Treatment Decision Aid, which includes video and other materials to help you better understand your options.

Read More

National Center for PTSD

PTSD Treatment Options Can Work with Help from My HealtheVet

Veterans:  Here is a link to the VA’s My HealtheVet.  Register with the VA and get help !

https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/web/myhealthevet/about-mhv