Posts Tagged PTSD

[TED-Ed] The psychology of post-traumatic stress disorder

Many of us will experience some kind of trauma during our lifetime. Sometimes, we escape with no long-term effects. But for millions of people, those experiences linger, causing symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and negative thoughts that interfere with everyday life. Joelle Rabow Maletis details the science behind post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

via The psychology of post-traumatic stress disorder – Joelle | TED-Ed

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[BLOG POST] Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Managing Mental Health in Stressful Times – Collection Spotlight from the NARIC

Posted on June 10, 2020 by naricspotlight

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as combat, an accident, a disaster, or an assault. PTSD can be a disabling mental health condition for these individuals. Research has shown it can make it difficult to find and maintain a job, interact with family and friends, and participate in the community. PTSD is often associated with military veterans, but anyone who experiences a traumatic event could be at risk of developing the condition. For example, people with acquired disabilities such as spinal cord injury or burn injuries may experience PTSD in connection with their injuries. Some researchers are concerned that the current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) may lead to an increase in PTSD among both frontline healthcare workers and those who survive the virus.

Resources are available from the NIDILRR grantee community and from national and local agencies and organizations to help people with PTSD find treatment and support.

PTSD and Traumatic Injuries

People with traumatic injuries such as spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and burn injury can experience PTSD as a result of their injuries. Learn more about:

Tech Solutions for PTSD

Three apps supported by the App Factory at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Community Living, Health, and Function (LiveWell RERC) may offer help in managing PTSD symptoms:

  • BreatheWell Wear app for Android Wear smartwatches is designed to assist people with mild TBI and PTSD in managing stress through diaphragmatic breathing.  
  • SwapMyMood is a mobile app developed for the iOS operating system. It is designed to assist people with brain injury to engage in problem solving and emotion regulation.
  • SmartHome Stress Assist (under development) is a system that leverages the Amazon Echo and commodity smart home technologies to assist military service members with traumatic brain injury and PTSD in managing the onset of post-traumatic stress episodes.

The National PTSD Center at the Department of Veterans Affairs has many apps and tools that provide self-help, education, and support following treatment.

  • Mobile apps for self-help, treatment companions, and related issues such as parenting and smoking cessation.
  • Treatment Decision Aid that can be used by anyone to learn about PTSD, compare effective treatment options, and take action to start treatment. Resources specific to military personnel are clearly indicated. 

PTSD and COVID-19

As noted above, some researchers are concerned about the impact of ongoing stress on healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic, as well as the mental health of those who survive the virus. The National Center for PTSD has a collection of information and resources to support self-care, the work of providers, and community efforts. Resources for Everyone includes the COVID Coach mobile app, designed to help build resilience, manage stress, and increase well-being with tools to stay connected, work from home, navigate parenting or caregiving, and stay healthy. The collection has a long list of Resources for Healthcare Workers and Responders and for Employers and Community Leaders.

These are just a few examples of resources available to help people with PTSD manage stress, find support, and find treatment during this very difficult time. Learn more about resources, tools, and research on managing stress, staying productive, and staying healthy in our collection of COVID-19 Resources from the NIDILRR Grantee Community.

Explore More Research

NARIC’s REHABDATA database lists more than 1,300 publications on PTSD, including peer reviewed articles, books, and consumer materials. Try one of these targeted searches:

If you need assistance in finding treatment and support in your community, contact your community Information and Referral center or the National Helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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[Infographic] DO I HAVE PTSD?

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[Infographic] PTSD IS ?

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[Infographic] Symptoms of PTSD

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[TED Talk] Understanding PTSD’s Effects on Brain, Body, and Emotions | Janet Seahorn | TEDxCSU – YouTube

PTSD disrupts the lives of average individuals as well as combat veterans who have served their country. The person experiencing the trauma often then impacts the lives of his/her family, friends, and workplaces. PTSD does not distinguish between race, age or gender and often goes undiagnosed. Even with proper diagnosis, many individuals do not know where to turn to get help. Society needs to understand the aftermath of trauma especially combat trauma and how to prepare for warriors when they return home. Janet Seahorn, Ph.D has been a teacher, administrator, and consultant for over thirty years. She currently teaches a variety of classes on neuroscience and literacy as an adjunct professor for Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Jan has a Ph.D in Human Development and Organizational Systems. Her background includes an in-depth understanding of human development and neuroscience research as well as effective practices in organizational systems and change. She conducts workshops on the neuroscience of learning and memory, the effects of “at-risk” environments (i.e., poverty), brain development, and researched-based instructional practices. Jan has worked with many organizations in the business and educational communities in creating and sustaining healthy, dynamic environments. Dr. Seahorn has researched and studied the effects of trauma on the brain and how excessive or extreme trauma can impact changes in the brain’s neuro network and how that change impacts behaviors in s This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

via Understanding PTSD’s Effects on Brain, Body, and Emotions | Janet Seahorn | TEDxCSU – YouTube

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[ARTICLE] An acceptance and commitment therapy-based intervention for PTSD following traumatic brain injury: a case study

Introduction: A case study is presented to illustrate the management of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the context of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), using an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based approach. A 48-year-old female presented to Neuropsychology with cognitive difficulties, significant distress and trauma symptoms following a car accident. ACT is a third wave cognitive-behavioral approach aimed at increasing psychological flexibility as a means of reducing distress: it is a trans-diagnostic model that may be suited to the complex and multi-factorial difficulties experienced by this client group.

Methods: A guided self-help approach based on ACT was implemented by the client working with a Clinical Psychologist within a Community Neuropsychology service, over 12 appointments.

Results: Outcome measures were administered pre and post-intervention as well as at three and then 12-month follow-ups. Improvements were seen across ACT outcome measures, psychological measures and quality of life ratings and were consistent with subjective reporting.

Discussion: Outcomes were positive in all domains post-intervention and at follow-up, indicating that this may be a feasible intervention for PTSD following TBI.

via An acceptance and commitment therapy-based intervention for PTSD following traumatic brain injury: a case study: Brain Injury: Vol 0, No 0

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[WEB SITE] TBI and PTSD: Navigating the Perfect Storm – BrainLine

Marilyn Lash, MSW, Brain Injury Journey magazine
TBI and PTSD: Navigating the Perfect Storm

So often people talk about the effects of traumatic brain injury or the consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder as separate conditions — which they are. But for the person who is living with the dual diagnosis of TBI and PTSD, it can be hard to separate them.

Just as meteorologists predict “the perfect storm” when unusual and unprecedented conditions move in to create catastrophic atmospheric events, so can the combination of PTSD and TBI be overpowering and destructive for all in its path. The person with TBI and PTSD is living in a state unlike anything previously experienced. For the family, home is no longer the safe haven but an unfamiliar front with unpredictable and sometimes frightening currents and events.

While awareness of PTSD has greatly increased with recently returning service members and veterans, it is not new and nor limited to combat. Anyone — children, adolescents, adults, elderly — who is exposed to a life-threatening trauma can develop PTSD. Car crashes, shootings, floods, fires, assaults, or kidnapping can happen to anyone anywhere. But the rate of PTSD after brain injury is much higher in veterans than civilians due to their multiple and prolonged exposure to combat. According to O’Connor and Drebing, it is estimated that up to 35% of returning veterans with mild brain injury also have PTSD.

What’s unique about PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Unwanted and repeated memories of the life-threatening event
  • Flashbacks where the event is relived and person temporarily loses touch with reality
  • Avoidance of people, places, sights, or sounds that are reminders
  • Feelings of detachment from people, even family, and emotional numbness
  • Shame about what happened and was done
  • Survivor guilt with loss of friends or comrades
  • Hypervigilance or constant alertness for threats.

Individuals with PTSD are at increased risk for depression, physical injuries, substance abuse, and sleep problems, which in turn can affect thoughts and actions. These risk factors also occur with brain injury.

PTSD is a mental disorder, but the associated stress can cause physical damage. TBI is a neurological disorder caused by trauma to the brain. It can cause a wide range of impairments and changes in physical abilities, thinking and learning, vision, hearing, smell, taste, social skills, behaviors, and communication. The brain is so complex, the possible effects of a traumatic injury are extensive and different for each person.

When PTSD and TBI coexist, it’s often difficult to sort out what’s going on. Changes in cognition such as memory and concentration, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue are common with both diagnoses. One basically feeds and reinforces the other, so it’s a complicated mix — it’s the perfect storm. It may help to consider and compare changes commonly seen with TBI and PTSD.

Memory

TBI: A period of amnesia for what went on just before (retrograde amnesia) or after (anterograde amnesia) the injury occurred is common. The length of time (minutes, hours, days, or weeks) of amnesia is an indicator of the severity of the brain injury. For example, the person may have no memory of what happened just before or after the car crash or IED explosion.

PTSD: In contrast, the person with PTSD is plagued and often haunted by unwanted and continuing intrusive thoughts and memories of what happened. The memories keep coming at any time of day or night in such excruciating detail that the person relives the trauma over and over again.

Sleep

TBI: Sleep disorders are very common after brain injury. Whether it is trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking early, normal sleep patterns are disrupted, making it hard to get the restorative rest of sleep so badly needed.

PTSD: The mental state of hypervigilance interferes with slowing the body and mind down for sleep. Nightmares are so common with PTSD that many individuals dread going to bed and spend long nights watching TV or lying on the couch to avoid the night’s terrors. Waking up with night sweats so drenching that sheets and clothing are soaked. Flashbacks so powerful that bed partners have been struck or strangled while sleep battles waged.

Isolation

TBI: Many survivors of TBI recall the early support and visits of friends, relatives, and coworkers who gradually visited or called less often over time. Loss of friends and coworkers leads to social isolation, one of the most common long-term consequences of TBI.

PTSD: The isolation with PTSD is different as it is self-imposed. For many it is simply too hard to interact with people. The feeling of exposure outside the safe confines of the house is simply too great. The person may avoid leaving the house as a way of containing stimuli and limiting exposure to possible triggers of memories. As a result, the individual’s world becomes smaller and smaller.

Emotions

TBI: When the areas of the brain that control emotions are damaged, the survivor of a TBI may have what is called “emotional lability.” This means that emotions are unpredictable and swing from one extreme to the other. The person may unexpectedly burst into tears or laughter for no apparent reason. This can give the mistaken impression that the person is mentally ill or unstable.

PTSD: Emotional numbness and deadened feelings are a major symptom of PTSD. It’s hard for the person to feel emotions or to find any joy in life. This emotional shutdown creates distance and conflicts with spouses, partners and children. It is a major cause of loss of intimacy with spouses.

Fatigue

TBI: Cognitive fatigue is a hallmark of brain injury. Thinking and learning are simply harder. This cognitive fatigue feels “like hitting the wall,” and everything becomes more challenging. Building rest periods or naps into a daily routine helps prevent cognitive fatigue and restore alertness.

PTSD: The cascading effects of PTSD symptoms make it so difficult to get a decent night’s sleep that fatigue often becomes a constant companion spilling over into many areas. The fatigue is physical, cognitive, and emotional. Feeling wrung out, tempers shorten, frustration mounts, concentration lessens, and behaviors escalate.

Depression

TBI: Depression is the most common psychiatric diagnosis after brain injury; the rate is close to 50%. Depression can affect every aspect of life. While people with more severe brain injuries have higher rates of depression, those with mild brain injuries have higher rates of depression than persons without brain injuries.

PTSD: Depression is the second most common diagnosis after PTSD in OEF and OIF veterans. It is very treatable with mental health therapy and/or medication, but veterans in particular often avoid or delay treatment due to the stigma of mental health care.

Anxiety

TBI: Rather than appearing anxious, the person acts as if nothing matters. Passive behavior can look like laziness or “doing nothing all day,” but in fact it is an initiation problem, not an attitude. Brain injury can affect the ability to initiate or start an activity; the person needs cues, prompts, and structure to get started.

PTSD: Anxiety can rise to such levels that the person cannot contain it and becomes overwhelmed by feelings of panic and stress. It may be prompted by a specific event, such as being left alone, or it can occur for no apparent reason, but the enveloping wave of anxiety makes it difficult to think, reason or act clearly.

Talking about the Trauma

TBI: The person may retell an experience repetitively in excruciating detail to anyone who will listen. Such repetition may be symptomatic of a cognitive communication disorder, but it may also be due to a memory impairment. Events and stories are repeated endlessly to the frustration and exasperation of caregivers, friends, and families who have heard it all before.

PTSD: Avoidance and reluctance to talk about the trauma of what was seen and done is a classic symptom of PTSD, especially among combat veterans.

Anger

TBI: Damage to the frontal lobes of the brain can cause more volatile behavior. The person may be more irritable and anger more easily, especially when overloaded or frustrated. Arguments can escalate quickly, and attempts to reason or calm the person are often not effective.

PTSD: Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling abusive behavior. PTSD does not cause domestic violence, but it can increase physical aggression against partners. Weapons or guns in the home increase the risks for family members. Any spouse or partner who feels fearful or threatened should have an emergency safety plan for protection.

Substance Abuse

TBI: The effects of alcohol are magnified after a brain injury. Drinking alcohol increases the risks of seizures, slows reactions, affects cognition, alters judgment, interacts with medications, and increases the risk for another brain injury. The only safe amount of alcohol after a brain injury is none.

PTSD: Using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate is dangerous. Military veterans drink more heavily and binge drink more often than civilian peers. Alcohol and drugs are being used often by veterans to cope with and dull symptoms of PTSD and depression, but in fact create further problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.

Suicide

TBI: Suicide is unusual in civilians with TBI.

PTSD: Rates of suicide have risen among veterans of OEF and OIF. Contributing factors include difficult and dangerous nature of operations; long deployments and multiple redeployments; combat exposure; and diagnoses of traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression; poor continuity of mental health care; and strain on marital and family relationships. Veterans use guns to commit suicide more frequently than civilians.

Summary

There is no easy “either/or” when it comes to describing the impact of TBI and PTSD. While each diagnosis has distinguishing characteristics, there is an enormous overlap and interplay among the symptoms. Navigating this “perfect storm” is challenging for the survivors, the family, the caregivers, and the treatment team. By pursuing the quest for effective treatment by experienced clinicians, gathering accurate information, and enlisting the support of peers and family, it is possible to chart a course through the troubled waters to a safe haven.

References:

O’Connor, M. & Drebing, C. (2011). Veterans and Brain Injury. In Living Life Fully after Brain Injury: A workbook for survivors, families and caregivers, Eds. Fraser, Johnson & Bell. Youngsville, NC: Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Ehde, D. & Fann, J. (2011). Managing Depression, Anxiety, and Emotional Challenges. In Living Life Fully after Brain Injury: A workbook for survivors, families and caregivers, Eds. Fraser, Johnson & Bell. Youngsville, NC: Lash & Associates Publishing/Training, Inc.

Posted on BrainLine March 7, 2013. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

 

via TBI and PTSD: Navigating the Perfect Storm | BrainLine

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[WEB SITE] PTSD Anger, Irritability and Other Symptoms People Don’t Understand

13 ‘Impolite’ Things People With PTSD Do

 

Living with difficult PTSD symptoms day-in-and-day-out can sometimes make us act in ways others don’t understand. Unfortunately, some folks perceive behavior they don’t understand as being “impolite” — even when that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Maybe you struggle with physical contact in the wake of physical or sexual trauma — and your family members think you’re rude for refusing hugs. Maybe you struggle to make eye contact, and people think you aren’t interested in what they have to say. Or maybe you lash out in anger at loved ones when you’re feeling especially stressed.

If you struggle with an “impolite” manifestation of PTSD, we want you to know you’re not alone. The only way we can set the record straight about “impolite” things people do because of PTSD is to talk about it. To open up this discussion, we asked our Mighty community to share one “impolite” thing they do because of PTSD.

Here’s what our community had to say:

1. Not Responding in Conversations

“I’m accidentally anti-social. I dissociate in times of fear and stress. When I’m aware that I’m experiencing dissociation, I feel a warm fuzz come over my body. My surroundings don’t feel real. It’s harder to move and harder to speak. I’m not trying to be impolite… I’m just… stuck!” — Melissa T.

2. Leaving Events Early or Canceling Last-Minute

“I go home. I leave early, I leave big events, I leave when I want to stay — because I can only handle so much. I wish people knew I left because I felt like I needed to. I wanted to stay.” — Brittany P.

“Tell people yes to coming to events or friend outings and cancel last-second because I can’t pull myself together. I’m sure they assume I just don’t care, but it breaks my heart. It steals so many precious memories from me.” — Erin C.

3. ‘Ghosting’ Your Friends

I repetitively ghost my friends by not answering their messages and calls. I don’t want to rely on people too much or bond with them because my PTSD tells me intimacy is unsafe.” — Kareline E.

4. Lashing Out at Others

“Lashing out under immense stress.” — Harmony Y.

I’m not sure if it’s PTSD or anxiety — I get very short or sometimes aggressive with customer service people on the phone when I need to discuss a problem. Partly from the fear/stress of making a phone call and partly from a perceived injustice. This is (hopefully) different from simply being an aggressive, nasty person — I am usually very empathetic and considerate.” — John S.

There comes a point where my anger at having to go through all this crap and living with this constant tension reaches the limit, and I unload on the unfortunate soul who just put the last straw on my back. I don’t pity bullies, and when the latest one crosses me, it’s on. I don’t lose control of my anger, but I get on the mountaintop and throw out a big sermon.” — Amanda C.

5. Refusing Physical Affection

I hate hugs. Get off me! Respect the bubble. I do the one-armed pat on the back thing. Some people get offended by that and say something, some know it’s just how I roll.” — Megan G.

6. Seeming ’Unapproachable’

“I work nights at a hotel. I don’t smile a lot because I don’t want to seem too inviting.” — Emily S.

7. Running Away

“I can be difficult about certain things. Parking for instance. I also race across the parking lot in stores and stuff leaving people behind. They think I’m being rude. I have PTSD from being run over by a car.” — Liz T.

8. Being Uncooperative With Doctors

“I’m especially uncooperative with doctors. I need to know  I have control over my health care decisions and especially my body, so I tend to shut down and flat-out ignore them the second I feel threatened by their recommendations or approach. I make them work harder to come up with a solution by refusing to allow them to touch me at times. I just want them to listen first before assuming they have consent because I opted to be their patient. Fortunately, I now have a team that is open to working within my comfort level and continues to support me when I allow myself to be vulnerable with them, even when I respond negatively.” — Kristen P.

9. Avoiding Family Members

I avoid events with other family members that don’t try and understand after many times of explaining. I don’t like being put on the spot or even want to talk to anyone so ‘impolite’ is a nice way of saying rude. I’m just rude (in their eyes) because I don’t care anymore won’t go to Thanksgiving, social outings, etc. I don’t like to be around anyone at all. And I’m actually OK with that.” — Rebecca J.

10. Relying on a Friend or Partner to Speak for You

“I look at my phone to avoid contact of any kind. Or I hide behind my boyfriend so he can do the talking.” — Ember H.

“Ignore people and rely on my partner to ‘human’ for me. She’s a champion, at least with her I don’t have to say anything, she just understands and reads me at a glance to know when I’m not coping.” — David C.

11. Telling People to Stop Talking to You

“Telling people to please just shut up and do not touch me. To be honest, I do not think it is such an impolite thing to do, I find it more impolite by others to insist on touching and trying to rush me when I have flashbacks or a bad moment and am in pain and am just trying to get some space and air to breathe… but others, unfortunately, seem to perceive it as quite impolite.” — Leila B.

“Sometimes I go into sensory overload and can no longer process things — especially when people ask a ton of questions in a row! So I have to say I can’t handle any more questions at the moment.” — Briana W.

12. Not Making Eye Contact

“Making eye contact. I don’t like people grabbing my arms or touching me at all actually. So makes me seem pretty impersonal.” — Jolene F.

13. Oversharing

“I overshare. Every single person in my life knows my situation, from my boss to some kid I went to school with. They also know my every mood and difficulty. Secrecy led to 15 years of me being incestuously molested, so anything that feels like secrecy or me being told to be quiet or not speak triggers me and produces the opposite — I positively shout things out to everyone now. I know it’s not ‘polite’ to overshare, but being in a situation where I’d be used again terrifies me.” — Peta J.

Though some of these behaviors might seem “impolite” to people who don’t understand, we want to remind you it’s more than OK to set boundaries. If you don’t like to be touched, you’re not rude for requesting people not touch you. If you need to take a breather in social situations, take a breather! You deserve to make decisions about what’s best for you.

For support from a community that really understands, you can always post on The Mighty with the hashtag, #CheckInWithMe. PTSD can feel isolating, but you don’t have to go it alone. Join The Mighty community and find the support you need.

What “impolite” thing does your PTSD make you do?

 

via PTSD Anger, Irritability and Other Symptoms People Don’t Understand | The Mighty

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[Infographic] PTSD Facts

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