One of the reasons I love my job is the people we meet. People who have suffered trauma are often the kindest, empathetic and understanding people I’ve ever met. This post from PsychCentral explains well this phenomena. Below is a powerful meditation that brings strength to our most vulnerable moments. (Published in PsychCentral By Sarah Newman, MA ) “Facing the fact that we’ve been abused isn’t simple. It’s wrapped up in feelings of being deeply flawed.
How we integrate or make sense of our experiences have a lot to do with how they affect us. That’s just common sense. However, the drive within psychology towards a research and evidence based practice standards has led to a move away from seeking the consensus of practicing professionals in the field on the formation of theory. A theory informed practice has been the standard for many years. Experts construct a theory based on their professional knowledge, including research.
by Ronald Ruden, MD, PhD When the Past Is Always Present: Emotional Traumatization, Causes, and Cures introduces a new treatment for trauma. Ronald A. Ruden is an internal medicine physician practicing in Manhattan. Since beginning his practice in 1983, he has dedicated part of the proceeds to follow research interests. His first efforts resulted in the book, The Craving Brain, a neurobiological discussion of addictive behaviors. In 2003 he redirected his interest in understanding traumatization.
Image via Wikipedia Recently, I exchanged messages with [Michele Rosenthal], author of the blog, [Parasites of the Mind]. She asked me a very good question, one that is so much a part of my everyday work, a good long contemplation was needed just to tease out a good answer. “Speaking of inspiring, how do you inspire a client to believe in what he/she is doing? It’s so difficult to believe in anything when PTSD has settled its big black cloud on your head.
Researchers have added another piece to the puzzle of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It seems that the memory of the trauma is burned into memory involving the amygdala. But unlearning the experience is not so simple. The amygdala becomes chronically over reactive. One can be taught to be more calm in certain circumstances, but then it won’t work in other similar situations. One of the treatments that is being used by the VA is virtual re-esposure to battle via video.
I think it’s probably a human trait that we seek the simplest solution to a problem even when more complex and proven methods are well known. Even scientists seem to do this, even in their area of study! Our culture seems to have decided thousands of years ago that negative emotions are bad and should be avoided. Everywhere in the psychological literature is examples of researchers seeking to find ways to help people avoid psychological pain.
Tragically high suicide rates among Iraq War Vets have been a topic of this blog before. More recent information in the press have been about high rates among Vets in Great Britain. Now we may have some answers and a suggested course of action. A recent report by the Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general finds that at least one factor is that Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are at increased risk of suicide because Veterans Administration health clinics do not have 24-hour mental health care available.
AlterNet has the best article I’ve seen in the media about PTSD and the Iraqi veterans. Unfortunately, the news is not good. The proportion of vets with PTSD is higher in this conflict than in any other previously monitored war. Suicide accounted for over 25 percent of all noncombat Army deaths in Iraq in 2006, that’s double what it was in peace time and much higher than rates from Iraq War I and Vietnam.
Post traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by experiencing intense trauma where life is threatened in terrifying ways. This disorder has life long consequences as I’ve talked about before. AP Wire reported on a former Senator who is a Vietnam vet who has had a recurence of PTSD because of repeated exposure to images of war in Iraq. Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, who has battled bouts of depression since losing three limbs in Vietnam, is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
New Orleans was a social service nightmare before Katrina. It’s mental health infrastructure was likely underfunded like many other inner city services. But the results of the devastating trauma of Katrina spawned flood, people are stressed beyond their ability to cope. Psychiatric beds have shrunk by 80% while many professionals have abandoned the city along with half it it’s residents. It’s often those without alternatives who are left to return, to conditions worse than they ever were.