Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition resulting from the brain’s inability to process a distressing event or series of events. Unless treatment is sought disturbing sensory memories and intrusive thoughts associated with the incident have the ability to stay trapped within the body, often with symptoms persisting many years later.
Those seeking treatment for PTSD usually have experienced some form of trauma such as psychological, physical or sexual abuse, wartime violence, a terrorist act, natural disaster, assault or accident.
PTSD Symptoms include:
Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event (people, places, activities, objects, or situations).
Negative thoughts and feelings (rumination distorted beliefs about oneself and emotions such as anger, guilt, shame).
Arousal and reactive symptoms (Irritability, poor impulse control, angry outbursts, sleep difficulties).
The best evidence based treatment for PTSD is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to effectively address symptoms such as negative cognitions, mood and states of hyper-arousal.
EMDR is endorsed by the World Health Organisation as the best evidence based treatment for PTSD based on forty-eight clinical trials.
It has been proven that 84%-90% of single incident trauma victims no longer experienced symptoms of PTSD after only 3 x 90 minute EMDR treatment sessions. The length of treatment, however, is determined by the amount of traumatic incidents on an individuals timeline.
EMDR treatment targets symptoms of PTSD by replicating the bi-lateral stimulation, a backward and forward movement that the eyes make during the four hours of REM sleep that we experience each the night.
A symptom of PTSD is the experience of a ‘frozen’ traumatic memory that stores itself in the right side of the brain. Bilateral stimulation allows the thoughts to be filtered and desensitised on our neuro-network by taxing the working memory in a dual focus shuffling process. The traumatic memory then becomes integrated into an individuals memory system through this stimulation treatment process by pulling the memory to the left hemisphere of the brain and back again.
The result of EMDR treatment is that the emotional charge of the memory is drawn out of the body and looses its intensity. The PTSD symptom that feels like “its happening now” becomes distant and depending on the length of treatment can disappear altogether.
Aside from reliving the original incident through flashbacks EMDR treatment reduces other PTSD like symptoms such as sadness, anger, sensory reactions and feelings of detachment from others.
If you would like treatment for PTSD please contact me.
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