Any traumatic experience from a physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, disaster, or other serious events, can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Studies show that suicide risk is higher with those suffering from PTSD, making effective treatment key to management and recovery. According to the Mayo Clinic, the primary treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy, as well as medication.
Psychotherapy - or “talk therapy” - in various types can help the individuals develop stress management skills, as well as control fear after a traumatic event. Where, in addition, medications may be prescribed to help relieve anxiety, improve sleep and concentration, or help symptoms of depression.
While technology has helped PTSD treatment for the individual, PTSD remains something that affects more than the sufferer. Someone with PTSD can become a different person, with the people close to them having to also act differently as a result, which can significantly strain relationships. In other words, all such solutions need to recognize and address the greater community around the patient as they are also very much affected.
Here are a few insights from specialists about PTSD that may help us all better understand PTSD, seeing it not only from the patient's immediate perspective but also beyond what the patients do and go through:
Domna Ventouratou, psychotherapist and founder of the Institute for Trauma Treatment in Athens:
"In order to confront the deepest layers of anxiety, fear and survival terror, you have to go beyond just telling stories about the past. You have to find ways to safely unearth old emotions stored deep in the body."
Peter Giacobbe, psychiatrist and clinical lead at the Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
“PTSD is a debilitating mental illness. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of PTSD patients are considered to have treatment-resistant PTSD because they do not respond to psychotherapy and medication. We need to look at new approaches to treating this group of PTSD sufferers.” (source: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre)
Norah Feeny, professor of psychological studies at Case Western Reserve.
"When patients receive proven PTSD treatments, their symptoms, and quality of life improve," said "When patients choose their treatment, they're more likely to stick with it, helping the magnitude of their improvement." (source: MedicalXpress)
Neil Greenberg, an academic psychiatrist at King's College London and an authority on psychological injury in the U.K. armed forces:
“Supporting the bonds between people within communities and organizations, along with a temporary reduction in exposure to stressful situations as people recover are the best approaches. And, it’s still important, if challenging, to ensure that the relatively small number of people whose short-term distress does not resolve are able to access timely and effective evidence-based care.”
Ruth Lanius, neuroscientists, and professor of Psychiatry and the director of the PTSD research unit at the University of Western Ontario:
"To understand PTSD, it’s not just a brain disorder, but it’s a brain, mind and body disorder...In the past, people with mental illness, all their symptoms were invisible and I think that really contributed to the stigma of mental illness. You can now visibly see that something is wrong with the brain (through a quantifiable diagnostic measure such as a brain scan, obtained from magnetic resonance imaging).” (source: Windsor Star)
The unifying theme of these specialists in supporting care for those suffering from PTSD, their loved ones and circle of care is engagement. More specifically, where the patient is provided with care/understanding specific to their individual needs, providing a means of on-going communication that they want, however and whenever they want regarding treatment, medication and outreach with their community of care as a vital part of after-care plans - #BeLifeWIREd.