Military Suggests How to Prevent and Treat Trauma and PTSD
The graphic to the side comes from the Military Health Matters website. I give a wholehearted endorsement to the suggestions in the balloons that tell you how you can lessen the effects of trauma and perhaps prevent PTSD from developing.
I do, however, take issue with their suggested treatments. The pros and cons of the treatments listed at the top of the graphic are discussed below.
Counseling and Psychotherapy
Trauma and PTSD have their origins in a bodily reaction to an overwhelming event. While counseling and psychotherapy can be helpful, they tend to work with the cognitive functions, or higher levels, of the brain. Quite often, they neglect the roots of the traumas that lie in the body. A somatic-based therapy is far more effective.
Sometimes the symptoms of trauma and PTSD can be so severe that medications to help alleviate anxiety and sleeplessness must be given before any other type of treatment can be pursued. Still, the side-effects of this treatment can mask symptoms and lead to dependency.
This type of therapy should be avoided at all costs. It tends to retraumatize and/or send the sufferer into a parasympathetic shut down. So even though the patients may report less anxiety and better sleep, their bodies lapse into a listless state that leaves them lacking in any sense of aliveness. Although the military loves this therapy, it is archaic and a cruel remnant of therapies that were created before the advent of neuro-imaging, which changed the face of trauma therapy and ushered in the far more gentle and effective somatic-based treatments. Often called Prolonged Exposure Therapy, it should go the way of pre-frontal lobotomies and dinosaurs.
This is the best of the treatments listed on this site. Talking and sharing with others who have similar experiences creates a sense of community and a bond that goes far in helping relieve the symptoms of trauma and PTSD.
This is the best of all the treatments. It isn’t listed by the military because Somatic Experiencing has mostly anecdotal evidence, albeit strong and persuasive, to support its effectiveness. This is a body-based treatment that gets to the roots of the traumas and PTSD that are entangled within the nervous system of the body. It is gentle and thorough and also has the added benefit of teaching the patient how to not become traumatized in the future. This is the treatment of the future yet is available nationwide right now.
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