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Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day, in honor of veterans that have served our country. Yet every day, many veterans struggle with mental health issues. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common diagnosis for those that have experienced life threatening traumatic events and have ongoing difficulties with intrusive memories, hyper vigilance and attempts to avoid thinking about the events. Some veterans have nightmares, difficulty with anger management and feel isolated and misunderstood when y=they return home after active duty and combat situations.

The Veteran’s Administration provides physical and mental health services for veterans.  But for some, that is not enough. The good news for veterans is that there are alternative mental health services for military service people and veterans.

Give an Hour

Give an Hour is a national nonprofit organization with a large network of mental health clinicians that offer no cost mental health counseling to those that qualify. Give an Hour offers its services to all active duty service members, veterans of any era, and their loved ones. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, unmarried partners, and others affected by a loved one’s service.

Give an Hour clinicians sign up and agree to offer one free hour a week of psychotherapy to a member of the military, active or veteran, or a family member. Veterans and family members can sign up on the Give an Hour website and select from a list of volunteer psychotherapists.

According to the Give An Hour Website, eligible clients include:

To Donate to Give an Hour, click here.

Headstrong

Headstrong is a service that is available to combat veterans that provides free psychotherapy specific to treat PTSD, usually via a type of PTSD treatment called EDMR. According to Headstrong website, Headstrong was founded in 2012 through a partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine, one of the nation’s leading mental health care centers to offer free, and confidential treatment for post-9/11 military veterans. Headstrong currently offers services in select cities in the following States: California, Colorado, Illinois (Chicago), Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Texas (Houston), Virginia,  and Washington DC.

Headstrong has developed an evidence-based, cost-free, stigma-free, confidential, and frictionless mental health treatment program for post-9/11 military veterans that works.

For combat veterans in Chicago, to sign up for free Headstrong Services, click here.

Headstrong is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization supported primarily by donations. To donate to Headstrong, click here.

Disclaimer: As a mental health provider, I participate in both Give an Hour and Headstrong. I believe strongly in helping our nation’s military personnel and I also specialize in helping clients recover from traumatic experiences.

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Deep breathing from Anxiety Therapy Online

Deep breathing from Anxiety Therapy Online

The Wounded Warrior Project on Facebook. recently posted about another study on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatments for veterans.  This study looks at effects of meditation on PTSD in improving outcomes and helping vets become less dependent on medication. (It’s confusing I know, meditation and medication, but follow along!) The article, “Meditation may reduce PTSD, medication in soldiers in UPC.com,” by Stephen Feller, explains that Dwight Eisenhower Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic and Augusta University researchers conducted a study mounted the study that taught active duty military personnel with concussions and PTSD to use transcendental meditation as part of their recovery. The study demonstrated that meditation techniques helped reduce the anxious, hyperactive state that is common with those suffering from PTSD symptoms.

According to Fellers article: “One month into the study, 83.7 percent of the meditation group had stabilized, decreased or stopped taking meditation, while 10.9 percent increased their medication dosage. Of the non-meditation group, 59.4 percent had stabilized, decreased or stopped using drugs, while 40.5 percent increased the amount of medication taken. Similar patterns were seen at two- and six-month follow-ups.” That’s good news for military and civilians with symptoms of PTSD.

How does TM help those with PTSD and concussions? Feller states that meditation helps people tune out distractions and feel an inner calm that helps reduce the amount of stress hormones in the brain while meditating.

Want to learn how to meditate via transcendental meditation? Go to the TM website here and learn more.

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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I really like the Wounded Warrior Project on Facebook. Aside from the great work they do helping wounded vets, Wounded Warrier Project Facebook authors tend to post about some of the most recent research on PTSD and other mental health interventions for veterans and military personnel. Much of the research is also beneficial for the general population as well.

I recently read one of their posts about a new study designed to determine if using nature as form of therapy for veterans with PTSD is helpful.  Sara Legg from the Daily Utah Chronicle, does a nice job of summing up the research for lay people in her article, aptly named, U Researchers Examine Nature as a Form of Therapy for Military Veterans. Legg reports that the recently funded study will be undertaken in late Summer or early Fall 2016 at the University of Utah. The research group is in the process of designing their research parameters and plan to use personal interviews, surveys and photos in the project.

 

Daniel Dustin, PhD, one of the study principal investigators and is a professor in University of Utah’s Parks Recreation And Tourism Department in the College of Health.

Daniel Dustin, Ph.D

Daniel Dustin, Ph.D

From his university bio: Daniel L. Dustin is a Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in the College of Health. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in resource planning and conservation from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in recreation and park administration from the University of Minnesota. Among his recent works as an author and editor are Stewards of Access-Custodians of Choice: a Philosophical Foundation for Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; Speaking Up and Speaking Out: Working for Social and Environmental Justice through Parks, Recreation, and Leisure; Service Living: Building Community through Public Parks and Recreation; The Wilderness Within: Reflections on Leisure and Life; Making a Difference in Academic Life: a Handbook for Park, Recreation, and Tourism Educators and Graduate Students; and Nature and the Human Spirit: Toward an Expanded Land Management Ethic. Link to Dr Dustin’s previous research here.

I am excited to read more about the study this Fall or Winter, 2016! I’ve been posting about the effects of nature on stress and mental health for years. Here are some of my research based posts on nature and stress:
A Cure For Burnout and Stress–As Simple as a Walk In The Woods!

In the Nature Versus Technology Contest, Nature Wins

Check out the Nature and Stress category of my blog for other posts about local and international places to experience nature, relaxation and peace.

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MDMA for PTSD
Image by ddaa via Flickr

The holidays can be stressful for all of us. For some people, managing stress requires more than time management and breathing techniques. People that have been through trauma are often wired to overreact to stress. For those that have been through trauma events, war, violence, and similar events, everyday stress may be more than they can handle. But help for PTSD and other trauma related conditions is now much more available. According to John M Grohol PsyD in PyschCentral.com, EDMR therapy may work in only 5 sessions.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a type of psychotherapy that, among other things, involves thinking about the traumatic event while attending to bodily reactions and moving your eyes left and right, usually following a light or the therapist’s finger. The  therapy focuses on ‘reprocessing’ the trauma memories – essentially remembering and ‘reliving’ them, which seems to play a major role in preventing the uncontrolled memories and flashbacks that are part of the disorder.

Read Dr. Grohol’s article below for more insight into how eye movements can help reprogram people with PTSD’s  nervous systems.

Does EMDR Work in Just 5 Sessions

By John M Grohol PsyD in PyschCentral.com

Can eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy technique, work to help people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in just 5 sessions? The short answer is, yes.

And what about its long-term effects of EMDR? Do the benefits continue even after treatment has ended? Yes again.

For the first answer, I turn to Swedish researchers who examined 24 subjects who had just five sessions of EMDR therapy for the treatment of PTSD. After the five-session treatment, 67% of the subjects no longer met criteria for PTSD (compared to 10% of the control group), and there were significant differences post-treatment between the groups in Global Assessment of Function (GAF) scores and Hamilton Depression (HAM-D) scores. These latter two measures helped to measure how the person actually felt (versus some objective, but clinical, third-party diagnostic criteria). That’s significant, because it means that not only did two-thirds of those who received the EMDR treatment not meet the criteria for PTSD any longer, they actually felt better too. Sometimes researchers forget to measure silly things like that.

How about the long-term benefits of EMDR? Do psychotherapy techniques like EMDR actually help people even after therapy has ended?

To answer this question, van der Kolk and associates earlier this year examined the efficacy of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, with a psychotherapeutic treatment, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and pill placebo and measured maintenance of treatment gains at 6-month follow-up. They too relied on the clinical diagnostic criteria of PTSD as the primary outcome measure, but also used the Beck Depression Inventory II as a secondary measure (again, that pesky subjective measure needed to help determine whether any of this actually helps a person feel better!). Eighty-eight subjects were enrolled in the study, and the study again focused on brief treatment — this time, only eight sessions of EMDR were administered.

After the eight week treatment block, fluoextine and EMDR were equally effective,

However, six months later, 75% who had been traumatised in adulthood and were treated with EMDR reported having no symptoms. For people traumatised during childhood, a third treated by EMDR were symptom free at 6 months.

In contrast, none of the people in either group treated with fluoxetine managed to free themselves from symptoms.

As the researchers noted, brief EMDR treatment produces substantial and sustained reduction of PTSD and depression in most victims of adult-onset trauma.

So the next time you think psychotherapy has to take months or years to achieve its effects for the reduction in PTSD severity, point your therapist to this entry. Lasting effects can be had in just 5 to 8 weeks.

Read entire article by John M Grohol PsyDhere. Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Link to abstract of clinical trial.

EMDR Practioners in Chicago

• Ann Foster L.C.P.C. at Millenium Counseling Center

• Jenny Scanlon L.C.P.C. at Millenium Counseling Center

• Nicole Wahlert L.C.P.C.at Millenium Counseling Center

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