Post-traumatic stress, tips to control the symptoms

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a form of mental distress that occurs following traumatic events of some kind. The triggering episodes can be any kind, such as wars, plane crashes, floods, earthquakes, but it can also be much more private forms that have traumatized us: family abuse at a young age, sexual assault, and more.

All of these patients see their minds disrupted precisely on a chemical level, and it is only in recent decades that people have begun to study this problem and attempt to "cure" those who suffer from it, as this condition can have significant effects not only on daily life, but can also extend into relationships with others.

Assuming that clinical therapy is the best solution, we will try to give you some advice on how to try to manage the symptoms as best as possible.

The causes of the PTSD
Post traumatic stress disorder can result from so many difficult situations, from wars to personal abuse in both youth and adulthood. People with PTSD manifest difficulty in controlling emotions, irritability, sudden anger or emotional confusion, depression and anxiety, and insomnia. Therefore, clinical therapy is necessary and imperative: there are no shortcuts or tricks; one needs to work on oneself.
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PTSD studied after Vietnam
This form of mental distress was initially studied immediately after the end of the U.S. war in Vietnam by analyzing the reactions and behaviors of veterans. However, one does not need to have been a soldier to suffer from PTSD. A child who has lived in a difficult environment or even just in a war zone, a woman who has been physically abused (not necessarily sexually, psychological abuse and harassment are difficult to overcome), being bullied as a kid-all of these can cause the onset of this disorder at any time.
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The starting point of therapy for the PTSD
The AIP model, the theoretical framework behind EMDR, speaks of PTSD symptoms as a manifestation of trauma denial. Basically, by avoiding processing the traumatic information, one is unable to desensitize oneself from the trauma, and therefore not even to overcome what happened. Thus, a loop is created from which, alone, it is not possible to get out. The main advice is not to isolate yourself, do not close yourself off, and immediately seek help from a specialist.
Treatment of symptoms must start with the individual
In addition to drug treatment (antidepressants, tranquilizers, etc.) there is psychotherapeutic treatment, in the course of which one learns to manage anxiety, depression, and modify dangerous behaviors, such as denying the trauma. Some psychological therapies, such as the Prolonged Exposure Protocol and Narrative Therapy, aim precisely at processing the trauma and desensitizing from it.
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Pet Therapy and PTSD? It is being studied
Is pet therapy helpful in cases of PTSD? Scientific studies are moving in the direction of confirming this hypothesis, but there is still much to be done. In the thesis "Pet Therapy and post-traumatic stress disorder" (E. Magri), the catalyst for this process lies precisely in the interaction with the animal, capable of detaching from forms of dependence, typical of certain drugs and therapies. Especially in public and crowded places, but also for the management of anxiety and depression, animals from pet therapy can be really useful and less "brutal" than conventional therapies.
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New research from the University of Sydney
UNSW has published a study showing that alongside classic exposure therapy (the classic method by which PSTD is treated clinically), 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can be added, which would stimulate the production of a particular growth molecule in the brain, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF. Increasing this BDNF would increase the effectiveness of the exposure, and thus the therapy. Unfortunately, to have significant results, this process must be repeated for a long time.
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