Brain aware coping with post-traumatic stress disorder

Overview

A recent analysis found that the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD ) rate among troops serving in Iraq may be as high as 35 per cent. Even more conservative estimates, which cite a 20 per cent PTSD rate, are sobering. Common symptoms include trouble sleeping or concentrating, feeling detached from people, apathy, irritability, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, nightmares, or inability to concentrate, but they vary depending on the person and the trauma. It can take weeks, months, or even years for PTSD to appear following a traumatic event or period.

Is there a cure?

Most experts agree that there is no “cure” for PTSD, but rather that a person suffering from PTSD can utilise different strategies to manage the symptoms of the disorder. Because everyone’s condition is unique, a strategy that may help one person may be ineffective in another. Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT ) are two of the best proven strategies currently employed to ameliorate the day-to-day symptoms of PTSD. Although a high percentage of people with PTSD take medications for their symptoms, the National Academies recently reported that there is little evidence of their efficacy in treating the disorder.

Research studies

Learn about the latest research on treating PTSD.

Visit onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10 1002/jts.20493/abstract to read about the lack of mental health treatment for veterans with PTSD.

Visit www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21118656 to see which parts of the brain are physically changed in people suffering from PTSD.

Visit www.positscience.com/blog/2011/04/05/the-nose-knows-combining-scents-with-virtual-reality-to-combat-ptsd/ to read an article about why researchers believe that adding smells to virtual reality therapy might help with PTSD.

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