PTSD Awareness Post 2017 – Part II


June was PTSD Awareness Month
Adding to our awareness – Part II

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Updated Refliections Post
Self-Health Series
Part I HERE

“Emotions are very good at activating thoughts,
but thoughts are not very good at controlling emotions.

~  Joseph LeDoux

Since my Sleep Awareness post somehow jumped the queue and was posted at the same time as Part-1 of this article, I decided to wait a bit to give readers a shot at catching up.  Again, my apologies for seeming to inundate with info – it was not intentional.

This Part may seem long, but much of the first half is review — so those of you who read Part-1 will be able to skim through it quickly.

Identifying PTSD

PTSD can present in a variety of ways, with more than a few symptoms in common with depression, in addition to any or all of those characterizing other anxiety disorders.

As I explained in Part I, PTSD is now believed to be caused by a neuro-chemical alteration in the brain in response to exposure to trauma. It holds us prisoner, responding in the moment to threats from the past.

Unprocessed trauma continues to haunt us, eroding our sense of safety and security. As a result, it can keep us stuck in an amygdala-defensive emotional pattern that may induce a variety of symptoms over which we feel we have no control.

In fact, we cannot control them in the moment.  Current therapies are focused on helping us to change our subsequent response to them.

Exposure to trauma physically changes the structure of the brain, upsetting the neurochemical balance needed to respond appropriately, faster than we can over-ride cognitively.

It seems that repeated experience of traumatic events, especially when left to fester unprocessed, can prevent rebalancing, which prevents healing (meaning, allowing the past to remain in the past, confident that you have the strength to handle whatever life throws your way in the future).

In other words, our brains are designed to respond neuro-chemically when our safety is threatened, regardless of what we think about it logically or how we feel about it emotionally.

  • Some of us are able to process those perfectly normal and appropriate fearful responses and move forward.
  • Others of us, for a great many reasons science is still trying to understand, are not.
  • At this point in time, we move forward primarily with statistics.

Statistics explored in Part I

In the previous section of this article we also looked at the prevalence of PTSD compared to the total number of people who ever experienced trauma in their lives.  We took a look at the various risk factors for developing PTSD following exposure to trauma.

You saw that the risk was effectively double for women, and that significantly more women are exposed to trauma in their lives than their male friends and relatives – and that recovery times tended to be longer.

Approximately 50% – five out of every ten women – will experience a traumatic event at some point during their lifetime, according to the The National Center for PTSD, a division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

One in ten of those women will develop PTSD as a result.

Inadequate understanding & treatment

Science is still looking for many of the pieces of the PTSD puzzle.

Even though a variety of therapies can help relieve PTSD symptoms, at the current time there is no “cure” – or prevention – nor is there an adequate explanation for how exposure to the same trauma can affect different individuals to different degrees of severity.

We also do not have definitive treatment protocols equally effective for everyone who experiences PTSD.

Brain-based research

Right now it looks like the difference between who recovers from trauma and who is more likely to develop PTSD may turn out to have a genetic component.

It may be also be linked to the size of specific areas of the brain, which could be a product of genetics or epigentics (how your internal and external environments change the expression of your genes).

Related Posts:
Making Friends with CHANGE
A Super Brief and Basic Explanation of Epigenetics for Total Beginners (off-site)

While controversial, the most recent research ties the development of PTSD to the size of an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which is primarily known for its role in the formation of non-disordered memories.

Greater size indicates a greater ability to recover from trauma.

A smaller hippocampus may increase the risk of developing PTSD as well as the severity of its symptoms, and/or lengthen the duration and recovery time.

Some studies suggest that repeated exposure to stress may actually damage the hippocampus, through the repeated release of the stress-hormone cortisol.

Related Posts:
Hippocampal volume and resilience in PTSD
Brain region size associated with response to PTSD treatment

So perhaps PTSD is hormonal?

Cortisol is a mobilizing hormone.  We need it. We might not even get up off the couch without it. However, it is most widely known for its assistance motivating the body for rapid and effective response to a stressful or life-threatening event – our “fight or flight” reaction.

Problems result because our brains and bodies are not designed
to live in a state of persistent and protracted stress.

Scientists have long suspected the role of cortisol in PTSD.  They have been studying it, with inconclusive results, since findings in the 1980s connected abnormal cortisol levels to an increased PTSD risk

A study reported in early 2011 by researchers at Emory University and the University of Vermont found that high blood levels of the hormone PACAP (pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide), produced in response to stress, are linked to PTSD in women — but not in men.

PACAP is known to act throughout both body and brain, modulating metabolism, blood pressure, immune function, CNS activity [central nervous system], and pain sensitivity.

Its identification as an indicator of PTSD may lead to new diagnostics and to effective treatments — for anxiety disorders overall, as well as PTSD in particular.

But maybe not cortisol alone

Findings published early this year in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology point to cortisol’s critical role in the emergence of PTSD only when levels of testosterone are suppressed [April 2017, Volume 78, Pages 76–84 ]

Testosterone is one of most important of the male sex hormones,
but is is also found in women, albeit in much lower concentrations.

According to UT Austin professor of psychology Robert Josephs, the first author of the study:

“Recent evidence points to testosterone’s suppression of cortisol activity, and vice versa.

It is becoming clear to many researchers that you can’t understand the effects of one without simultaneously monitoring the activity of the other.

Prior attempts to link PTSD to cortisol may have failed because the powerful effect that testosterone has on the hormonal regulation of stress was not taken into account.”

PTSD Risk Can Be Predicted by Hormone Levels Prior to Deployment, Study Says

What we think we know for sure

What science does believe it now knows is that PTSD is a result of both the event that threatens injury to self or others, and the emotional, hormonal response to those events that involve persistent fear or helplessness.

At this time, the goal of PTSD treatment is to reduce, if not eliminate, chronic fear-based emotional and physical symptoms to improve the quality of day-to-day life.

Research is ongoing to see if it is possible to chemically block the development of PTSD by blocking the formation of fear memories.

Blocking human fear memory with the matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor doxycycline

Current treatments are limited to psychotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or other types of counseling/coaching, and/or medication, along with less well-known and less widely accepted attempts at intervention like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique: “tapping”) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

The value of information

Before we explore the variety of treatments currently available (in a future article), let’s take a look at some of the symptoms associated with PTSD.  It will help you understand your own or those of a loved-one with PTSD.

Understanding, empathy and self-acceptance walk hand in hand – which are healing all by themselves.

Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

HOVER before clicking – often a box will appear to tell you what to expect

Identifying PTSD

To review concisely:

  1. Based on what we know today, PTSD seems to follow in the wake of unprocessed trauma in some individuals.
  2. It can show up in a variety of ways, with quite a few symptoms in common with depression or other anxiety disorders.
  3. Sufferers are stuck in an amygdala-defensive emotional pattern that may induce a variety of symptoms over which they feel they have no control, like some or all of the symptoms below.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Re-living the event, with or without flashbacks – or –
    conversely, loss of memory about the event causing the symptoms
  • Heightened anxiety reactions to reminders of the event
  • Feelings of depression, detachment, numbness – or –
    conversely, hyperarousal and unwavering vigilence
  • Loss of interest in (or energy for) former activities — including loss of ability/willingness to re-engage in work
  • Feelings of shame, despair, or hopelessness
  • Extreme avoidance, avoiding people or places that are reminders of the event, or avoiding close emotional contact with family and friends
  • Anger and irritability; dulled or absent sense of humor
  • Nightmares, and/or difficulty falling or staying asleep – or –
    “waking dreams” i.e., hallucinations

Physical Symptoms

  • Physical sensations of original trauma
  • Somatic complaints (bodily symptoms for no apparent reason)
  • Sensory distortions (hallucinations) or increased sensitivities (sensory overload)
  • Considerable changes in appetite (or taste) — weight gain or weight loss
  • Stomach and digestive problems; irritable bowels; diarrhea, vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches (including migraines)
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances – oversleeping, insomnia, apnea-like symptoms upon lying down
  • Muscles that itch or cramp without cause
  • Sexual difficulties or absence of interest
  • An increased possibility of substance abuse or susceptibility to addiction
  • Bodily tremors (the shakes)

Cognitive Symptoms (many ADD-like)

BASICALLY, Executive Functioning Disorders (all of which I can help with, btw)

  • Problems concentrating — difficulty concentrating at all
  • Difficulty sustaining attention — high distractibility
  • Hypervigilance
  • Unusually high or exaggerated startle response
  • Impulsivity – little space between impulse and action
  • Lack of emotional control leading to lack of physical control
    (especially destructive or self-destructive behaviors)
  • Impaired or absent ability for physical or mental organization and/or task completion
  • Problems with abstract thinking & problem solving
  • Poor decision-making ability (including loss of ability to decide)
  • Altered personality traits; change in core beliefs
  • Blame distortion, black and white thinking and/or distorted beliefs
  • Dissociation — experiences of depersonalization or derealization
  • Heightened perception of emotions (selectively or all)
  • Memory lapses or short-term memory problems
  • Negative mindset

Already struggling?

Citizens of Alphabet City, already dealing with one of the Executive Functioning Disorders, may find it practically impossible to drive their own brain since the traumatic incident.

With PTSD, that can happen for the first time in their life, too,
without the presence of a prior diagnosis

It can become an additional traumatizing experience to fear that they are rapidly losing control of their Executive Functions — the ability to plan, prioritize, stay-tracked to completion, or think clearly.

PTSD Complications

Recent research on PTSD in the military indicates that there is no such thing as “uncomplicated” PTSD.

Although explanations point to the classic “chicken and egg” problem, it is clear that each symptom complicates and exacerbates the presentation of the others.

Along with depression, substance abuse and addiction, PTSD can lead to the development of anxiety disorders of other types.

That, in turn, may lead to exaggerated restrictions in a sufferer’s life that may approach the severity of classic phobias and panic disorders.

Problems in the family and break-up of significant relationships are not uncommon, leading to social withdrawal and the additional negative effects of loneliness.

Both activity duty personnel and military veterans are at significantly greater risk for sleep disorders than the public at large, which elevates their risk for a number of serious physical and mental health problems, depression as well as PTSD.

PTSD Subtypes

In addition to symptoms and symptom severity, PTSD is diagnosed and categorized according to when symptoms appear and how long they last following the precipitating event, currently divided into three separate categories.

  1. Acute PTSD: symptoms appear immediately following the trauma experience (or shortly thereafter) and last between one to three months after the event
  2. Chronic PTSD: symptoms last more than three months after the event – sometimes for many years. Nearly 30% of Vietnam veterans meet lifetime criteria for PTSD, and almost 85% of the Vietnam veterans diagnosed with PTSD still suffer from at least moderate impairment today.
  3. Delayed onset PTSD: symptoms don’t appear until at least six months after the event, and can remain the same or worsen over time — sometimes continuing for many years

Complex PTSD [C-PTSD]:

The current PTSD diagnosis does not fully capture the more severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged, repeated trauma.

The information in this article describes PTSD regardless of subtype, but primarily PTSD that occurs following exposure to time-delimited traumatic events.

My comprehensive article about C-PTSD is available HERE

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Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs always okay, and much appreciated)


If you are (or love) a veteran of combat, make sure you investigate what the Armed Services have put into place to help — and check out the links below, and on the right sidebar (scroll DOWN to the TBI links for the Bob Woodruff Foundation – also check out The Coming Home Project.)

Just learned about Warrior Expeditions, a great way for many soldiers to “come down” from the wars, from “almost unsalvageable” artist/blogger/writer/hiker (and househusband – lol) Gabe Burkhardt “recognizing the therapeutic effects of long distance outdoor expeditions, Warrior Expeditions created the Warrior Hike, Warrior Bike, and Warrior Paddle programs which are designed to help combat veterans transition from their military service.”


As always, if you want notification of new articles in the Self-Health Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!). 


You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

Other supports for this article – on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

Related Articles ’round the net

A few PTSD Support Sites

Related Information Articles

BY THE WAY: Since ADDandSoMuchMore.com is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

109 Responses to PTSD Awareness Post 2017 – Part II

  1. daisymae2017 says:

    I shared on LinkedIn and reblogged on http://daisymae2017.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful of you Crystal!!! I’ll be over to say thanks in a bit – dog time right now.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • daisymae2017 says:

        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. daisymae2017 says:

    Reblogged this on WELCOME TO CRYSTAL'S SITE(ORIGINALLY COUNTRY LIVING) and commented:
    Informative and Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love that you are sharing this info with your community, Crystal – I just know that it will change somebody’s life to be able to put a “name” to what they are experiencing. It did for me, anyway. That’s when my healing began. Thanks for helping to spread Awareness.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • daisymae2017 says:

        Your Welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Madelyn! This was an incredibly well-researched post (again).
    Can you believe the DSM V is already available? (And has made some interesting updates regarding diagnostic criteria for PTSD in light of influx of veterans struggling to find adequate diagnosis and treatment)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Gabe — coming from you that means a lot.

      Unfortunately I CAN believe the DSM-5 is out — I kept up during all the development agita so was all too aware of its debut.

      I’m praying for a rapid arrival of DSM-6 — and a different bunch of shepherds who are eager to get MORE specific, not less – about the EF disorders especially (can you tell I’m not 5’s biggest fan – lol)

      Meanwhile, ICD-10 anyone? 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yikes! medical coding still causes me to shudder. Fortunately, THAT is far behind me now.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s one of those dreadful “admin” tasks that seems to continue to get more complex with every change to the DSM!

          Somebody could make a fortune with a vertical ap: “You tell us what’s wrong and we come up with codes, meds, costs, and insurance implications.” Would that it were even possible, huh?

          A friend who’s first career was as a psych nurse used to tell a joke about the devil and a doctor allowed to pick his eternity after he died, each behind a door leading to a room. “Chart hell” was one of the choices. “Code hell” was another.

          Too much to type here (one of those long ones), but he finally gets to a room with soothing music, soft lighting and coffee & donuts paid for and served by beautiful nurses, so appreciative of how hard the doctors work, and each dressed in skimpy white outfits — his wish their command.

          As one nurse begins to massage his aching feet while another works on his shoulders, the devil enters.

          “Oh no – you went in the wrong door – that’s nurses hell.” ::pa dump dum!::
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • heheheheh so true Madelyn! I’m sure I’m unconsciously guilty of taking advantage of the tireless efforts of a support staff that took care of the “little stuff.” Makes me cringe a bit now, but I can still vaguely recall feeling the tip-of-the-iceberg frustration when I had to hand write my own notes (rather than transcribe dictations) or look up my own codes for procedures. And God forbid those 2am pages while on in-house call when a nurse couldn’t get an IV in 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            • And don’t you know that nurse was miserable about having to make the call! The poor pin-cushion of a patient no doubt prayed that you would arrive at once and be able to find a vein!

              But NOBODY wants a Dr. to write his notes! Can you guys even read your own handwriting? 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • hehehe so true. It’s taken nearly 5 years for my handwriting to become (almost) legible again.

              Liked by 1 person

            • That’s why God made laptops? 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Important health information

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reblogging, Patricia – and for contexting it as “health” information. You’re right – it IS important to keep things positive, and our health responds positively.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A most interesting read, Madelyn. As I mentioned before, Gregory was diagnosed (eventually) with post traumatic stress disorder after his 18 operations. OCD is a symptom of the PTSD. I was interested to note that they use cognitive behaviour therapy to treat both of these conditions. We have tried this aggressively and non-aggressively but it hasn’t helped. It only works if the patient embraces the treatment and internalises it. Children tend not to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robbie.

      You are SO right about the difficulties getting kids on board with CBT-like modalities. They tend to get a great deal more oppositional when you try to work directly – which is already a feature of OCD.

      Don’t give up on it – you are planting seeds that are likely to sprout eventually – when he will be “friendlier” to the ideas as they filter in.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  6. paulandruss says:

    Superbly informative as usual

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Paul — especially for the “as usual” part.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Christy B says:

    This is such a comprehensive post, Madelyn! It is a subject close to my heart after witnessing horrific events several years ago. I had PTSD, as per my doctor, and I was like “what?” It explained some of my “flat” feeling and withdrawal. I appreciate your investigation here in the roles of hormones and how you use research to back up your statements. Thank you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Christy. Many of us don’t suspect PTSD when we are exposed to trauma – especially when we are “merely” witnesses – and because not everyone exposed to trauma develops PTSD.

      I firmly believe that awareness is the first step on the road to change, so most of us feel relief to be able to put a “name” to what’s going on.

      Our next most important step is to move beyond what happened toward responding in a different manner to what happened – i.e., healing – as quickly as is possible for us.

      I hope you are now healed, sending empathy for fact that you had to heal. I’ve been there.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christy B says:

        Thanks Madelyn. I still get triggers but not nearly as often as before. I do find that I still have moments but don’t we all. I’m glad you and I both received help so that now we can help others xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lovely way to think about it, Christy. My triggers are primarily activated by groups of boys “following” me on Tink’s night walks. Since I live within walking distance of several colleges, that does happen frequently (they are merely going in the same direction), but I refuse to lock myself away after the sun goes down. It gets increasingly easier with the passage of time and my habit of redirecting myself to positive thoughts and safety affirmations.
          xx,
          mgh
          PS. FYI – you got autospammed for some reason that makes NO sense to me. Wanted you to know, in case a bunch of your comments go unanswered. I get soooooo much link-spam (millions, really! – spam counter on sidebar) that it is extremely rare I have the time to dig through the trash. Hopefully, now that I have “unspammed” this comment Akismet will learn that you are a legitimate member of my community for the future.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Christy B says:

            Thanks for rescuing me from the spam jail! I don’t know why it went there but it is good to be free from it and now to read your response. It sounds like you are NOT letting your fear keep you inside at night and I am thankful for your courage as it helps people like me feel stronger to know we can do the same xx Hugs!

            Liked by 1 person

            • You are most welcome, Christy — I’m thrilled that today was one of those rare days when I took some time to dig through the trash. Usually I would never have known you had been incarcerated!

              Speaking of courage, I JUST walked back from town with parcels and my puppy (just past midnight) — and, as I had to walk by the dark section passing the park between our little town and my part of the world on my way back home, I sang show tunes at the top of my lungs, gesturing with hands carrying bags as we walked – lol.

              Not only did it keep the negative thoughts at bay, I’m sure anybody who might have been thinking of dastardly deeds decided not to mess with the crazy lady and her little dog. 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

  8. Chuck says:

    Hi Madelyn

    I tried posting this twice yesterday and I assume something happened and it never got approved. I’ll try again.

    We have had this discussion before. I am positive I suffered from PTSD after I came back from Vietnam. I could answer yes to seventy-five percent of the symptoms you list. At the time, I put all that trauma and experiences into my life trunk, locked it, and never wanted to open it again.

    When I was in my mid thirties, I experience another life changing tragedy. This time I could not function and required help. However, when the crisis was over and I was able to return to normal life (i.e. work, college, social, etc.). I stopped the therapy. I can go on describing my flat, unhappy, and depressed life but we know it is typical of those that suffer from PTSD and do not get treatment.

    About ten years later, after being tired of suffering from depression, I sought therapy again. This doctor was fantastic and forced me to go back and deal with the causes. I started feeling better than I had ever felt. Again, I stopped therapy when I started feeling what I thought was normal.

    Now, after a longwinded introduction, my question is do you ever recover fully from PTSD? Looking at your list of symptoms (mental and physical), if I was honest with myself, I would still mark yes to over fifty percent. The majority of the time, I live a happy and enjoyable life. It is only during period of anxiety or prolonged depression, do these symptoms raise their dirty head. They are not debilitating, just very annoying.

    Thank you for your continued support and keeping the issues on the forefront.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SO sorry for your frustration, Chuck – and grateful you came back to try again. Because of those horrid link-spammers, I must personally approve every single comment these days. Since this part of my latest PTSD article was set to autopost while I was out of the city celebrating an early 4th at a friend’s house, I wasn’t here to do so.

      Sometimes if you wait a day or so, a comment will “suddenly” appear for that reason, and sometimes the WordPress Gremlins (or Akismet fairies) snatch it off where the sun don’t shine. lol 🙂 It doesn’t happen a lot because I don’t leave town often or for long these days, but I welcome (and need) those occasional breaks.

      NOW, to address your question:
      My answer/explanaton will, no doubt, be longish – so it will be easier to read if you jump back over to your comment under the article to read it (i.e., not from the comment drop-down)
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      “Forgetting” is still quite the mystery to the scientists, even as they learn more about “remembering” – and that is really at the heart of your question – i.e., “erasing” disturbing tracks laid down as the result of earlier experiences so that you can experience more positive/supportive reactions, thoughts and behaviors instead of what used to be disturbing reactions to your PTSD triggers.

      From an article I posted 3 years ago now: Brain-Based Habit Formation:
      ~~~~~~
      Any golf pro will tell you that eradicating their client’s bad habits is the toughest challenge they face.

      It’s much easier and quicker to coach someone to play par golf if they’ve never picked up a club than if they’ve been a bogey golfer for years.

      Only the best golf pros understand why that is so and what to do to overcome it more quickly, however!

      Brain-Based Habit Formation also explains that (and why) the old pathways never get actually “deleted” — so unless the bogey golfer practices the new habits EVERY SINGLE TIME he picks up a club, he is likely to slip back into his old habits. And every single time he does that, he deepens the “brain-grooves” of the habit he wants to eradicate.

      So, in that sense only, I will tell you that, at present, “PTSD” never really goes away. If you focus on your triggers and allow them to control you, you are likely to find yourself back-sliding quickly. What is needed is to link a new action to an old cue – and pull yourself gently but intentionally away from the old fears and other manifestations (symptoms) the moment you realize that you are “rehearsing the pain.”

      After all, who cares whether it goes away or not if it never troubles you! Take some time to read the brain-based rationale in the article linked above – and thanks so much for your dedication to posting this question. It’s a GREAT comment.
      xx,
      mgh
      Onward and Upward!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Chuck says:

    Hi Madelyn,

    Yesterday I tried posting this twice and I assume it never went through to you was not approved. I’ll try again.

    We have had this discussion before. I am positive I suffered from PTSD after I came back from Vietnam. I could answer yes to seventy-five percent of the symptoms you list. At the time, I put all that trauma and experiences into my life trunk, locked it, and never wanted to open it again.

    When I was in my mid thirties, I experience another life changing tragedy. This time I could not function and required help. However, when the crisis was over and I was able to return to normal life (i.e. work, college, social, etc.). I stopped the therapy. I can go on describing my flat, unhappy, and depressed life but we know it is typical of those that suffer from PTSD and do not get treatment.

    About ten years later, after being tired of suffering from depression, I sought therapy again. This doctor was fantastic and forced me to go back and deal with the causes. I started feeling better than I had ever felt. Again, I stopped therapy when I started feeling what I thought was normal.

    Now, after a longwinded introduction, my question is do you ever recover fully from PTSD? Looking at your list of symptoms (mental and physical), if I was honest with myself, I would still mark yes to over fifty percent. The majority of the time, I live a happy and enjoyable life. It is only during period of anxiety or prolonged depression, do these symptoms raise their dirty head. They are not debilitating, just very annoying.

    Thank you for your continued support and keeping the issues on the forefront.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Look what I found in the spam trash!!! You got autospammed for some reason reason. Wanted you to know, in case a bunch of your comments go unanswered. I get soooooo much link-spam (millions – spam counter on sidebar) that it is extremely rare I have the time to dig through the trash. Hopefully, now that I have “unspammed” this comment Akismet will learn that you are a legitimate member of my community for the future. Sorry for you frustration – and for the time it took for me to find and approve your comment.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:

    We have come a long way in the last 100 years in recognising and diagnosing PTSD but we still tend to associate with those who have seen combat or experienced extreme trauma. However, as you will read in Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s comprehensive post on the subject…50% of women have experienced some form of traumatic event and one in ten of those women will develop PTSD. There is some very interesting research on the link between cortisol and PTSD.. and even if you have not experienced an event that has impacted you, it is likely that you know someone that it has and this post will be very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Sally, you have the most wonderful introductions! Your experience writing publishers blurbs comes to mind here – peaking interest in reading without duplicating content specifically. You are so GOOD at that. Thank you so much – as well as for the reblog itself.

      I hope you recall that if you have ever written anything that relates to anything you see here, leave us all a link. I’ll always approve ANY of your links and will move them up into the Related’s as well (if you have several, leave them in separate comments to keep from being autospammed).
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  11. dgkaye says:

    Wow, this is such an in-depth and succinct article on PTSD Madelyn. Shared everywhere, including my Health and Wellness magazine on Flipboard. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bless you, Debby – so many people know so very little about PTSD. Thank you SO much for spreading the word much farther than I can reach. (Name spelling oops corrected – hope you can see the later “version” in your comment feed).
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye says:

        LOL no worries my friend, yes it’s correct and thanks for taking notice of the spelling of my name. We talked about this! LOL. Huge hugs xo

        Liked by 1 person

        • Good to know. I caught it immediately after it posted, but I wasn’t sure if what was sent to your feed was the old version or the corrected one. Now we know more about how the comment feed works. When you pull it up you get the latest. Thanks for letting me know.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            At least the edit factor is working fine! 🙂 xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • SO much does work well on this platform – and so much more COULD if they’d test before they set their “improvements” live (and ask US how we feel about projected changes before they set them on us as “surprises”).

              Meanwhile, we cope, and must remember to be grateful for small favors – lol 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              Lol, yes, bow to the master wizards of WordPress 🙂 🙂 xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • Wizards/gremlins – far too similar, huh?
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  12. I do not think it is a good idea to use drugs to block the fear response. Fear is a natural emotion that might actually save lives in some circumstances. If we remove fear, what will stop someone from jumping off a cliff without a parachute or wings to see if they can fly?

    I think the key to deal with PTSD trauma is not only a support group made up of others with PTSD so we know we are not alone but learning methods to help us manage the PTSD so it doesn’t manage us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GREAT comment, Lloyd. I agree with you that blocking the fear response is a lousy idea.

      As I understand the goal of the studies, it is to determine the neurochemistry behind flashbacks, primarily. The intention is to be able to use chemical solutions post-trauma, to keep PTSD from settling in (especially the development of memories that become flashbacks).

      They want to be able to identify those soldiers likely to develop PTSD and block the laying down of the *memory* of the trauma to such a dramatic extent, not to block the feeling of fear at the time.

      I SO agree with the PTSD support group approach – with leadership that understands the problem, the reports of the results are very positive.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

      • I think we should not become too dependent on drug use to deal with PTSD trauma. Imagine what it would be like if every woman who reported a rape soon after the alleged incident took place was given a shot to block that fear factor or every combat vet getting that shot after every battle. Then decades later we discover those shots increased our risk for some other disease or dependency of some kind.

        Let’s not forget what happened when frontal lobotomies and electric shock were all the rage to solve psychological challenges/diseases of the mind.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Your caution is right on, IMHO! That’s probably why it is taking so long to find effective treatment options for PTSD. I certainly appreciate the idea of being as sure as possible that nobody will be making things even worse.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  13. Chuck says:

    Hi Madelyn,

    We have had this discussion before. I am positive I suffered from PTSD after I came back from Vietnam. I could answer yes to seventy-five percent of the symptoms you list. At the time, I put all that trauma and experiences into my life trunk, locked it, and never wanted to open it again.

    When I was in my mid thirties, I experience another life changing tragedy. This time I could not function and required help. However, when the crisis was over and I was able to return to normal life (i.e. work, college, social, etc.). I stopped the therapy. I can go on describing my flat, unhappy, and depressed life but we know it is typical of those that suffer from PTSD and do not get treatment.

    About ten years later, after being tired of suffering from depression, I sought therapy again. This doctor was fantastic and forced me to go back and deal with the causes. I started feeling better than I had ever felt. Again, I stopped therapy when I started feeling what I thought was normal.

    Now, after a longwinded introduction, my question is do you ever recover fully from PTSD?
    Looking at your list of symptoms (mental and physical), if I was honest with myself, I would still mark yes to over fifty percent. The majority of the time, I live a happy and enjoyable life. It is only during period of anxiety or prolonged depression, do these symptoms raise their dirty head. They are not debilitating, just very annoying.

    Thank you for your continued support and keeping the issues on the forefront.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL – this one got spammed at the same time as the other, Chuck, but it seems you do what I try to remember to do — draft in a notebook ap, copy and paste. I’m approving BOTH because I don’t know how to let you know what happened otherwise.

      FYI – this comment inspired a blog post about “healing” from PTSD that is in the queue. Linked back to your blog – so watch for a ping when it goes live – with my thanks for prompting another article for my PTSD series.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

      • Chuck says:

        Thank you Madelyn. Yes I write my blogs and longer responses in Word and save them. You never know when you might want to refer to them or use parts for other blogs, comments, etc. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Since most of my comments are lengthier than the norm and Word is a memory hog that slows down Firefox, I have taken to using TextEdit (Macs version of Notepad) – for the same reason. Great minds think alike!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie has provided us with a detailed and invaluable description of symptoms of PTSD. Please, read on…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spent an overnight with a friend to celebrate the 4th and came back to see THIS – thank you. The good vibes continue.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Madelyn! Hope you had a great time!

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was lovely, thank you. A small gathering – perfect size, actually – and I got to chow down on food cooked on the grill, which was a real treat since I can’t really have one here.

          Also had one of the best night’s sleep of my life! The guest room bed had one of those 6″ foam toppers on it, which I had never experienced, and now I’m planning to get one of those instead of popping for the entire “tempurpedic” bed.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  15. -Eugenia says:

    Excellent post, Madelyn. You do a wonderful job of sharing useful information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Eugenia. I believe it really helps to identify and understand what’s going on – and that you are not alone (whether you’re dealing with PTSD personally or in a loved one. I love hearing it’s useful.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  16. So much credible information here to process. We were amazed at the stats with regard to women. Having worked with individuals facing this issue it has been realized how difficult it can be to overcome but nonetheless can be with care and attention. Knowledge of is so important and this article and your efforts Madelyn certainly are the steps we need to take.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! You’re right – it’s not easy, but people DO get beyond it.

      July Fireworks activate triggers for so many, so I thought it was a good time to publish a bit on info about PTSD. Thanks for appreciating.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of the people I help has CP and he has helped me to understand so much about it. When taking him to fireworks he explained that the loud “booms” cause a violent sensation that shoots through his body. He tolerates it because he likes the fireworks. We never know what people go through do we until that person lets us inside.

        Liked by 1 person

        • SO true. A good friend of a good friend has MS, and she describes loud noises as “scrambling” her in a manner that is physically painful.

          Her MS is “brittle” (i.e., easily provoked to seizures due to various causes, with lingering physical after-effects – verbal and mobility related), so she must do her best to avoid places where loud noises are likely to occur.

          Those of us who don’t have to deal with manifestations like these have no IDEA how fortunate we are!!!

          One of the benefits of Awareness Posts is increased empathy for those who are not quite so fortunate.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • We sure are fortunate… and we do not take anything for granted. Life is fragile and in a moment all can change and we are firm believers in what we do today will come back… good and or bad. Look at our lives and your life and the lives of the wonderful folks we get to communicate with here on wordpress and one can see how blessed we all are.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Quite incredible, isn’t it? Great comment!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  17. Currently my strategies to cope with the triggers are writing and photography plus walking when the weather is good on my days off. I enjoy being in Botanic Gardens and around Nature that helps me a lot. Also spending as much time as I can with my brother Stephen when possible. I do have one dumb question. What do you think about hypnosis? Would that help relieve or at least decrease the stressers in my life?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you know that you CAN be hypnotized? Not everyone responds to it, but I know that more than a few people have found it very helpful. I can’t say how hypnosis would work for you – and it would depend on the way the hypnotherapist works, of course, (so ask for specifics first).

      The best stats on de-stress helpers are mindfulness meditation, being in nature, and being around folks who carry the happy/calm vibe (which you’ve already discovered).
      CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a form of therapy that works very well too (reframing your triggers to build new pathways – not “reliving” the trauma). Tapping is said to work very well too. (EFT)
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent article; I was actually waiting for it to follow Part I.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dolly. I originally set Part-1 and 2 to publish on Monday and Friday of the same week, but then something went screwy, so I rehuffled the deck and changed the dates.

      I have noticed that when readers feel inundated, they “like” but they don’t read. I wanted this info to reach as many people as possible, so I waited.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a very good strategy, especially with content as important as yours. Do you know on which days and times you get the most “reads”?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Dolly. The timing of “reads” and “likes” has been all over the map, so I have decided to do my best to be consistent so folks begin to get a sense of when I post and how much time they have to check in before the next post.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Has this strategy been working for you?

            Like

            • Tough to tell, Dolly – except that my stressing about it as gone down considerably, and people DO seem to be finding the posts and commenting on them. I don’t do well focusing on stats – I do better staying tracked on handling what comes across my plate these days.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • As long as there is visible improvement, and your stressing less over it is an improvement in itself!

              Like

            • I’m with you there. It’s why I continue to say, “onward and upward.” Feeling good is a worthy goal.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Certainly.

              Liked by 1 person

  19. Lucy Brazier says:

    I love these posts. Informative, honest and open information that is easily accessible to everyone. It is interesting to know that PTSD is still not fully understood by science, hopefully this brings some comfort to sufferers and those nearest and dearest who are struggling to come to terms with the condition. There seems to be a prevailing assumption that PTSD happens to people who aren’t ‘strong’ enough to ‘cope’ and your articles clearly and firmly prove this isn’t the case at all. Great work.
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Lucy, you captured the essence of this article perfectly! As many PTSD sites claim, “It’s not what’s *wrong* with you, it’s what HAPPENED to you.”

      None of us can cope with unremitting trauma very well – the tipping point will almost always come.

      I appreciate your appreciation. 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, your comment is still lingering in the “pending” list – it seems to have slipped thru the cracks until right now, somehow. Better late than never?

      I always look forward to hearing from you, Lucy – but I guess you got here first and were pushed down by others whose comments also arrived while I was out of town – even though I sort of recall saying something about what you commented upon last: that it’s not what’s “wrong” with us, it’s what HAPPENED to us.

      I like that you picked up and underscored the fact that knowing that science doesn’t fully understand PTSD could actually be comforting to those who are struggling. How much worse to think that there was some “cure” that you didn’t know about!
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lucy Brazier says:

        The pesky pending folder is the bane of my life! I forget about it, then will go and check and I find all these lovely comments hiding, unloved and abandoned! I blame the dictatorial monster that is WP 😉
        PTSD is a subject close to my heart – I am not a sufferer myself, thank goodness, but several of those close to me are and it is a battle that they fight day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. All awareness and research is most important.
        xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • And WordPress feet can get tangled. I was right, it was a comment I had already approved and responded to, but there it was, still hanging out by its lonesome in the pending folder. ::sigh:: So I guess the universe decided there was more to say – lol.

          I’m sorry to read that close friends are struggling with PTSD – it’s hard to watch people we care about struggle. I’m beginning to be inspired to post an EFT article for PTSD sufferers. The feedback on the effectiveness of that technique (“tapping”) has been good.

          I’m never sure how much is primarily marketing-related, but anything that brings a break and more soothing thoughts is good, yes? I have used it with someone in an anxiety state to good effect, and I like the way it works with affirmations that don’t activate resistance to what you are telling yourself (the “even though” technique).

          Perhaps I’ll get busy on a several part treatment article and focus one part on EFT – that’s great lemonade from the “pending folder” Thanks for responding a second time.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Lucy Brazier says:

            Always a pleasure my dear Madelyn 🙂
            xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ditto!

              How’s the book launch for The Vanishing Lord going? It’s still on my TBR list, but it’s one of the top three! I SO adored the first one in this Series, First Lady of the Keys. I salivate over every single morsal she pops into her ever-ready-to-eat mouth as much as I do over your clever turns of phrase.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Lucy Brazier says:

              The book seems to be doing okay, I’m doing interviews and whatnot and doing my best to promote it, hopefully without ramming it down everyone’s throats! It is a little bit exhausting and I plan to take a week off soon but for the moment I am enjoying riding the wave. I feel so very honoured to have you as a fan!
              xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • ::happy grin:: -and it takes nothing away from my happy response to KNOW you feel the same way about every single one of your fans. That’s one of the many things I find delightful about you.

              Taking a week off sounds like a great idea! Do a bit of “cramming down” before you go – lol – letting folks know you are taking a much needed break for a week and that you are leaving your book and your blog in their very capable hands until you return refreshed. Then spend every minute of your time away AWAY! If you find yourself worrying about how your book is selling without your pedal to the metal, tell yourself it’s doing GREAT and focus on something else until you return.

              Wishing you a GREAT week off!
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

  20. Once again, you nailed it! I’ve got PTSD and oh boy, you’re spot-on; you described me perfectly. The hyper-vigilance, the absolute disinterest in sex, the outbursts, the “flat” feeling, the emotional responses, and even the flashbacks. Not to mention the sleep problems! Oh yeah. It’s all there. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this. I really really really appreciate it! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank YOU for this comment, Laina. More than a few of the many symptoms that “ride the draft” of PTSD are barely considered – and in many ways are as troubling as the more “dramatic” symptoms we hear about more often. That’s why these Awareness Days (and posts) are so important. It’s hard to address symptoms if you don’t make the connection.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • So true, Madelyn, so very true 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know that, I know that, many people who are working successfully with their own PTSD know that – NOW we want to spread the word to everyone who does *not* know that!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Right on!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼❤️❤️

            Liked by 1 person

            • I want to learn how to make some of those emoticons you put into your comments. All I know how to make are a smiley face and a “winking” smiley face. lol 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Sweet! 😉😉. I just use the WordPress app on my iPhone (although any smartphone will do!), or I visit the blog site on my smartphone browser; either way I can make the emoticons (which I guess are now called emojis??) using the menu onboard the mobile phone 😁❤️❤️

              Liked by 1 person

            • Ah – thanks. I do as little on that tiny screen and tiny keyboard as possible! So I guess I’ll have to use words and not emojis from my big screen and standard keyboard – lol. 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Lol 😉. I’ve been known to type out emoji descriptions 😂. (“Party favor emoji!” “Rainbow hearts!”) lol 😁💖💖

              Liked by 1 person

            • lol – I use words too, like ::smiling broadly:: – but I don’t know the emojis well enough to describe them in words, for the most part.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Awesome! Yep, same here (wink, grin) 😉😉

              Liked by 1 person

            • ::another big grin:: 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Words can actually be better, because you’re not having to try and hunt down the right emoji (or, there might not be the right emoji!) 😳. (Seriously, I totally need a Ninja emoji!!) lol 😂

              Liked by 1 person

            • hahaha – not really – you can always type ::Ninja emoji:: (until some clever visual artist decides to make one).
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Truth! 😊. I saw one on a discussion board a while back–it was hilarious! A little round face like our current emojis, with black on top and bottom, with only the eyes and a thin ring of yellow for skin visible. I’ll see if I can find a link to a pic 👍🏼

              Liked by 1 person

            • Cool. Post it here if you find it.
              xx, mgh

              Like

            • Words at least let you describe exactly what you mean 😁

              Liked by 1 person

            • My brain works best with words – “pictures” often make me scratch my head, aching for a word or two to give me a clue as to meaning. lol
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • True! Me too 😊. I’m working on an idea for a Who Loves Kitty post about emojis I would love to see 👍🏼❤️❤️

              Liked by 1 person

            • That will be a hoot! I’m looking forward to it. I want one for “focus on a more empowering thought” – as a reminder, not make wrong.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • That’d be awesome!! 👍🏼💖💖

              Liked by 1 person

            • YOU are awesome!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Awww thank you! It takes one to know one – you are awesome, too!! 😁💚💙💜💙💚

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you ma’am – I’ll take that in and let it make me feel WONDERFUL!
              XX,
              MGH

              Liked by 1 person

            • Awesome!! 👍🏼👍🏼💞💟💞

              Like

            • ::all those thumbs up, double heart emojis:: right back atcha’!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you dear!! Same to you 😘💓🌷💓

              Liked by 1 person

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