PTSD Treatment Options

PTSD treatment options to support your optimal health… naturally

With the world in topsy-turvy, it seemed appropriate to write this post to support the global community, especially those who may be triggered, or retriggered with trauma throughout the COVID-19 lock-downs.

Whilst ~75% of the population will experience a traumatic event throughout their life, ~ 12% of the Australian population will go on to develop PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event such as:

    • Natural Disaster (eg. Tsunami, Bushfires)
    • Terrorist Attack (eg. September 11, 2001)
    • Public Violence (eg. January 2017 Melbourne Car Attack)
    • Being Threatened with Death
    • Torture
    • Miscarriage
    • Birth Trauma
    • Still Birth
    • Childhood Abuse
    • Sexual Abuse
    • Domestic Abuse
    • Emotional Abuse
    • Divorce / Separation
    • Death or Loss of a Loved One (eg missing persons)
    • Cancer diagnosis
    • Motor Vehicle Accident*
    • Botched Medical Treatment
    • Failure to Recover from a Medical Condition
  • *Serious accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD in Australia.

    Though PTSD can occur in anyone, there are people who are exposed to trauma as part of their job, and are thus more at risk. 

      • Defence Force
      • Fire Fighters
      • Police Officers
      • Paramedics
      • Emergency Workers
      • Social Workers
      • Healthcare Workers

      Though people who had an adverse childhood experience (ACE), which includes things like violence in the household, substance abuse, socio-economic strains, absence neglectful parents etc. are more likely to suffer with PTSD in later life.

    Symptoms of PTSD

    •  
    • Re-experiencing the event through flash-backs or night-terrors
    • Avoidant behaviour (not to recreate the traumatic experience)
    • Hypervigilance
    • Insomnia
    • Low mood / Depression
    • Difficulties regulating emotions; Aggression / Emotional Outbursts
    • Substance Abuse
    • A sense of numbness 
    • Detachment
    • Social withdrawal
    • Increased “risky” behaviour

     

  • PTSD is a complex issue, and whilst it technically can’t be diagnosed until 3 months after a traumatic event (prior to which it would be considered acute stress response), it may not present for decades after the event. 

    PTSD is not weakness, and the sooner that treatment is sought, the better.  Unresolved traumatic stress can lead to changes in the brain.  In fact, for this reason, some specialists consider PTSD to be a brain injury, not just a psychological disorder.

    The amygdala in our brain, the area responsible for survival responses fight / flight / freeze becomes heightened and can become enlarged.

    The hippocampus in our brain, the area responsible for processing events and giving context, can become overwhelmed and even shrink in size – making it very difficult for the person to function optimally, even when they are in a safe environment.

    PTSD treatment options

  • Pharmaceutical interventions are currently considered the preferred first-line therapy by most medical practitioners for other mental health conditions, but for PTSD, psychotherapy is the preferred treatment.

    And thanks to research into neuro-plasticity, there is hope for improvement for those who have PTSD.

    If you feel very distressed at any time after a traumatic event, talking to your doctor or other health professional is a good first step. 

    Naturopathic Treatment – PTSD Treatment Options

    For those of you seeking Natural Health Support, as a Naturopath, I offer treatment from a holistic perspective and use the “wrap around” care model:

    Image supplied by Metagenics Institute

    Together, we can look at your support network, your lifestyle, your sleep onset and maintenance, your nutritional status, exercise routine… I may prescribe nutraceuticals and / or herbal extracts to support your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

    We can also look at energetic modalities including flower essences. Below are 5 possible Australian Bush Flowers that I might recommend with your PTSD treatment options:

    Fringed Violet

    This flower is used for all types of shock; especially in those that have a delayed reaction and when shock is stored in the tissues for weeks or years after the event. This flower is also useful for those who have suffered abuse, for those who are open to being drained by others or allow themselves to take on others problems/worries. This is also used for any damage to the aura that has been caused by anaesthetic, traumas, drugs etc.

    Fringed Violet flower actions:
    • Heals the damage to the aura by realigning body after the shock.
    • Removes the effects of recent or old distressing events.
    • Prevents one being thrown off balance by external events.

    Sundew

    This flower is useful for those that have responded to a shock or traumatic experience by disassociating from the present.

    Sundew flower actions:
    • Gives one attention to detail and make decisions.
    • Helps one be grounded and focused.
    • Enables one to be interested in the present.
    • Helps one return to the physical.

    Sunshine Wattle

    This flower is for who may:
    • believe their hard times of the past will continue, and that life is a struggle.
    • have an expectation of a grim future.
    • have feelings of unworthiness.

    Sunshine Wattle flower actions:
    • helps one accept the joy and beauty of the present.
    • gives one optimism for the future.
    • supports one with finding excitement in the present and future

    Grey Spider Flower

        •  

    This flower is for use with fear, particularly for extreme terror that comes on suddenly as a reaction to something horrible. This could be a life threatening fear; of death or of losing one’s identity. This flower is also useful when panic has spread throughout a community such as natural disasters and wartime. Also good for nightmares, especially night terrors in children.

    Grey Spider Flower actions:
    • Releases deep fears and terror.
    • Gives one faith, calmness and courage.

    Sydney Rose

    Individually, this flower is for people who feel separated, unloved or deserted

    Sydney Rose flower actions:
    • Allows one to feel safe and at peace in the realisation that we are all of one love energy.


    Alongside the above PTSD Treatment Options, we can also use Kinesiology to access your subconscious and find out what your body most needs to support its own self-healing process.

    As a Naturopath and Kinesiologist with a special interest in supporting clients in overcoming trauma, I offer support in person or virtually.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or book in for a consultation when you feel ready to.

    I look forward to meeting you.

    Yours in Health,

     

 

 

  • Sarah the Naturopath and Kinesiologist

    References:

    Beyond Blue – Types of Anxiety, PTSD

    Psychology Studio – Phillip Lathopolous, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist and EMDR Practitioner

    Metagenics Institute – Overcoming Trauma Using Therapies That Remodel Neurobiology

The Sacral Chakra “Honour One Another”

Second ChakraThis blog post addresses the second energetic centre, the Sacral Chakra.  This golden orange coloured spinning disc of vibrational energy is found in the lower abdomen to navel area, about one inch below the belly-button.

When grounding of the root chakra is nurtured and developed enough, the quality of security naturally flows through to the sacral chakra. Leading on from security is our relationship to others, and partnerships. This includes our conscious acceptance of sexuality and what it means to be a man or woman in the present age and culture. Positive, loving regard from those around us at a young age are an essential basis for a healthy individual.

Attachments may also included our perceived attachments to money, authority, our physical environment and the fear of losing control. Anything that we relate to that becomes part of our identity can affect the energetic flow of the sacral chakra.

Along with relationships and attachments comes creativity of all kinds; to create is to bring into being or form from nothing; an idea into fruition! The energies of this chakra are to create life, to “move the earth” and make an impression or contribution towards the continuum of life.  A painting, dance, song, child, business-idea, poetry, building, book… Creative energy is physical, of the earth or grounded, unlike inspiration (a crown chakra quality). It gives the sensation of being physically alive! Creativity defies the monotony of habit and provides us with resources to cope with the day-to-day events of our lives, providing creative solutions to problems.  When creative energy is able to flow freely, our lives reshape and reveal more meaning for why things happen as they do.

In Hindu the name “Svadhistana” has been given, which translates to “the dwelling place of the self”. When this chakra is out of balance, emotional instability, depression, sexual dysfunction, addictions or fear of change may be experienced.

Lessons related to the second chakra are to do with that of controlling the world around you.  Are you in the right marriage? Are you in the right career? Are you living in the right place? Whilst the energy of this chakra inclines us to try and control our lives, we are physical and energy beings, and since the physical world cannot be controlled, the lesson to be learnt is to master our internal responses to the external world, our thoughts and our emotions.

Unlike the root chakra which element is grounded in the Earth, the sacral chakra element is water – fluidity, emotions, fertility and the connection of the tides to the moon.

The Sacred Truth | Honour One Another

Every relationship we develop spiritually, from the most casual to the most intimate, serves a purpose of helping us to become more conscious. Even when a relationship is painful, learning about our selves and facing our own limitations not things we endeavour to experience – how ever, they are necessary for spiritual growth. When we release our compulsion to judge what and who has value, and instead focus on honouring each person and task with which we are involved we can move easily see the symbolic value of our relationships.

Physically:

Blocking this energy can give rise to impotence, infertility, genital infections, endometriosis, fibroids and depressionThis also includes issues such as chronic lower back pain, sciatica, obstetric or gynaecological problems, pelvic or lower back problems, urinary problems or issues of sexual potency.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:

Questions you may like to ask yourself:

    • “Do I have creative outlets?”
    • “Do I follow through on creative ideas?”
    • “Am I comfortable with my sexuality?”
    • “Do I use people, or do I feel used by others?”
    • “Do I keep my word and maintain my own personal code of honour?”
    • “Am I a controlling person?”
    • “Do I engage in power plays in my relationships?”
      “Am I able to see myself clearly in circumstances related to power and money?”
    • “Does money have authority over me?”
    • “Do I make compromises to ensure financial security?”
    • “Do survival fears dictate my choices?”
Recommended Exercises:
    • Dance
    • Hula-hoop
    • Lay on your back, place your feet on the ground with your knees bent. Very slowly move your legs in and out until they shake (very therapeutic)
    • Make time for creative outlets and expression
    • Maintain a healthy sexual life, whilst honouring and respecting your body
    • Meditate on the sacred message “Honour One Another”
    • Chant the mantra “Vam” to create sound vibration in the body to harmonise and align with the sacral chakra.
References:

Wheels of Light Chakra Awareness course, Nicholas Bestevaar, Best Ever Health Therapies, 2015

Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

Awaken Your Creativity Chakra: Svadhistana, Michelle Fondin, The Chopra Center

The Root Chakra “All is One”

Base ChakraThis blog post addresses the first of the energetic centres, the Root Chakra. This red coloured spinning disc of vibrational energy is found at the base of the spine, at the perineum.

For thousands of years’ Eastern religions have taught that the human body contains within itself seven major energetic centres where consciousness and the physical body meet. Within each of these centres are spiritual life-lessons that must be learned in order to move into higher consciousness.

In Hindu the name “Muladhara” has been given, which literally translates to “root support”. The Root Chakra is the first and lowest of the three chakras related to physical or external power.

All lessons related to the first chakra are to do with that of the material world and your “tribe”. You first experience this “tribe” power in early life as a part of a family unit; this carries with you and goes on to form part of your identify and belief systems. You may find as you get older you start to question some of the beliefs that you were raised with, it is important to discard those that are detrimental to spiritual development.

As an adult you can feel the power of this chakra with the sense of belonging and connection when you listen to your national anthem, or sense of pride when your country wins an Olympic Medal, or when you see a loved one get married. It is a powerful chakra and when it is unbalanced can affect all other areas in your life.

The Sacred Truth | “All is one”

When you can fully comprehend the message and live it, you are setting up the foundation for a strong physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life.

Physically:

Root chakra imbalances can manifest as issues within the base of the spine, legs, feet, anus and immune system. This includes issues such as chronic lower back pain, sciatica, varicose veins, rectal tumours or cancer, depression or immune-related disorders.

Emotionally, Mentally & Spiritually:

Questions you may like to ask yourself include:

    • “Do I feel grounded and safe?”
    • “Have I attained the sense of feeling at home?”
    • ​”Am I able to provide for myself life’s necessities?”
    • “Can I stand up for myself?”
    • “What belief patterns have I inherited from my upbringing?”
    • “Are there belief patterns that have authority in my thinking today, that I know are no longer valid?”
    • “What superstitions do I have?  Do these have authority over my ability to reason?”
    • “Do I have unfinished business with my family that needs healing?”

  • Recommended Exercises:
      • Walk on the Earth in your bare feet.
      • Breathe in whilst imagining red light pouring up into your legs from the ground, then breathe out whilst imagining all fears and issues being taken away by the earth.
      • Squat until your legs shake (very therapeutic).
      • Meditate on the sacred message “All is One”.
      • Chant the mantra “Lam” to create sound vibration in the body to harmonise with the root chakra.
References:

Wheels of Light Chakra Awareness course, Nicholas Bestevaar, Best Ever Health Therapies, 2015

Anatomy of Spirit, Caroline Myss, PhD, 1996

Working with your Chakras, Ruth White, 1993

The Root Chakra: Muladhara, Michelle Fondin, The Chopra Center