Marriage, Family and Child Therapist
Clinical Medical Hypnotherapist
Anxiety: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. Fear, worry, nervousness, agitation, irritability, emotional paralysis, shakiness, or physical symptoms like rapid heart beating or sweating to name a few. Sleeplessness, inattentiveness, lack of focus or unclear thinking also can be present. Nightmares, day memories, disorientation, dissociative or disconnected feelings as well. Startle responses or apparently unrelated anxious responses occur too.
Anxiety interesting debilitates some of us some of the time so that we can not function or complete the demands of a particular task. Anxiety can also stir some of us some of the time to quickly finish a project or fix something that has long been ignored.
We can characterize anxiety as an excess amount of energetic intensity that can either overload or energize your ability to function and focus. When you can take that energy and find a creative and positive way to funnel that energy toward a successful outcome, you are optimizing that energy.
On the other hand, when that energetic intensity begins to make you feel or act incompetently or negatively or not at all, then anxiety feelings results.
For instance, if you are driving your car--calmly and normally and suddenly you need to respond to an emergency situation, your anxiety in the moment can flash you into handling the car competently and swiftly toward the safest outcome possible.
If you begin to experience flashbacks - vivid memories & experiences- of that incident and then experience anxiety, you are responding not to the need of the moment but to the traumatic effect of your past.
Traumatic events, as you can tell, can cause you to be stuck in past anxious events. When you are stuck in those events, and impaired by the emotional reliving of those events, you likely have what is called a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorders are common among soldiers, abused children and adults, survivors of natural disasters, witnesses or victims to war time activities, witnesses or victims to crimes, etc.
Obviously, these are very intense events. Most of these events are chronic over extended amounts of time and thus the traumatic events are multiple, sudden, unpredictable but recurrent and very life threatening. No one would emotionally wish to be exposed to these horrific sites or first hand threats.
Interestingly, brain research, which involves studies about your brain wiring and chemicals, have now determined that exposure to sudden very severe situations or threat or chronic ongoing severe threats, may cause a “groove” in your brain system that leads to those memories, emotional experiences and anxiety reactions to be re-triggered easily and under many unrelated or related circumstances.
Those individuals suffering PTSD might also have a higher presence of certain anxiety-related bio-chemical and psycho-physiological processes present in their brain and throughout their muscular and nervous system.
Yes, your body remembers well that you were under stress and is designed to help you avoid those horrible moments again by setting up alarm systems.
While, those alarm systems can be essential and helpful, they can also be triggered when no actual alarming situation is actually take place. This is when PTSD or any other type of anxiety is more related to your “psychology” or your “trauma reactions” or to your aggravated “psycho-physiological” system.
Help can be found--thankfully.
So consider seriously receiving as much intervention as you possibly can implement at one time.
Here is a formula that you might consider that has been researched.
Psychotherapy -Here are some types of psychotherapy which have been proven to help:
Insight, Emotive, Cognitive-Behavioral, Systematic Desensitization, HeartMath Biofeedback, NLP, EMFT, Hypnotherapy
Fitness Training-which retrains the muscles, skeleton structure and harnesses the energy of the anxiety-related chemicals.
Nutritious Foods and Supplements-Certain foods & supplements reduce the presence of anxiety producing chemicals or help you funnel those anxiety chemicals more effectively. Certain foods trigger anxiety responses. Be alert--your body chemicals affect your anxieties.
Medications-Ease the production, presence or use of those anxiety chemicals as well in your brain and elsewhere.
Helping Others: An interesting fact is that when anxious individuals help others who are hurting in that situation or in a similar situation, there tends to be a reduction of the anxiety for many people because they are 1) working with others who can empathize with the primary severity of what you have experienced--identification and sympathy is imperative in these situations, 2) working to overcome the damage caused by those traumatic events also empowers an individual to both process the events and demonstrate personal ability to dominate the event instead of being defeated or subordinated to the events’ severe impact. Being a Hero for others can often mean healing yourself too.
Don’t give up pursuing relief from PTSD. There is help! There is relief! There is hope!
Panic Attacks and Anxiety / Fears & Phobias
Unable to stop your fearful thoughts or anxious imagings about a particular relationship, events or troublesome worry? Feeling out of control, shaky, edgy, sleepless, unfocused? Fears piling in on your day that seem extreme or unrelated to the actual situations your are facing. Worries or fears that stop you from functioning normally or approaching situations that you would like to do? Such worries, fears, panics, anxiety moments, can hamper relationships, career moves, self-esteem, and even what you do for fun.
Therapies which are evidence-based or shown to reduce anxieties include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Relationship Therapy, Hypnotherapy, NLP, EMDR, Systematic Desensitization especially if your anxiety is related to clearly remembered events or attitudes you adopted knowingly. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, and other types of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, also are known to help when memories are lost or the panics, anxieties, worries or unstoppable thoughts have been long-lived and the origin is unknown. Dr. Carol Francis can discuss with you the types of treatment that may most likely help you given your concerns, your history, your personality style and your goals.