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The One-Two Punch for PTSD

Written by Tara Smith, May 21, 2017

Roughly eight million Americans will experience post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. While PTSD is widely known in the veteran and active military population, PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic event, or multiple traumatic events over a long period of time. This doesn’t mean that someone with PTSD is weak, but rather that their subconscious mind is trying to protect them from future danger.

Safety Mechanism of the Mind

 

We inherently have mental and physical mechanisms that keep us safe from danger and teach us to avoid it. One mechanism comes from the subconscious mind, which develops habitual feelings and behaviors based on our past experiences and traumas (i.e. touching the stove as a child). However, even after a life-threatening event, our subconscious mind can resurrect the feelings and memories associated with the trauma, even when we appear to be safe.

What does PTSD look like?

 

For many, reliving their traumatic event is a daily occurrence and haunts them through nightmares and flashbacks. The smell of smoke, a song on the radio, walking to your car at night, all might be the exact trigger that can send someone spiralling into an emotional roller coaster. The trigger for flashback can happen at any time, and will always be different from person to person.

 

Those suffering from PTSD often avoid certain situations to prevent triggers that result in reliving the nightmare. Avoiding crowds, refusing to drive, or having your back against the wall at a restaurant are common coping mechanisms. These behaviors are ingrained within the mind as a way to feel safe and avoid perceived danger. Some may even refuse to talk about their experience and avoid seeking help.

 

It is not uncommon for trauma to change a person’s outlook on life. The world may seem like a dangerous place. Feelings toward other people may shift in a negative direction making it difficult to trust loved ones. Often it is extremely difficult to fall asleep or stay focused, thus the brain is continually stressed, and lack of sleep prevents it to relax and repair itself.

Retrain Your Brain

 

Neurofeedback is a type of training for your brain that has shown to be a promising therapy for PTSD. Neurofeedback is a tool that allows your brain to self-regulate, and promotes coherence in communication between the different regions of the brain. This may seem complicated, but is a very simple process for the person receiving therapy.

Approved by the FDA for relaxation, the patient watches a screen while computer does all the work. The electrical signal produced by the brain is replayed back, essentially allowing  the brain to talk to itself, or allowing it to see itself in mirror.

Image source: Utilization of Infra-Low Frequency Neurofeedback in the Recovery from trauma of torture victims among war refugees in Sweden, Sue Othmer, Ph.D.

 

Within 24 sessions of neurofeedback training, significant improvements of symptoms were observed in individuals with PTSD who had not responded to trauma focused psychotherapy. As other studies are starting to emerge, the medical community is recognizing the effectiveness of neurofeedback.

 

“Neurofeedback is a powerful treatment for traumatic stress,” says Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University Medical School, Medical Director, The Trauma Center of JRI, Brookline, MA.

Can PTSD lead to addiction?

 

Anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, fear, and intrusive thoughts are just a few of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Many turn to alcohol or drugs as a means to fall asleep, or to silence the anxious thoughts. Unfortunately, this temporary solution for relief can turn into a chronic dependency.

 
PTSD and Addiction Statistics

 

Adults with opioid use disorders have a 42 percent risk of also being diagnosed with PTSD, 33 percent for adolescents.

 

14-53 percent of medical assisted treatment patients, individuals who are taking medications for substance abuse (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone), meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis.

 

Individuals dependent upon heroin with a dual diagnosis of PTSD are more likely to overdose than those without a PTSD diagnosis.

 

Women are at a greater risk than men for substance abuse when exposed to trauma and/or are diagnosed with PTSD.

Adults with opioid use disorders have a 42 percent risk of also being diagnosed with PTSD, 33 percent for adolescents.

Is there a natural therapy for both?

 

The NAD Treatment Center has been busy innovating intravenous NAD+ therapy  combined with neurofeedback. NAD+ is an all natural vitamin B3 derivative used as a coenzyme by almost every cell in your body. It’s main purpose is to fuel metabolic reactions forward, similar to gas in your car.

 

Additionally, NAD+ is used in DNA repair, neurogenesis, reducing inflammation, and many other important cellular processes. NAD+ has the unique ability to activate sirtuin enzymes, which are known to have therapeutic effects for anxiety and  depression. Sirtuins are also known to protect brain cells and promote the growth of new neurons.

 

The combination of NAD+ therapy and neurofeedback may stimulate regeneration of brain cells, as well as reorganization of neuronal pathways, potentially leading to a balanced mind and body.

 

Why is NAD+ important for substance abuse?

 

NAD+ has been observed to decline with age and thus hinders the natural repair mechanisms within the cell. Other things can quickly diminish NAD+ levels, including a lack of sleep, poor diet, toxins, drugs and alcohol.

 

NAD+ therapy is being used in San Diego, California to help individuals detoxify from drug and alcohol dependencies. In fact, NAD+ therapy is considered to be more effective than conventional rehabilitation. There are minimal withdrawal symptoms with NAD+ and it reduces the need for replacement drugs.

 

To learn more about NAD+ therapy and neurofeedback, please call 1-866-NAD-PLUS.

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