About 8% of people in America have PTSD, otherwise known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It can have a devastating effect on your life if you don’t seek treatment.
While some traditional therapies can help, functional medicine can play a crucial role as well in managing symptoms of PTSD. Let’s explore what those are and how you can regain control of your life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD occurs after you have lived through or seen a traumatic event. You may relieve the event in your mind and experience distressing or terrifying feelings associated with it long after the event has happened. It could be a death, an accident, a violent act, or anything that leaves you incredibly shocked and shaken.
PTSD is classified as a mental health condition.
You might not be aware that you have PTSD for several months. Symptoms might include:
Triggers, reminders of the event, are likely to occur afterward. These triggers might set off certain feelings of fear, shame, or even guilt.
While most traditional approaches to medicine work to treat the symptoms of a condition or disease, functional medicine aims to address the root cause of the disease, using a personalized and patient-centered philosophy. In other words, just because two patients are having similar symptoms doesn’t mean they suffer from the same disease.
Together, the functional medicine doctor and the patient work to determine the best route for treating the disease and diminish the symptoms.
Not only do functional medicine doctors zero in on the real issue stemming from symptoms, but they also work with the patient to help them make appropriate lifestyle changes both as treatment and a preventative.
In traditional medicine, PTSD is often treated in a variety of ways, sometimes with medications like anti-depressants, a treatment called eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, or even cognitive therapy. While all these methods can provide help, alternative therapies are available where traditional methods fail.
Here are a few functional medicine therapies to consider for PTSD.
Meditation is similar to practicing what’s more widely known as mindfulness. It’s being aware of your thoughts and feelings to bring about clarity or a sense of peace, and also acceptance and insight about the event that caused your PTSD.
Meditation is often linked with other religions or practices like yoga, but meditation can be done on its own. While the goal of meditation is to practice awareness, there are different approaches. Some focus on an object, breathing, other people, or even repetition of a word or mantra.
Yoga is a wonderful exercise designed to strengthen and lengthen the body, but it also has therapeutic properties for those who have PTSD. It’s connected profoundly to meditation, although the movement combined with the breath is beneficial for those with PTSD by training yourself to stay calm and better your heart rate.
The purpose of yoga is to connect the mind to the body. When a mind and body connection happens, the person becomes more in-tune with what they’re thinking and doing, leading to a decrease in symptoms.
Also, yoga gently guides you towards self-acceptance, so this means, for those with PTSD from events that directly impacted them, they might be able to come to the point of positive resolution about themselves.
The Chinese medical practice of acupuncture involves inserting small needles into localized parts of the body. Acupuncture is meant to bring relief from pain and other ailments by stimulating the nervous system. It’s even been used to manage those with depression.
Those with PTSD often experience depression and anxiety, as well. Acupuncture can work to alleviate the symptoms. For those who do not wish to interact personally with anyone due to their PTSD, acupuncture is done in a quiet setting without having to talk to anyone about the event.
The benefits of exercise are well-known, even for healthy individuals. But for those with mental conditions like PTSD, exercise may play a vital role in how you handle your symptoms.
Because people with PTSD may be prone to isolation and lack of motivation, they become idle, increasing their chances of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. People with PTSD are more likely to turn to other forms of coping, such as drugs or alcohol.
Exercising may also cause a temporary shortness of breath and increase heart rate, symptoms of PTSD that are associated with remembering the traumatic event.
In any case, exercising still offers plenty of benefits. For one, it provides an outlet that is healthy, which means you avoid unhealthy habits like drugs or excessive drinking.
Exercising also decreases PTSD symptoms when practiced a few times a week for 30 minutes. Health benefits include increased heart health, cognitive function, weight loss, and a better overall movement of the body.
Be sure to check with your mental health provider and doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
PTSD can have a dramatic effect on your life when it’s not properly cared for. The symptoms can be overwhelming and challenging to sort through and manage. Functional medicine works to help you get to the root of the problem and alleviate the symptoms without a host of side effects.
Are you suffering from PTSD? Let us know! We can offer services that can help you regain your life.