Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Can it be healed?, Part 1

PTSD questionPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis immediately brings to mind one critical question: Can I be healed?

The answer: Definitively, YES, you probably can. I and many other survivors have done it. Noted PTSD experts have cited evidence that suggests up to 90% of all cases of post-traumatic stress are wholly treatable. Bellaruth Naparstek — a leader in treatment of post-traumatic stress — wrote a fabulous essay this past summer addressing the media and colleagues, asking them to please stop saying PTSD is incurable, and giving proof of how she knows post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can be relieved  and recovery possible. (Check out Bellaruth Naparstek’s piece here.)

If all this empirical evidence is true, why are so many professionals and survivors dedicated to the idea that PTSD is a life sentence? This puzzles me. I don’t understand it. People fight for their lives to overcome cancer, heart disease, AIDS and other often terminal dianoses. Why isn’t the PTSD community doing the same thing?

I had a friend who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer that was rapidly spreading through his bones and brain. Instead of telling him just “get used to” his symptoms and “accept” his predicament a team of doctors devised a system of treatment that included aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. We all knew he had very little time left, and yet, he and his doctors committed to trying everything possible to save him. Again, why doesn’t the PTSD community muster that same kind of positive thinking, creative and committed attitude toward recovery?

A year ago I began working with a client whose psychiatrist had made the determination there would be no way to make progress in alleviating symptoms of PTSD. Well, that psychiatrist was wrong. We’ve made enormous progress. This client is no longer suicidal, off of 3 medications, and now sleeps every night. I’m confident that in the next year we’ll move all the way to complete freedom.

If any of us accept the discouraging points of view from the people to whom we look for guidance and encouragement, then I’m afraid it’s true: many people will never get rid of their symptoms of post-traumatic stress. It’s not possible to recover if the people titled to help tell us the goal in question cannot be reached.

It’s imperative that in order to heal each of us works with people who believe our recovery is possible. The brain seeks to find proof of what it hears. If every week you are in session with someone telling you that you cannot recover from post-traumatic stress then… Simply: you won’t.

But if you find people to work with who believe in the possibility of your healing, your chances of achieving it drastically improve. That, ahem, includes you. The voice you most often hear is your own. What’s it telling you?


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