How to tell if PTSD is your problem?

Do you suffer from unsettling physical or emotional symptoms that started after a traumatic event, like a death, a road accident, a burglary, an attack or some other event which caused you distress?

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Perhaps you got caught up in a terrorist attack or are veteran returning from a tour of active duty? Do you wonder if, and how, you might be able to 'make it all go away' so you can just move on with your life? Do you wonder if post traumatic stress disorder be your problem?

PTSD is actually much more common than you think. More to the point, if you do have PTSD, what can you actually do about it?

There is good news. In the UK, a technique currently being reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) called ‘Rewind’, is now being increasingly used by counsellors and therapeutic coaches to resolve PTSD symptoms.

Rewind is a visualisation technique that works by allowing the traumatic memory to be processed by the brain, which then settles back down in recognition that the trauma is over, you have survived and you are now safe.

As a professional psychotherapist and author of the book PTSD Resolution, I am very familiar with the symptoms, but you may not be. So here is a check list, used by doctors to work out if PTSD could be the problem, which I have adjusted so that you can begin to unravel what might be going on, for yourself:

Defining the problem: your PTSD symptom checklist

You may have PTSD if:

You have been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

  1. You experienced, witnessed, or were confronted with an event or events that involved any (or all) of the following: actual or threatened death; serious injury; or a physical threat to the person or to others.
  2. Your response at the time involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
You re-experience the traumatic event in one (or more) of the following ways:
  1. You have intrusive memories about the event, including: images, thoughts, and/or feelings.
  2. You have upsetting dreams about the event.
  3. You have a feeling of reliving the event (including hallucinations and flashbacks, experienced while awake or perhaps after using drink or drugs).
  4. You feel emotionally upset, when reminded about the event in any way, either by something you think about or by something which actually happens (often referred to as a pattern match)
  5. You get a physical reaction when reminded about the event.
You try to avoid anything which reminds you about the traumatic event and/or feel numbed or distant in a way you did not before the event, in at least three of the following ways:

1. You try to avoid thoughts, feelings, and/or conversations connected with the trauma.
2. You try to avoid activities, places, and/or people that make you think about the trauma.
3. You are unable to remember an important aspect of the trauma.
4. You have less interest in doing things you used to do before the trauma.
5. You feeling detached or distant from others.
6. You are unable to feel the full range of emotions that you did before the trauma.
7. You have a sense of a future blighted by the trauma; that you are not the same or that your life will not be as you had expected it to be.

You have persistent symptoms of anxiety (not present before the trauma), in at least two of the following:

1. You have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
2. You are irritable or have outbursts of anger.
3. You find it difficult to concentrate.
4. You feel on ‘red alert’, like you are watching or waiting for something bad to happen.
5. You are on edge or easily startled.

Let me tell you a story

One day, many years ago, a man walked into my office, smartly dressed, upright, with a manner and walk that suggested a military connection. As he began to tell his story, he cried as he described increasingly severe panic attacks with nightmares and flashbacks of events from his tour of active service.

His life was now dominated by a range of distressing symptoms. He felt his marriage was beginning to unravel due to his heavy drinking and inability to move forward with his life. His goals for our work together on that first session were to get a good night’s sleep without having to drink to block out the symptoms and to regain some hope that things would improve so that he could get his life back on track.

We worked together for an hour and a half and he returned the following week with the good news that his sleep was restored and the nightmares had gone. He was amazed the intervention had worked so fast. Back then, when I had first started using the Rewind technique, I was also surprised it had resolved the symptoms so quickly.

These days I am surprised if it does not.The PTSD domino effect

The pattern of panic and PTSD for veterans and non veterans alike, is very similar:

It starts with a traumatic event or a build up of events, which begins a combination of nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia or panic attacks or any of the symptoms listed above. This can then lead to a ‘domino effect’ in a life which begins to unravel as relationships suffer, work suffers and drink or drugs are used as ways of trying to control or numb the fear and anxiety.

Pete, who ended up homeless, and then in prison, recounts how it started;

‘When I came back, I went from war zone to home within the space of a week. One minute I had a gun in my hand, the next; I was holding my new born son. I didn’t feel safe around him. I knew what those hands were capable of. Then the flash backs started. I couldn’t sleep so I paced the floor at night, drinking to knock myself out so I could switch off for a few hours and get a break from myself.

The drink made me violent. My wife had enough and I ended up on the streets. No job, no money and with a drink and drug problem that pushed me into crime. Now I’m here and, in a way I feel safer. It’s a bit like being back in the army again but I dread getting out. I still have the nightmares and flashbacks. They say there’s no cure. I have to learn to live with it.’

The solution

To Pete, and all who have been suffering, I am pleased to let you know there is a cure; a cure which is brief and which works. Research is building which supports its effectiveness but, as we all wait for the research, lives are being blighted or even lost.

I wrote the book PTSD Resolution to show as clearly as I could, how the Rewind technique works in practice, and often in just one therapeutic session, to resolve all the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.

So, if you think PTSD is your problem, track down a psychotherapist, counsellor or therapeutic coach who understands how to use Rewind to resolve your problems, or have a look at Dr Muss’ own website or app where he tells you how to use the Rewind technique to resolve your own symptoms.

Rewind, imagery, positive mental rehearsal, dissociation, goal setting, therapeutic story, mindfulness, new paradigms, reframes, fast track learning, perception shifting, self actualisation, positive psychology, reframing, metaphor, personal empowerment, psycho education, affirmations, motivational thinking, lifting depression, the happiness principle, resilience and resourcefulness, human flourishing, anchoring, rewiring your brain, the STOP System, the SAFE SPACE happiness recipe, holistic coaching and working on the continuum of wellbeing plus many other professional theories, tools and techniques underpin the content of the fast paced, fast track, Fusion training programmes for therapists.

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Frances A Masters

Psychotherapist, Coach, Writer. Live your best life.

Do you want to be happier and more resilient? Some people seem to just 'bounce back' no matter what life throws at them. We can't choose many of life's events but we certainly do have a choice about how we respond. My passion for mental health began 25 years ago when I suffered postnatal depression and realised the help I needed simply wasn't there. The pills didn't work. In fact they made things worse. What I really needed was to understand how anxiety, depression and emotional ill health can develop. I needed to learn good 'mind management' skills which would act like a 'psychological inoculation' against future problems. When I recovered, I made a decision to find out how and why I had become so depressed and made a personal pledge to do something to provide the kind of help for others which I had needed. I wanted to prevent people suffering unnecessarily. So I embarked on a personal and professional journey and, along the way, developed a brand new approach to health and well-being. My journey began with four years of traditional counselling training, followed by a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapy. I studied cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, coaching and cognitive neuroscience. I built up 30,000 hours professional experience which I brought together into the new happiness and resilience programme l named 'Fusion.' I also wrote a book about how to resolve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), founded a therapeutic coaching charity and trained volunteers to work in this new way. This training programme would later become the nationally accredited Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Diploma and Distance Learning Skills Certificate. Now... The journey continues. Now I want to reveal all my professional secrets about good mind management to as many people as possible through social media and by training Fusion Breakthrough trainers from all over the world. One of them could be you... Something new.. Something different.. Something which lasts.. What if you could experience one day which could actually change your life for good; giving you your own eureka moment; not only helping you create a vision of the life you want to live, but actually give you the real skills to get there and stay there? Fusion is a tried and tested system which combines the best of psychotherapy and coaching into a powerful new formula for lasting change. My aim is to help and empower as many people as possible to feel their best, be their best and live their best lives. Perhaps I could help you too....