What Is Post-Traumatic Stress*?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is the name given for a particular constellation of anxiety-related symptoms that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person’s daily life. This problem is also associated with impairment of the person’s ability to function in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems and divorces, family discord, and difficulties in parenting.
PTSD is not a new problem. There are written accounts of similar symptoms that go back to ancient times, and there is clear documentation in the historical medical literature starting with the Civil War, when a PTSD-like disorder was known as “Da Costa’s Syndrome.” There are particularly good descriptions of post-traumatic stress symptoms in the medical literature on combat veterans of World War II and on Holocaust survivors.
Careful research and documentation of PTSD began in earnest after the Vietnam War. It has subsequently been observed in all veteran populations that have been studied, including World War II, Korean conflict, and Persian Gulf populations, and in United Nations peacekeeping forces deployed to other war zones around the world. There are remarkably similar findings of PTSD in military veterans in other countries. For example, Australian Vietnam veterans experience many of the same symptoms that American Vietnam veterans experience.
PTSD is not only a problem for veterans, however. Although there are unique cultural- and gender-based aspects of the problem, it occurs in men and women, adults and children, Western and non-Western cultural groups, and all socioeconomic strata. A national study of American civilians conducted in 1995 estimated that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 5% in men and 10% in women.
How Does PTSD Come About?
Your brain’s “prime directive” is to protect you from pain. Although it has a limited set of tools to manage that, one of its most effective tools is fear. Fear is not a “bad” or otherwise negative emotion. To the contrary, we regard it as a powerful and necessary emotion — a call to action, one designed to grab your attention — to let you know you’re taking unnecessary risks, perhaps putting yourself in a position to potentially get hurt, or even killed.
At the time you experienced the original traumatic incident, the fear you experienced was completely reasonable and understandable. It was your brain’s way of mobilizing all of your internal resources (the “fight or flight” condition) so that you could be in the best possible position to take the most appropriate and effective action to protect yourself from whatever might have had the potential to hurt you.
So, what actually happens when you experience a particularly fearful or traumatic event? Initially, an organ in the brain called the amygdala releases biochemicals called stress hormones. While the primary purpose of these stress hormones is to help us survive life-threatening situations by sharpening our senses, they also happen to enhance memory formation.
The initial mental record of a traumatic event is stored first in the hippocampus, the site of short-term memory. A chemical reaction then essentially burns the sensory information associated with the event (the sights, sounds or other sensory information present at the time) deeply into the cerebral cortex, where it effectively cements that information into long-term memory storage.
Recalling the traumatic event (or, in some cases, being “prompted” to recall the event by being exposed to environmental “triggers” that are similar to those that were present at the time) causes the memories to temporarily transfer back to the hippocampus, where it might ordinarily simply result in the release of additional stress hormones, continuing the unfortunate cycle of memory and trauma.
But this is where WE come in. And what we do with this memory once it gets back to the hippocampus is nothing short of extraordinary.
Just What is “The BrightLife Method”? — And How Can You Be So Sure Your Program Will Work For Me?
Recall that when a person brings back to conscious awareness a traumatic memory, that memory temporarily returns to the hippocampus so that it can once again be experienced consciously.
At BrightLife, we look forward to the memory’s return to the hippocampus, because while it’s there, it becomes susceptible to “editing”. And that’s exactly the opportunity we’ve been waiting for.
When we do this “editing” work, we skillfully employ a proprietary Accelerated Personal Change Technology we call Imagination Creation™. In a nutshell, we guide our clients to reprocess the memories in a variety of ways that effectively “scratches the record” on the mental record (the memory) of the original trauma. Collectively, these techniques assist clients to separate the memory of past events from the emotional trauma associated with those events. The result is that, while our clients will still know full well (on a more or less intellectual level) what actually happened in these earlier events, they are now able to recall, revisit and even freely discuss these events, completely liberated of the emotional “charge” previously associated with those memories.
Our work is so effective, we have been featured on numerous local, national and even international radio and television programs, to include our appearance on the Discovery Health Channel’s six-part television series, Things That Go Bump: Facing Our Fears. On that program, Dr. Robert Mantell assisted a client to eliminate an intense twenty-year phobia in just 15 minutes! See the video here!
When we’re done, the brain automatically sends the newly edited memory back to the cerebral cortex, forever freed of the traumatic components of the memory. And the psychological trauma formerly associated with the memory is gone forever.
These powerful mental exercises can be effective in as little as ten minutes — and we can prove it — right over the phone.
If you experience flashbacks, nightmares, panic, anxiety or fight or flight symptoms as a result of what you know to be traumatic experiences of your past, let us help you! It’s just completely unnecessary to continue living like that.
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To request more information, or to sign up for our powerful and effective PTSD-relief services, please click here to contact us, or feel free to call our 24-hour voicemail messaging system toll-free at (866) LIFE-NOW. We’ll respond back to you right away.
* Information published by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, White River Junction, Vermont