I have Complex PTSD and one thing that I found very reassuring was to learn that I am the way I am because my brain is wired differently because of trauma. My unique wiring makes me who I am. Now I have to learn how to cope with the symptoms of a uniquely wired brain.
Can you identify any symptoms you have that are related to Complex PTSD? Check out More Videos on Complex PTSD.
Treating Complex PTSD is difficult. Below are some summary notes of the video seen in Week 1 (from The Crappy Childhood Fairy).
Antidepressants don’t always work, and in some people, the side effects can be intolerable. Depression and anxiety is common in people with Complex PTSD and these medications can work really well, but sometimes they can have the opposite effect.
Traditional talk therapy can be helpful, but realizing the limitations can prevent the failure of these therapies. Childhood PTSD causes brain changes that make these therapies more difficult to manage or less effective. Complex PTSD causes learning and attention difficulties and emotional dysregulation. These therapies require a person to be emotionally regulated: Cognitive Behaviour therapy, Dialectical therapy, Exposure therapy.
What treatments do work? There is hope. Here are some ideas from Bessel van der Kolk.
- EMDR is very effective to treat PTSD. It is more difficult treating complex PTSD.
- Neurofeedback treatment is very good, but also very expensive. Biofeedback can help. You can monitor your body’s response to various brain states. Some people, when they are dysregulated, see changes in their blood pressure and heart rate. Simply measuring these vital signs can help. My BP is low even when I’m stressed, but I monitor my breathing. When I can’t slow my breathing down, then I know I’m dysregulated and I practice my Step 2 breathing until I can count 4 slow counts in, hold for 4 slow counts, exhale for 6 to 8 slow counts. I notice tinnitus when I’m anxious, and often by simply paying attention, it goes away. Another measure of my dysregulation is when I fidget, my leg starts to kick nervously, or I rub. I also speak louder and faster. Can you think of physical changes in your body that you notice that point to dysregulation?
- Tapping calms anxiety and harsh emotions. It’s free, easy and often works
- Writing comes from a different part of the brain. It is a physical approach to process trauma.
- Meditation can be useful. There are on-line classes. You can check out the videos on Sleep. There is no wrong way to meditate.
- Physical therapy helps – Qi-Gong, Yoga, walking, bouncing, dancing, drumming, touch, vigorous exercise and more.
- Diet – a low sugar diet helps trauma. This is hard to do when your body craves carbs in times of stress.