Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a fairly common disorder that occurs after exposure to major and often terrifying events, threatened or actual, with physical, mental or sexual harm. It is considered to be an anxiety disorder, with symptoms including flashbacks, memories, nightmares, obsessive and intrusive thoughts related to the trauma and perpetrator(s). There are also frequently symptoms of dissociation, anxiety, anger, irritability and depression. PTSD can also masquerade as an eating disorder with symptoms of bulimia and/or anorexia. The usual treatment of this disorder includes cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, group therapy, and psychotropic medications. PTSD is commonly associated with neuroendocrine changes including low cortisol and high norepenephine levels. This is in contrast to major depression which is frequently associated with high cortisol levels. In my experience, a combination of hypnosis and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reconstruction) facilitates treatment. Under hypnosis, the subject re-experiences the original past trauma(s) and this traumatic experience is brought from the past into the present consciousness with EMDR. This leads to a release of traumatic memories with all sensory modalities including visual, emotional, body, and even olfactory (smell) memories. Often following the hypnosis-EMDR session(s), a reworking of the original traumatic experience occurs. This progresses to a healing of the original trauma. In my practice, the symptoms of PTSD often recede following sessions of hypnosis and EMDR, thus shortening the overall treatment.