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How PTSD Changes Your Brain and How You Can Fight It

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

How PTSD Changes Your Brain and How You Can Fight It

Worldwide, PTSD affects millions of people every year. It’s tremendously challenging to deal with chronic anxiety, insomnia, trust issues, and continual worry, and some people may feel hopeless about finding relief.

Thankfully, no one must face post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) alone. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a relatively new method of therapy that has shown promise in helping people overcome their prior trauma.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Individuals who have experienced significant personal trauma are at increased risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Approximately 30% of PTSD cases appear to be characterized by genetics alone, although most instances can be attributed to environmental circumstances.

Traumatic experiences can trigger PTSD at any age. Physical, verbal, sexual, marital, and other forms of abuse are included in this, as well as life-threatening situations, significant losses, and different traumatic experiences. The repercussions of these experiences can be long-lasting since they alter the brain’s structure.

Some parts of the brain are overactive, and others are underactive in people with PTSD. They overwork the areas of their brain that take in information, make judgments about what might happen, and trigger the “fight or flight” reaction. The brain areas responsible for slowing down and appreciating the present are rarely put to work.

Most persons with PTSD struggle with an overactive “fight or flight” response. Extreme panic episodes can result from excessive worry and heightened awareness. When one of these attacks, a person may be entirely safe, but they may feel as though their life is in danger anyway. PTSD diminishes one’s ability to self-soothe and employ coping methods.

When it comes to my PTSD, what options do I have?

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you might be tempted to block out all of your negative emotions and experiences. After all, if the alternative to dealing with your trauma is flashbacks and ongoing worry, then sealing it away and forgetting about it seems like the best option.

A therapist’s job is to help patients gradually and safely confront their traumatic memories and the triggers that bring them back. Effective, healthy, and helpful coping methods will be taught to help you deal with the stress and worry of daily life.

Your therapist may also incorporate strategies from a family therapy, somatic therapy, or EMDR in addition to CBT methods. The use of antidepressants in conjunction with treatment has been shown to improve outcomes.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Many people with PTSD benefit from these therapies, but those with treatment-resistant PTSD may have more problems making progress. Without improvement from treatment, it may be time to go elsewhere for support in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The field of neuromodulation, however, has recently made remarkable progress that may one-day aid PTSD sufferers. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a method of neuromodulation that has shown to be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

TMS utilizes electromagnetic pulses to awaken dormant brain regions, restoring the standard, stable patterns of function seen in individuals without PTSD. It can even alter brain neurotransmitter levels, which may lead to permanent relief from PTSD.

Bottom line

Self-treatment for PTSD is not only ineffective but also potentially harmful to one’s mental and physical wellbeing. Instead, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your medical provider and seek the support you need. TMS is a fantastic alternative to traditional treatments like therapy and pharmaceuticals, even if such methods haven’t worked for you in the past.

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