PTSD or PTSI
WHERE DID PTSD COME FROM?
PTSD has been in existence as long as trauma. Historians can trace the mention of it as far back as 1300 BC to ancient Mesopotamia where the symptoms were explained as ‘the spirits of those enemies whom the patient had killed.’ The first well-documented account was Greek historian Herodotus’ writing of an Athenian spearman called Epizelus who lost his sight against the Persians in 49O BC at the Battle of Marathon and whose ‘psychogenic mutism’ followed.
In more recent history uring the American Civil War PTSD was referred to as, ‘Soldier’s Heart,’. During World War I PTSD was referred to as, ‘Combat Fatigue.’ By the time World War II rolled around, the disorder was being referred to as a ‘gross stress reaction.’ The Vietnam War found PTSD being called, ‘Post-Vietnam Syndrome.’ Other names for PTSD include, ‘Battle Fatigue,’ and, ‘Shell Shock’ which is what they say my grandfather had coming back from Kokoda and why he barely spoke. In Canada, its called operational stress injury and so its always been with us just the devil by another name and nothing new under the sun.
In 1980 the term PTSD was coined by psychiatry for the DSM. The basic construct – that overwhelming stress can produce a consistent pattern of profound and enduring changes in brain function, cognition, emotions and behaviour has remained the same for 39 years. In that time, what we know about PTSD, what causes it and how to treat it has come a very long way, answers are known but not widely known and the proverb that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger doesn’t always hold true. We can all go through experiences that overwhelm us and change us and acknowledging this is important not only to reduce stigma but to give sufferers the opportunity to heal.
WHAT IS PTSD NOW?
There is a discussion happening in the media, the armed forces and within therapy circles to change the name from post-traumatic stress disorder to post-traumatic stress injury as a way to reduce stigma and to improve the name to a phrase that they find more accurate, hopeful and honourable. We don’t know if a name change will necessarily achieve that on its own but here at Goodsky, we think the name should be changed for accuracy and also the name or the way it is described influences how it is treated.
IS IT AN INJURY OR DISORDER?
An injury is acquired, where once a person was whole and now they are damaged the word injury provides the right context. It does reduce stigma and helps the layman to understand even though the person may look ok on the outside internally they are wounded, physically and psychologically. Walk into a hospital with a broken bone and the injury is treated consistently all over the world with the intention of regaining full function, but do the same with a mental disorder and your treatment can vary vastly depending on where and who you are being treated by.
Trauma and stress cause an injury or dysregulation to the nervous system including hormonal and digestive changes. Looking at trauma as an injury helps to explain where it originated and starts a conversation of how to heal and recover mentally and physically.
EFFECTIVE PTSD TREATMENT
The most effective PTSD treatment is one that integrates a holisitc approach that treat and support the mind and body together. Using the most current techniques, such as:
- equine assisted psychotherapy
- somatic experiencing
- EFT tapping
These techniques are integrated with a holistic lifestyle medicine based approach, that not only assists in resolving the charged memories of trauma but also assists in relieving the other symptoms that go along with it such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, self-medication and physical pain.
It is an injury so lets start calling it what it is.