The importance of a good mental health online resource is undisputed. It is widely accessible, free or low cost, and usually easy to use. Together with an incredible amount of insightful information to support sufferers of PTSD, the “Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD” website has won awards and showcase plenty of positive testimonials to prove the confidence of professionals and users. But, before we delve further into this valuable resource, a bit more about the prominence of PTSD.
It is estimated that 70 percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some kind of traumatic event at least once in their lives. This equates to about 225 million people, of which up to one-out-of-five go on to develop PTSD. This means that there are approximately 45 million individuals in the U.S. alone who were or are struggling with PTSD. Furthermore, about one-out-of-nine women develop PTSD, nearly twice as likely as men.
As one can imagine, the annual cost to society regarding healthcare services, loss of productivity and quality of life, disruptions to families and communities, and intergenerational effects are astronomical. PTSD is a psychobiological disorder. This means that it is associated with physical and biological changes, such as brain function and hormonal imbalances, as well as emotional and thought disturbances. The development and symptoms of PTSD are so varied that it is sometimes overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Some cases of PTSD may be delayed, with only subtle symptoms showing up initially and more severe symptoms emerging months after the traumatic event. Symptoms are diverse, with official classifications listing up to 28 criteria components. These include intense and unwanted recurring memories of the event, nightmares, emotional numbness, intense guilt or worry, angry outbursts, feeling on edge, and avoiding thoughts and situations that are reminders of the trauma.
Although different people seem to develop PTSD in various ways, the effect of traumatic events appears to be cumulative. This means that every time a trauma is experienced, the probability of developing PTSD and the intensity of the symptoms are likely to increase. Taking into account that 26 percent of children in the U.S. will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn four, the chances of PTSD increase dramatically. Certain settings and contexts further multiply the risk, such as exposure to combat, domestic abuse, sexual assault, imprisonment, terrorism, gang activities, natural disasters, and severe personal loss (e.g. employment, housing, spouse, child).
These factors, together with the fact that PTSD can be effectively treated, make the availability of quality resources, such as the “Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD” website particularly valuable. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, good treatments for PTSD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure (PE), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In addition to talk therapy and drugs, online therapy and psychoeducation have also proven helpful, with added benefits of cost-effectiveness, accessibility, and convenience.
Now that we have explained the huge effect that PTSD has on individuals and their communities, we better appreciate the tremendous need to treat and provide resources to a much larger audience. Especially regarding psychoeducation, which refers to the education offered to individuals with a mental health condition and their families, online content is extremely helpful. Such information helps normalize and empower users to aid motivation and self-improvement.
It is a well-known fact that having a mental health diagnosis stigmatize, alienate, and shame many people. PTSD is similar, in particular among those who believe they have to appear strong and not vulnerable. Examples are military and law enforcement personnel, gang members, prisoners, men who had been sexually assaulted, and even senior-level managers. Information and education not only help them know that it’s okay to seek help but raise awareness, which reduces the stigma and vulnerability attached to it.
The “Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD” website is a perfect example of a collection of information, blog articles, and book lists dedicated to readers wanting to know more about PTSD. The diagnostic criteria and symptoms of Complex PTSD (CPTSD) and PTSD are covered in detail, including physiological (i.e. fight or flight), emotional, and behavioral responses. The section containing 15 strategies to help cope with and reduce symptoms of PTSD is, in my opinion, the most valuable to learn and try out practical methods. These include tips and techniques to build resilience, cultivate self-compassion, induce relaxation, manage pain. A wealth of videos is also utilized to demonstrate important principles.
The user-friendly navigation and straightforward design ensure that an incredible amount of information is easily and quickly accessible. As the focus always remain unwavering on PTSD and the experiences of affected individuals and their families, the “Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD” website is definitely a gem in the understanding, treatment, and prevention of complex trauma and PTSD!
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