Hope you’re not overwhelmed with the acronyms…just trying to save some space!

So…what exactly is PTSD? It stands for Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD develops after an ordeal which involves some form of trauma. The person who develops PTSD may have been harmed or harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event which happened to loved ones or strangers.

PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

Here are the primary symptoms of PTSD:
• Easily startled
• Emotional numbness (especially in relation to people with whom they used to be close)
• Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
• Trouble feeling or acting affectionate
• Irritability
• May become aggressive or even become violent
• Avoidance of situations which may remind the survivor of the original incident.

In addition, most people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in their thoughts during the day and in nightmares when they sleep. These are called flashbacks. Flashbacks may consist of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, and are often triggered by ordinary occurrences, such as a door slamming or a car backfiring on the street. A person having a flashback may lose touch with reality and believe that the traumatic incident is happening all over again.

PTSD symptoms are worse if the event that triggered them was deliberately initiated by another person, as in a mugging or a kidnapping.

Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the incident but occasionally emerge years afterward. They must last more than a month to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.

Research tells us that PTSD currently affects about 7.7 million American adults, but it can occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is some evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.
Okay…there’s the problem…let’s take a look at the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) solution.
First, a little history…In 1987, psychologist Francine Shapiro made the initial observation that led to the development of EMDR. She discovered that her voluntary eye movements reduced the intensity of negative, disturbing thoughts. Dr. Shapiro initiated a research study in 1989 examining the efficacy of EMDR in treating traumatized Vietnam combat veterans and victims of sexual assault. She asked her clients to focus on the traumatic event while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus, in this case therapist-directed lateral eye movements ( other stimuli including hand tapping and audio stimulation are also often used).The results of this study showed that EMDR significantly reduced clients' trauma symptoms.

Why does EMDR work? We don’t know exactly, although we think the EMDR process mimics the eye movement which occurs naturally when people are in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is the only stage of sleep when people dream. Researchers have shown repeatedly that people who do not go into REM sleep or, therefore, dream, learn and heal slower than their dreaming and REM sleep counterparts. The conclusion, therefore, is that EMDR naturally accelerates the healing and learning process, much like the REM of sleep.

Who facilitates EMDR? EMDR is a highly specialized therapy and it needs to be conducted only by a licensed mental health professional who has taken specific training in this complex approach. Unfortunately, there are many people parading themselves as “eye-movement therapists” who have NOT received the proper training and could actually do much more damage than good.

Always ask the following questions before you start any EMDR treatment:
• Are you a licensed mental health professional?
• Have you received both Part 1 and 2 of the basic training?
• Was your training program approved by EMDRIA?
• Have you kept up to date about the latest protocols and developments?
• About how many people with my particular problems or disorder have you successfully treated?
• What is your success rate? How do you measure that?
• Will you discuss with me the way EMDR can deal with my obvious symptoms?

In addition to treating PTSD, EMDR is also successfully being used to treat other anxiety disorders, such as Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder), Specific Phobias and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Furthermore, there is also an increasing body of evidence - including this author, who has successfully been using EMDR for over 10 years with numerous different diagnoses -which supports using EMDR as an adjunct form of therapy in the successful treatment of depression and addictive disorders, as well as general performance enhancement treatment for athletes, speakers, musicians and others who have to deal with the stress and high pressure of public performing.

Author's Bio: 

KI provide mental health counseling, marriage counseling and relationship counseling to help professionals and their families eliminate stress, maximize success and create extraordinary relationships at home, at work and in the community. As a mental health counselor, marriage counselor and relationship counselor my number one goal is to help people live their lives and relationships fully and completely. I've been offering counseling, coaching, and educational programs since 1987. My programs are focused on empowering people to have more successful lives, businesses and relationships. You'll always find FREE Life and Relationship Success Special Reports at http://kendonaldson.com/. I'm also the author of Marry YourSelf First! Say "I DO" to a Life of Passion, Power, Purpose and Prosperity http://www.marryyourselffirstbook.com/