Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Major Occupational Hazard of Post Traumatic Recall (PTSD) - part 1



INTRODUCTION:
High risk professions like law enforcement, military service, healthcare and emergency response are known to have exposure to some of the most extreme levels of trauma - both physically and psychologically.  They range in effects from manageable symptoms to crippling disorders.  Over time, most people overcome disturbing or traumatic experiences and continue to work and live their lives. But others who get affected by traumatic experiences may trigger a reaction that can last for months or even years. This is called Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Proportionately, studies have shown a lower percentage of retirees from such challenging careers acquire PTSD (from 15-20%) while an estimated 30-40% who suffer from PTSD associated symptoms go undetected or do not register as full cases. A larger percentage ‘on the job’ might be able to maintain the expected work standards throughout their career and even make it to retirement without visible signs. But “POST traumatic recall” leading to fully blown PTSD occurs when repeated exposure to trauma compounds on the tolerance capacity that eventually, one’s coping ability collapses.  The individual may feel stages of grief, depression, anxiety, guilt or anger from uncontrollable issues like recurring flashbacks and nightmares. [1]


REVIEW OF POST TRAUMATIC RECALL (A field report by: Jessica Glynn, CSW)
PTSD can occur in all different extremes with at-risk professionals (like cops, responders and veterans). The trauma that they experience are above the ordinary that they could cause extreme flashbacks, anxiety and depression—heavily affecting their quality of life. The average civilian is also prone to this disorder starting with MICRO-TRAUMAS that can happen to everybody throughout any point in their lifetime.  Usually stemmed from childhood issues, micro-traumas actually shape the way an individual reacts to other people. As an example, child bullying may lead to developing a protective or defensive personality disorder.  Anytime they feel disrespected or embarrassed by others, feelings of extreme uncontrollable anger may arise without knowing the source of the hurt or why they're acting in that way.  This dilemma often causes problems in relationships.

Similarly, a first responder who experiences extreme traumas like horrendous disasters may stick with them in a much harsher way that could lead to flashbacks that are hallucinatory.  If gone unchecked or untreated, these symptoms (including auditory hallucinations) can get increasingly more intense and expand to other symptoms that can affect their daily functions.  A common way that anxiety can debilitate a sufferer is from recurrent lack of sleep disrupted by bad dreams triggered by the traumatic event.

Enduring trauma is different and unique for everyone. Some cases are event-specific (having intense auditory impact or visual intensity of a terrifying event) while other cases are contingent upon the tolerance of an individual. There are people who are more emotionally expressive than others- and that might help with if they talk about the trauma that they've been through. A latent emotional disorder like PTSD symptoms can come out over time just like anything that is suppressed or repressed. It could take some time for somebody who came back from combat or a first responder who has been in a traumatic event to show signs of disturbance. They could be holding it in and repeatedly thinking about it privately (or ruminating over it) allowing the disturbing memories to get more intense by the day.  This can often be a coping mechanism- protecting themselves from dark or negative feelings for a while, but eventually it builds up and can become symptomatic like flashbacks and anxiety, then leading to an eventual explosion.  Meanwhile, some people just have flashbacks right after the experience because of the way that everybody's brain processes differently. Others obsess over thoughts that keep popping up over and over again. It really just depends on the person.

...............................................................................................................................................................


SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Not every traumatized person develops ongoing (chronic) or even short-term (acute) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work 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. A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
• At least one re-experiencing symptom
• At least one avoidance symptom
• At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
• At least two cognition and mood symptoms

Re-experiencing symptoms include:
• Flashbacks/Bad dreams - reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
• Frightening thoughts

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. The symptoms can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.

Avoidance symptoms include:
• Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
• Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
• Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.


Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
• Being easily startled
• Feeling tense or “on edge”
• Having difficulty sleeping
• Having angry outbursts

Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.





...............................................................................................................................................................


HOW STRESS CAN MAKE YOU SICK
For our well-being, stress is so powerful that it can affect just about every function in our bodies right down to our cells. Stress can cause major weight gain, headaches, hair loss, dental problems, major fatigue, respiratory issues, digestive problems, psychological & focal disorders.  It is also known to affect the performance of our immune system - allowing for skin issues, colds, allergies and a host of chronic diseases. Stress management is important for more than psychological health; stress can greatly affect immune functioning, inflammation and even hormonal balance. Studies have shown that stress can reduce natural killer cell function. These are normally the cells that attack foreign invaders including viruses, bacteria and fungi. They are also the cells that patrol the body as the first line of defense against the development of cancer. 

Stress links to Cancer
When stressed, the body responds to physical, mental, or emotional pressure by releasing stress hormones (such as CORTISOL, EPINEPHRINE AND NOREPINEPHRINE) that increase blood pressure, speed heart rate, and raise blood sugar levels. When chronically elevated, these stress hormones can corrupt the performance (and even paralyze) our immune system which can lead to osteoporosis, weight gain (especially the dangerous visceral fat), high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and cancer. These stress hormones are known to bind with cancer cells and stimulate angiogenesis, cell migration and invasion, leading to increased tumor growth and progression. Long term stress also increases blood supply that adds to the growth of cancerous tumors.

See complete article at IMMUNOLOGY TODAY
Also see video on "THE PITTS- 5 Elements that Affect the Immune System"



...............................................................................................................................................................

TRANSCRANIAL NEURO-IMAGING FOR STRESS RELATED DISORDERS
By Dr. Robert L. Bard

Emotional traumas and stress influencers are scientifically aligned with anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, drug/alcohol abuse and a wide list of physiological health issues.  These symptoms are typically diagnosed by mental health professionals through observational science and behavioral analysis.  But within the past 15 years, global advancements in transcranial imaging pioneered the ability to detect trauma-related issues in the brain through neurological imaging. Now, neurological stress can be identified clinically by monitoring chronic imbalance and changes in the neurochemical structure (or circuitry).  The shift in memory performance - specifically the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex is one indicator of this imbalance whereby a stressful event can show images with signs of neuronal dysfunction.

Neuro-imaging measures brain thought activity which has known chemical tissue changes by observing the alterations in capillary blood vessels in the retina located in close proximity to the main emotional center of the anterior brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) is currently used to show brain chemical changes with cognitive commands such as “death vs freedom.” Most recognizable patterns with suicide occur in the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain which lies directly behind the globe and is vascularized by orbital branches of the anterior cerebral artery. Functional near infrared imaging (fNIR) devices show changes in brain oxygenation linked to suicide.

Another imaging innovation is the TRANSCRANIAL DOPPLER (TCD) - a type of sonogram that is a non‐invasive, non‐ionizing, inexpensive, portable and safe technique that uses a pulsed Doppler transducer for assessment of the blood flow in the anterior cerebral arterial circulation. This technology has been used to evaluate intracranial steno‐occlusive disease, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and extracranial diseases (including carotid artery disease and subclavian steal syndrome), detection of microembolic signals and acute strokes. [5] The Transcranial Doppler has been used to examine the mean speed of blood circulation of patients to validate and monitor treatment efficacy by tracking cranial blood vessels and vertebrobasilar flow vasospasm.  (See complete report from Military Medicine)

Another device used by imaging specialists to detect mental distress is through an EYE SONOGRAM or  Real Time Sonofluoroscopy of the orbital soft tissues of the eyes.  This process is performed in multiple scan planes with varying transducer configurations and frequencies.  Power and color Doppler use angle 0 degrees and PRF at 0.9 at the optic nerve head. 3D imaging of optic nerve and carotid, central retinal arteries and superficial posterior ciliary arteries performed in erect position before & after verbal communication and  orbital muscle tissue contractions may be observed as a precursor to visual changes in facial expression. Retinal arterial directional flow is also measured with peak systolic and diastolic values. Bulging of the optic nerve head is checked as increased intracranial pressure may be demonstrable in this condition. Other innovations such as the TRANSORBITAL DOPPLER, 3D/4D VESSEL DENSITY HISTOGRAM and the RETINAL OCT (optical coherence tomography) are also being explored in the pursuit of studying brain performance through the eyes.  An expanded review on these solutions will be available in part 2 of this report.

...............................................................................................................................................................

CONTRIBUTORS /  EDITORIAL TEAM


ROBERT L. BARD, MD, PC, DABR, FASLMS - Advanced Imaging & Diagnostic Specialist
Having paved the way for the study of various cancers both clinically and academically, Dr. Robert Bard co-founded the 9/11 CancerScan program to bring additional diagnostic support to all first responders from Ground Zero. His main practice in midtown, NYC (Bard Diagnostic Imaging- www.CancerScan.com) uses the latest in digital Imaging technology has been also used to help guide biopsies and in many cases, even replicate much of the same reports of a clinical invasive biopsy. Imaging solutions such as high-powered Sonograms, Spectral Doppler, sonofluoroscopy, 3D/4D Image Reconstruction and the Spectral Doppler are safe, noninvasive, and does not use ionizing radiation. It is used as a complement to find anomalies and help diagnose the causes of pain, swelling and infection in the body’s internal organs while allowing the diagnostician the ability to zoom and ‘travel’ deep into the body for maximum exploration.

JESSE STOFF, MD, HMD, FAAFP - Cancer Immunologist / Publisher of Wellness Programs
Dr. Stoff is a highly-credentialed medical expert studying all medical remedies in pursuit of resolving the most challenging health issues of our time. In many circles, he is recognized for his 35+ years of dedicated work in immunology and advanced clinical research in modern CANCER treatments. He has spoken worldwide in some of the most sought-after medical conferences about his experiences and analyses on the study of human disease. His integrative practice (INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE OF NY, Westbury, NY) has been continually providing all patients with the many comprehensive clinical options and modalities available- including "ONCO-IMMUNOLOGY", the science of battling cancer cells and reversing pre-cancerous conditions through a complete prevention program that has earned him great success in this field.  For more information, visit: www.Dr.JesseStoff.com

JESSICA A. GLYNN, LMSW, CPC, CEC - Responders' Mental Health Program
As a therapist and coach, a lot of my work with clients is helping to manage symptoms of anxiety and panic- that which manifests in physical, often frightening and alarming ways. We can experience things like racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, numbness in arms and legs which can all make us feel like we are out control of our bodies and our surrounding world. When we have experienced a traumatic event in our lives, these feelings can be even more severe and heightened. The trauma and residually related fear is one that is very close to my heart and a reason I can provide empathy and understanding to clients that have been affected by the horrific day. When we work to process physical emotions that arise from trauma, the hope is that one day we can be less affected by it and live more presently to enjoy life’s fulfilling moments. I work with clients to slowly pull apart the physical emotions we experience from the thoughts that we are having and process them in a more self-aware and grounded way., visit her website- www.jagtheracoach.com

CHERI AMBROSE, Co-editor/outreach coordinator for NYCRA
Cheri is the associate editor for various publications such as PinkSmart News, the Journal for Modern Healing and First Responders Cancer News.  She is a patient advocate for many cancer-related programs and often contributes her time in cancer research fundraising events.  As the communications director for the NY Cancer Resource Alliance, she manages community outreach, partnership missions with other cancer foundations and research organizations and attends educational functions for cancer awareness. Her latest public projects include the launch of ImmunologyFirst.org and ImplantScan.org.  She stands as the current President of the male Breast Cancer Coalition (MaleBreastCancerCoalition.org).



** SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS segment is sourced from The National Institute of Mental Health website: www.nimh.nih.gov










References
1) https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/post-traumatic-stress-disorder
2) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cop-doc/201811/cops-and-ptsd
3) https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2729089/
5) Transcranial Doppler: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2659960/
6) Transcranial Doppler 2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11725323
7) Design and Validation of an FPGA-Based Configurable Transcranial Doppler Neurofeedback System for Chronic Pain Patients https://europepmc.org/articles/pmc6069097
8) https://academic.oup.com/milmed/article/166/11/955/4819466
9) PTSD Diagnosis Aided By New Imaging Techniques  https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/anxiety/ptsd-trauma-and-stressor-related/ptsd-diagnosis-aided-by-new-imaging-techniques/
10) https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/12/02/imaging-studies-differentiate-ptsd-mild-brain-injury/78060.html
11) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-many-faces-anxiety-and-trauma/201904/how-do-we-diagnose-ptsd





Disclaimer & Copyright Notice: The materials provided on this website are copyrighted and the intellectual property of the publishers/producers (The NY Cancer Resource Alliance/IntermediaWorx inc. and Bard Diagnostic Research & Educational Programs). It is provided publicly strictly for informational purposes within non-commercial use and not for purposes of resale, distribution, public display or performance. Unless otherwise indicated on this web based page, sharing, re-posting, re-publishing of this work is strictly prohibited without due permission from the publishers.  Also, certain content may be licensed from third-parties. The licenses for some of this Content may contain additional terms. When such Content licenses contain additional terms, we will make these terms available to you on those pages (which his incorporated herein by reference).The publishers/producers of this site and its contents such as videos, graphics, text, and other materials published are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, please always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health provider. Do not postpone or disregard any professional medical advice over something you may have seen or read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately.  This website does not support, endorse or recommend any specific products, tests, physicians, procedures, treatment opinions or other information that may be mentioned on this site. Referencing any content or information seen or published in this website or shared by other visitors of this website is solely at your own risk. The publishers/producers of this Internet web site reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to modify, disable access to, or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, all or any part of this Internet web site or any information contained thereon without liability or notice to you.



No comments:

Post a Comment