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Ptsd - curable versus treatable

Thread starter #1
Often the most obvious answer may not be so obvious to all seeking said answer. So what is the question that eludes the obvious answer, you're now asking yourself?

If Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is incurable, can I fully recover to live a normal life?

Curable vs. Treatable

By definition, curable means the disease can be completely eliminated, versus treatable, which means only the symptoms can be relieved. So... can you live a normal life with relieved symptoms? The answer is, yes!

Degree of Recovery

PTSD is not created equal, and you must accept that fact. There are diverse factors that affect overall recovery outcome. There are high-functioning persons, normal recovery outcomes with no further affect, low functioning and the bottom of the PTSD barrel where the person can't function in society and suffer daily symptoms the remainder of their life. People can start at the bottom of the barrel and fully recover with little to zero ongoing symptoms.

There are no hard facts about recovery outcomes for PTSD because all treatment options have different success rates, and it can take a person years, decades even, to find the treatment / therapist that worked for them uniquely. The below is an approximate recovery rate based on overall statistics using primary PTSD treatments. We start with a figure of 100% of persons diagnosed with PTSD.
  • Approximately 60% will completely recover with no further symptoms.
  • The next 35% have a varying level of recovery from full recovery that takes years, to partial recovery, yet allowing them to participate in life via employment, education, relationships and so forth.
  • The remaining 5%, approximately, will have what is deemed life-time PTSD. This means they will never successfully hold full-time employment or be able to participate in life socially for extended periods, being days, maybe a week or two, before they get crushed by symptoms and need to adopt their retreat and management principles.
Is PTSD treatable? Absolutely! The recovery rate is exceptional for approximately 80% of sufferers. The remaining 20% can still have a vastly improved life by healing their trauma and learning how to manage PTSD.

Healing trauma does not mean forgetting about it. Healing trauma means removing the negative stigma that creates / heightens symptoms to extreme levels.

Trauma Severity

Some people think the type of trauma affects their overall symptom distress. Well, for the most part you would be wrong with that assumption. Whilst there are some specific symptom profiles that produce known outcomes, the severity varies from person to person, personality to personality, belief system to belief system.

Ten women raped, yet only three obtain PTSD. Of those three with PTSD their symptom profile and severity will be diverse. All three may be ok with working a full-time job, yet may now share a broken reality for their security and all take obsessive security in moving from home to work, then back to home, have zero social life and distance themselves from family. Of the other seven, some may increase their security, have nightmares and anxiety, though find security in having people they know around them, so they shift to being more social, more outgoing, yet still more aware of their surroundings and such.

Out of the ten, five may never be able to have a relationship again. Some may shift their sexual preferences, as they find comfort and security in being with the gender opposite to the one held by their rapist. Some may abstain from sex for years, decades even, as a result of being violated.

You should already see a symptom diverse and severity profile occurring above, and remember, only three had PTSD as a result, yet all ten endure changes, distress, some symptoms throughout their life and behavioural changes. Being raped, or enduring any traumatic event, does not equate to having PTSD. The effects of trauma and having symptoms is different from a neurological disorder occurring within your brain as a result of the trauma.

Many think childhood trauma comes with severe symptoms, when in actual fact longevity of symptoms is usually more correct. The symptoms are present at moderate levels, yet most with childhood abuse are functioning adults who work, have families, relationships and participate in life. Their area of clinically significant distress is often with parental family / siblings, being where the abuse occurred. A child brain is extremely resilient and malleable, thus they get on with life more readily but hold onto the failure of being protected, cared for and loved by a parent / guardian. Trust is typically shattered.

Single traumatic events in adulthood have exceptional success rates for recovery, yet can often have short-term severe symptoms along with repercussions in the persons life.

Veterans and sufferers of horrific repeated traumatic events typically have the most severe symptom profile. They both have in common a longevity of trauma, extreme psychological pressures and the trauma type is extremely severe and often diverse in nature. The key factor is that the events happen for a duration in teen years onwards. The brain becomes less forgiving in teenage years, and especially within adulthood, as our personality and belief systems stabilise.

Relapse

Here is the question that shapes the above information in relation to PTSD having no cure and why PTSD is classified as such, and only treatable... will I relapse?

PTSD is a neurologic formation within the brain. Once it occurs, it can't be undone according to current neurology data. It exists within the prefrontal cortex and is otherwise unknown to date. Neurology has discovered that the brain is malleable and can repair itself. It is the how and the degree of repair that is unknown.

This puts anyone with PTSD that recovers into the relapse basket due to prior susceptibility. Nobody can see or predict the future with specificity. If you face a minor or major traumatic event in your future, will you relapse? Will you have no issue because you use what you learnt to recover the first time, not making the same mistakes by ignoring symptoms? Will you become worse and one of the 5% with lifetime PTSD?

All rational questions, with no known answer. The answer will come at the time you endure a future traumatic event, which could be minor or major, regardless of fitting criterion A again. Either way, PTSD relapse is highly likely because you already have it in your brain due to fitting criterion A... the question is merely whether it will show and to what degree.

Conclusion

Hearing that PTSD has no cure and will be with you for life should not be a negative, but instead take it for what it is, a current fact. Reading the above you can differentiate between cure and treatable. You can fully recover from PTSD and live a very normal life. Even being one of the 5%, you can recover significantly to atleast live a good life that fits within stricter boundaries in order to manage symptoms. You should be able to remove most symptoms and function in life's basics, regardless of initial severity.
 
R

R Miller

#3
I have had PTSD for coming up to 5 years after being in amajor earthquake zone where 115 people got killed in the building beside where I was. We had 13,000 to 14,000 aftershocks including Major Shakes of 6.1 and 7.2 Richter Scale. I know that I won’t recover now, but I enjoy the good days and I hate the bad days! I lost my job because of my PTSD and I’m lucky I had insurance. However the Insurance company is always at me. I’m trying to set up my own business but it isn’t easy and when it comes to the stressful stuff I tend come up short. I’m no good at stressful stuff since having PTSD
 
K

Kathryn1

#4
This article is a nice overview of recovery outcomes and it is worded at a readable level that I would like to share with my therapy clients, however, you include a completely arbitrary statement about how several rape victims may “become gay” as a result of their rape. Here is what you say: “Some may become gay as they find comfort and security in being with a female as they cannot trust being sexual with a male again.” This is absolutely ridiculous and false. People do not become gay as a result of trauma. People are born gay or bi-sexual. Your statement perpetuates damaging beliefs that being gay is a choice or is caused by some sort of traumatic event. These are the type of belief structures that are used to portray GLBTQ people as diseased, corrupt, or otherwise less-than. Believing that being gay is somehow caused by types of sexual experience, or a lack there of, is used to support horrifying practices like corrective rape: Raping a woman who is known or suspected to be gay based on the belief that if gay woman just had sex with a man, she would no longer be gay. You can see how absurd that idea is, but your statement is just as damaging and along a similar vein. Sexual orientation is not a symptom, a trauma reaction, or a mental disorder. Nowhere in the medical literature will you find evidence to support that anyone may “become gay” as a result of trauma. Please edit this article and take out this terrible, antiquated, false information and then it would be an excellent article. ~Kathryn A., LPC, LMHC, RYT
 

joeylittle

Administrator
#5
Thank you for your comment, Kathryn A. – I agree with your observation and have edited the article to be more precise. You are correct – sexual orientation is not a choice or a reaction. I do believe it is fair to say that one’s life as a sexually active person can be shaped by their traumatic experiences. The article now reflects this – which is quite different from linking sexual orientation to trauma.
 
Thread starter #6
Hi Kathryn,

To be honest, I will argue against your statement. Whilst science is leading towards genetics, in that you’re born straight, bi-sexual or gay, everything I read also includes choice as part of the equation. Whilst they say genetics is at play, they also can attribute an actual isolated genome to sexuality.

I love these play on words by scientist: “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice. Our findings suggest there may be genes at play and we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.”

“The latest research confirmed that this region on the X chromosome, known as Xq28, is more likelyto be shared by the gay pairs of brothers than by the brothers and their other siblings.”

To be honest, I’m unsure why you’re turning this into sexuality, when that is such a small part of this article. The above quotes evidence hypothetical assessment, not yet factual. Yet you have read such as factual and biased keywords and terminology, such as “suggest” “may” “likely”. None of the research states, “this is factual.” It states, “this is likely, it may be the case, huge maybe.”

Do a search, there are plenty of studies that cite rape survivors changing sexual orientation after the event. Were they born bi-sexual or gay? If scientists say they are, then I’m not going to argue with them — but the facts are that all information also adds choice into the equation.

Gay people live in denial (choice) within heterosexual relationships for years, decades, before they accept they’re gay and change sexual preference. Bi-sexual do also. The studies read, when writing this article, such included information. They did not go into the science of sexuality, which you are raising. They simply outlined factual results, that some people change orientation after rape.

You’re a therapist, I’m honestly unsure why you are turning statements into something not said. Facts are facts, outcomes are outcomes, and if you attempt to say that people don’t live in denial within heterosexual relationships, then you’re a liar and biased towards societal fact.

I have not said what you are claiming, but you are trying to mince words to suit your argument.

Factual — some people change sexual preference after rape. Born bi-sexual, gay, or otherwise, that is not of debate in this article. This article is about PTSD whether it is curable or treatable, and mentions factual results obtained in studies.

Nobody is saying that rape turns you gay — but some “may” become gay (a word used for same sex orientation versus heterosexual) after being raped. I’m sorry, but this is fact.
 
S

Susan1

#7
I pray to God there is a cure for PTSD. I have been doiagnosed 12 years ago with this nightmare. I was raped at a work function, then the upper management harass me till I had a nervous break down.

And no I wasn’t going to sue my company. I loved my job and I was fantastic in sales. I had a nervous break down because of the rape and my company. I went to trial, watch the rapist get off. I lost all faith in the justice system. Then I lost my memory completely for almost 4 years. In the mean time my now ex stole over 2 million out of my savings. Refinanced a lot of my properties got cash out , collected the rents never paying the mortgages. Ran my 0 balance cc to over $232k. All in my name. My memory started to slowly come back. slowly. Then my ex tried to kill me 5 times. He was forcing pills down my throat. Telling everyone I was trying to commit suicide. I went into hiding in a small town. Where there is, no therapist that can help me. It’s hard to get out of bed. It’s hard to leave the house. I trust no one.

I want so much to go to work. Meet girlfriends for coffee.

Have a “” Normal Life “”. I saved for retirement, now I am check to check. I am trying to stay strong and not end this horrible life. Because I have a beautiful son “who doesn’t understand why I am so weak when I was so strong before” And my 2 Beautiful grandbabies I adore and love. I stay alive just in case my son or grandkids may need me one day. I do have a Psychiatrist who gives my my meds. And like meds they work so long then thay don’t. So back to the hospital I go….This really sucks….

If anyone knows of a place or a doctors that can cure my PTSD PLEASE LET ME KNOW. ..
God Bless
 
S
#8
I have had PTSD for coming up to 5 years after being in amajor earthquake zone where 115 people got killed in the bui...
I am sorry for your experience. Please do not allow statistics and other people to determine your ability to get better. I couldn’t care less that statistics say PTSD is not always successfully treatable. I have made the decision to get better. After spending 6 years not knowing what was wrong with me I finally self diagnosed correctly(with PTSD). I have overcome depression as one of my greatest battles, pills free(complication from PTSD left untreated so long). Neuroplasticity,Mindfulness and ACT have been crucial in my recovery. I think the brain has amazing capacity to heal no matter what your age. The best thing you can have as part of your recovery is the belief that YOU will find a way to get better. Not just cope, or to reduce the symptoms but to overcome completely. Hold onto that, because that belief alone will help you do what you never thought you could. Read, become curious and try different things to find what works for your recovery.Don’t just rely on therapists because healing ultimately is down to you. Just remember you are so much stronger than you ever thought and you can do this. Sure it might take a while and it certainly might not be easy, but there are people that have overcome trauma and are stronger, happier and living a life they never thought possible.
 
#9
Susan,
I feel your pain. I was told there is no cure, but that symptoms can be relieved. I tried doing it on my own and ended up suicidal. Now I understand that for right now, and maybe forever I have limitations that I do not like, but I have to find a way/ways to accept. I cannot work either. I recently got back in touch with some very good friends that are more like family and because they don’t push me, I know I can do this just by them being there. It’s hard. I’ve been through a lot in my life bit this is by far the hardest. Constantly searching for hope. I don’t know where you live but here in California there are treatment centers for ptsd as I’m sure are elsewhere. Im a firm believer that if someone wants to kill themselves, that is their right but please don’t give up. Find one person to trust when you can’t trust your mind. Not everyone is bad. That’s what I’m learning. Much love, find what works for YOU. ♡
 
T

Tina1

#11
I would like to see more research and articles written on women who are abused and battered long-term. I always see the examples of women who are raped. But for the long-term abused and battered woman it is like having her life raped. Where is that data and analysis?
 
#11
Hi Susan,
My heart feels for you and reading your story brought tears to my eyes. I am also a survivor of sexual assault. Your situation sounds like you were violated on so many levels and I can completely understand why your foundation for trust has been shattered. Have gone through treatment for PTSD, I believe in recovery. I had a phenomenal trauma therapist that I saw consistently for 7 1/2 years through a sexual assault center in the community I lived in. It took a long time to get to know myself much less to learn to trust others. I still struggle with trust though I had to take a risk in allowing a therapist into my life that could assist me with recovery. After trauma and when searching for the right therapist, can be hard to trust even ourselves and our own judgement, though I had to go through a couple of therapists until I met one that was a good fit and that I did trust. Through the different treatment modalities including EMDR, I have been able to feel a broad range of emotions again, even joy. When starting out in treatment, it’s important to be realistic that things may get worse before they get better. Healing is possible and it’s remarkable how strong the human spirit can be even when faced with extreme adversity. We need the right conditions and the internal desire from within to get better. Yes, I’m still in recovery, it’s sometimes a life long process though I have learned to accept where I am along this journey and how to love and respect others who have experienced their own challenges in life. Sending healing energy and many blessings to you.
 
C

CTurn

#12
Tina,

Consider EMDR Therapy.

It helped me….. through far too many atrocities starting at toddler on through a battered woman’s shelter age 33. In my 50s I finally began to get EMDR Therapy and life is so much better.
In addition, EMDR Therapy is available for children who experienced trauma. Imagine a world that an individual was given relief at age 5 instead of having to endure decades of life without help.
 
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