Tag Archives: PTSD

Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 2

File:FerndalePoliceStop102415.jpg

Drug paraphernalia including marijuana/cannabis and a methamphetamine pipe, following a police stop in Ferndale, CA, Author Ferndale Police Dept., Source https://kymkemp.com
(PD per California Public Records Act)

We continue our discussion of the risks and benefits of a drug-based psychiatric approach utilizing psychedelics to treat anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite growing enthusiasm for the use of psychedelics, the evidence is far from in.

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – one of the most potent hallucinogens – was studied from the 1950s to 1970s in order to assess behavioral and personality changes, as well as relief from psychiatric symptoms [1][2A].

LSD was originally used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosomatic illness.  Readers may recall that the US Army and CIA, also, experimented with LSD as a truth serum.  But most early studies were not performed to today’s standards.

Across 11 randomized-controlled studies (involving a combined total of 567 patients) positive outcomes were observed, particularly with regard to alcoholism [2B].

In rare instances, however, psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can evoke a lasting psychotic reaction (more frequently in patients with a family history of psychosis) [3A].  Adequate screening of a patient’s vulnerability and prior psychotic episodes before the use of LSD is, therefore, emphasized. Continue reading

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 1

File:Ecstasy monogram.jpg

Ecstacy a/k/a Molly, Author DEA, Source https://www.dea.gov, (PD as work product of federal govt.)

“I am more convinced than ever that psychiatric medications, over the long term, cause net harm.  I wish that weren’t the case, but the evidence just keeps mounting that these drugs, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes…The inventor of frontal lobotomy…was awarded a Nobel Prize for inventing that surgery, which today we understand as a mutilation.”

-Award-winning science author and journalist, Robert Whitaker [1][2]

Recently, a number of drug trials have been conducted re-assessing the effectiveness of psychedelics for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While the results of these trials have been heralded as providing new treatment options for tenacious illnesses, there are serious dangers associated with psychedelics.

Serotonin

Psychedelics act on receptors in the brain for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that effects mood.

There is some thinking that psychedelics enhance the brain’s capacity to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially following injury [3A].  But this hypothesis needs further research.

In the therapeutic setting, psychedelics cause a receptive, dream-like state during which memories are readily accessible [3B].  The theory is that this state opens the door to fresh ideas the therapist can introduce.

Unsupervised use is not recommended. Continue reading

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Discernment, Intergenerational Trauma, and a Red Panda

Turning Red Trailer, Poster and Images Revealed by Disney and Pixar

There is a heated debate surrounding Disney Pixar’s latest animated feature Turning Red, a cartoon about a 13 y.o. girl who magically transforms into a red panda [1A].

Many critics have praised the film, calling it a celebration of teen girls [1B].  Others view it as a narrative on intergenerational trauma [1C].  Still others see the film as demonic [2].

Plot Line of Turning Red

Mei’s mother expects her to work in the family temple which honors the red panda.  With puberty, Mei begins turning into a red panda, herself, whenever she experiences strong emotion.  She learns this problem has plagued the family for generations.  According to Mei’s mother, the cure is a ritual which buries happiness and passion, along with anger and fear.

Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma is a concept used to explain how the traumatic effects of a historical event may be passed from one generation to the next [3][4].

Despite having survived a Nazi concentration camp, a grandmother who coped there by repressing her emotions may remain distant from her family for decades afterwards.  This will impact not only her children, but their children, and so on.  Generations of denial, emotional distance, and defensive behavior can result.

Intergenerational trauma is associated with rape, sexual abuse, murder and other forms of severe trauma.  It can be passed on even if the trauma is never identified by name or discussed with family members. Continue reading

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Chaos

Poor child, Author Pankajauyangoda (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

They are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that a storm carries away” (Job 21: 18).

Often, those of us not raised in dire poverty fail to understand the chaos of that environment.

The electricity is turned off, and homework is not done.  The ceiling falls in, literally.  The grocery bag rips, the eggs smash, and there is no dinner.  Children sleep in the bathtub as their only defense against drive-by shootings.  An intoxicated neighbor sets the house on fire.  An argument over sneakers escalates into a shooting.  Police arrest a parent, and the children go into foster care.

No Safety Nets

There are no safety nets.  There are no margins for error.  What to the rest of us might be an inconvenience, at worst a minor hardship, can be devastating to the poor.  Progress is impossible.  A youthful indiscretion may cost a life.

Is there any wonder that long range consequences are imperfectly understood?  These children have not been in a position to predict from one hour to the next what may befall them.

Disappointed and Discouraged

Children in poverty face constant disappointment, and daily discouragement from the adults around them.  Promises must be broken again and again.  Some of the criticism may actually be an attempt by adults to protect their children against the bias they are expected to face.  Underachievement is perceived as “safer” than success. Continue reading

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Flypaper

Musca domestica – Housefly, Author Nico Westerhof (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

My father helped uncounted strangers.  He gave directions, fixed tires, delivered groceries, shared tools, shoveled driveways.  He lent money that went unreturned.  He cleared debris, cut down unwanted tree limbs, and cleaned the home of one elderly man for years.

My father, also, molested me.  I have struggled with the scars of that incest my entire life…

People who have just learned of the incest will – after a distressed pause – often ask how it first began…I cannot recall the first time.  I simply do not remember a period when the incest was not a part of my reality…

Certainly I was acting out sexually by the second grade, a sure sign I was being molested.  I knew the basics of sexual intercourse by that point.  My father had conveyed that information in the interest of furthering my education.  So he repeatedly said…

I have no words to convey the horror my father’s assaults produced in me.

Imagine a cool summer’s day.  It is early morning.  You open the screen door and stop out onto the porch, kissed by a soft breeze.  The world is green and new…After a few moments, you turn reluctantly; go back indoors to chores and the real world.

It is only than that you see.  A hoard of flies somehow entered the apartment while the screen door was ajar.  You are at first stunned by their number.  There must be eight or ten.  How can this have happened so quickly?  Then disgust sets in.  Your gorge rises, but there is no relief at hand.  Somehow you have to deal with the situation. Continue reading

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The Sins of the Fathers

“Shipwreck: the sun breaking through the clouds after a storm” by William Joy (1859), Photographer/Source Christie’s Auctions, (PD-Art, PD-Age)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

We close 2020 on a tragic note:  the sexual assault and battery of a newborn by a 14 y.o. boy living in the same Florida foster home [1A].

Assailant Sexualized as a Toddler

The teenage assailant is thought to have been sexualized as a toddler, when his biological mother exposed him to pornography and engaged in sexual activity in his presence.

History of Prior Assaults

“If someone is predatory, they are going to focus in on someone that is vulnerable.  Putting a young child in a situation like that is beyond shocking.”

-Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Thomas Dikel [1B]

The couple who fostered then adopted this boy (the Kleins); the non-profit responsible for overseeing child welfare locally (Kids Central); and the entity providing case management services (The Center) were all aware of the boy’s dangerous proclivities, since he had sexually assaulted other children.

Nonetheless, Kids Central and The Center continued to send foster children to the Kleins’ home. Continue reading

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Nightmares

“Nightmare in a Mirror” by Terry Marks, Source http://www.stuckism.com/GFDL/Marks.html (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

You have a recurring nightmare.  Perhaps you are being chased by something enormous and faceless, something terrifying.  Perhaps the sight of something innocuous in a dream causes you unexplained anguish or despair.

You wake in a cold sweat (or with tears on your pillow), sure there must be something wrong with you.

Symbolic Imagery and PTSD

The language of our dreams can be puzzling.  Images can be confusing, and are often symbolic.

For abuse survivors, nightmares are a frequent symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [1].  An estimated 71% – 96% of those with PTSD have nightmares.

Short-Term v. Long-Term Memory

Scientists agree that dreams involve the mind’s transfer of short-term memories to long-term storage.

Continue reading

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“How Being Bullied Affects Your Adulthood” by Kate Baggeley

Bullying, Author Dalia098 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

While the coronavirus has disrupted the normal school year, for some of our children this may actually have come as a relief.

“In American schools, bullying is like the dark cousin to prom, student elections, or football practice:  Maybe you weren’t involved, but you knew that someone, somewhere was.  Five years ago, President Obama spoke against this inevitability at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.  ‘With big ears and the name that I have, I wasn’t immune.  I didn’t emerge unscathed,’ he said.  ‘But because it’s something that happens a lot, and it’s something that’s always been around, sometimes we’ve turned a blind eye to the problem.”’

We know that we shouldn’t turn a blind eye:  Research shows that bullying is corrosive to children’s mental health and well-being, with consequences ranging from trouble sleeping and skipping school to psychiatric problems, such as depression or psychosis, self-harm, and suicide.

But the damage doesn’t stop there.  You can’t just close the door on these experiences, says Ellen Walser deLara, a family therapist and professor of social work at Syracuse University, who has interviewed more than 800 people age 18 to 65 about the lasting effects of bullying…”

[Continued at:  https://slate.com/technology/2016/06/the-lasting-effects-of-childhood-bullying-are-surprisingly-not-all-detrimental-in-adulthood.html ]

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Shrapnel – Trauma Beliefs

Shrapnel fragments visible on x-ray, Author Hellerhoff (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING: Graphic Images

The sharp, jagged, metal fragments from an exploding bomb, grenade, or landmine are known as shrapnel.

Shrapnel wounds require special care.  Initially, these are open puncture wounds, with impaled objects so hot that medical personnel are strictly advised to leave them in place. Pressure on shrapnel wounds must be avoided, as this will only cause more damage to surrounding tissues and organs.

After it cools, some shrapnel can be removed surgically [1].  Often, however, surgery would do more harm than good.  There may be hundreds or thousands of small objects.

Over the years, fragments left behind can migrate within the body, making them still harder to find and access.  It is not unusual for shrapnel to remain imbedded for decades [2].

Trauma Beliefs

The same is true for trauma beliefs. When children undergo trauma, they experience strong emotions.  Like scorching metal fragments, these searing emotions highlight the traumatic event.

But children, also, draw conclusions from trauma.  This is their attempt to make sense of the world.  Unfortunately, the conclusions children draw may not be accurate [3].

Since the traumatic event is not fully understood, the child cannot fully process it. Instead, the emotions and faulty conclusions surrounding the trauma remain sharp, jagged, and are re-experienced, again and again.

This happens even after conscious memory of the event has faded.  Like shrapnel, trauma beliefs  remain in the body, and continue to do harm.

False Core Beliefs

Having been abandoned as children, we may fear that others will leave us as adults. Having been abused as children, we may believe ourselves unworthy of love as adults. These core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us may never be vocalized, never questioned.  But they are deeply held.

Trauma beliefs “feel” accurate not because they are, but because we have held them for so long [4].  They “feel” protective, but are actually self-sabotaging [5]. Continue reading

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Vigilance, Part 3 – Physical Abuse

Rib fractures in an infant, secondary to child abuse, Author/Source National Institute of Health (PD as work product of US Dept. of Health and Human Service, a federal agency)

Physical abuse is the form of child abuse most frequently reported by the media and most familiar to the public.  It is, also, the form most frequently fatal.

Children can and do sustain bumps and bruises, in the course of ordinary play.  Physical abuse, however, is deliberate harm by a parent or caregiver.

An abuser may characterize physical abuse as punishment for a perceived infraction.  But such punishment is out of all proportion to the infraction, and severe beyond a child’s capacity to understand or endure it. Continue reading

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