What exactly is PTSD? It’s the acronym for Post Traumatic Stress Disease. It falls into the category of a psychobiological mental disorder that often affects survivors of various traumatic experiences such as: war, terrorist attacks, serious accidents, abuse, unexpected loss, brain injuries and loss of limbs or daily normal routines/functions. PTSD is often thought of as a military combat disease but affects far more people than just veterans. Time and counseling are a great place to start. Many times, the symptoms of PTSD are treated and complicated with addictive medications for pain and/or anxiety.
According to research in the U.S. approximately 70% of adults have experienced a traumatic event at sometime in their lives. That measures out in the U.S. to be 224 Million people. And of those people 20% will digress to PTSD—some for a short time and others that becomes a lifelong debilitating disease.
If you have PTSD, you want relief. If you know someone who experiences PTSD you need to understand the struggle.
PTSD manifest itself in a wide variety of ways. Flashbacks, anxiety, sleeplessness, withdrawal from crowds, relationships and depression. The PTSD sufferer may experience these things on a scale from 1-10 anywhere in the spectrum and may also vacillate from one end of the spectrum to the other on any given day or be triggered by an event. PTSD may show up initially as mild and increase in symptoms as time goes on. It’s like fighting a monster in the dark…you never know when it will rear its head or how long it will stay.
So how do PTSD sufferers break the cycle of addiction and manage the disease? Let’s talk first about CBD (cannabinoids)
Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that balances out our immunes, our emotional state, our nervous system, our sleep patterns, and our reactions to stress/stimuli. When it is out of balance due to a variety of issues: illness, injury, fatigue, stress, nutrition and trauma (to name a few) we invite challenges to maintain our homeostasis. We can deplete our endocannabinoid system made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors key to keeping our body balanced.
Plants have their own protection system to stress similar to our endocannabinoid system called Cannabinoids or CBD. CBD has the ability to restore depleted CB1 and CB2 receptors and bring balance back to the nervous system and immune system. Trauma often displays itself in the body as an inflamed or irritated state in the nervous system. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory available to the entire body. Its properties can reduce pain, restore sleep, and calm the nervous system receptors responsible for anxiety, depression and reoccurring memories. CBD can be taken without the hallucinogenics of THC.
CBD demonstrated by studies blocks the constant bombardment of memories and traumatic events. It soothes the fight or flight mechanisms in the brain that can hyper arouse the body allowing PTSD clients to use tools to manage an attack. CBD has proven to reduce the emotional impact of fear, depression, suicidal thinking, anxiety, and nightmares.
Although my stress is not to be compared to PTSD, I personally use small amounts of CBD to manage my anxiety when flying and when stress combined with menopause occasionally challenges my sleep patterns. I take 15 mg. Others I work with need more. When I use it for sleep, I do not wake up feeling sluggish or drugged. I wear a Fitbit that measures my sleep and I’ve noticed I stay in deep sleep longer when I take CBD than when I don’t. Not feeling fatigued makes managing stress much easier.
Other stress management you can try: See my article on Anxiety
Often PTSD sufferers feel anxiety when no real threats present themselves. They may feel anxious, angry, have outbursts, avoid people and things they once loved, and experience general restlessness. Counseling, healthy ‘safe’ places, managing techniques and CBD may be just what your body needs to restore a healthy balance. Managing PTSD daily is crucial to beating the monster in the dark.