THE SHIFT WORKER'S GUIDE - PTSD INFO
The rise of VR exposure therapy
Finally, virtual reality (VR) is actually good for something.
Per The New York Times, there is growing popularity in VR exposure therapy to treat those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders.
Thanks to the falling cost of recreational VR headsets, the practice is being heralded as a breakthrough tool for psychologists.
It’s called ‘Prolonged Exposure’...… and puts patients face to face with their trauma.
First developed by clinical psychologist Edna Foa, the premise is simple: Patients describe the traumatic event in detail to a therapist. The therapist then asks the patients to confront those traumatic triggers in the real world.With VR, therapists are able to recreate traumatic triggers that would otherwise be impossible, such as war zones and bombings.
The ultimate psychology tool?
The psychologists interviewed by the NYT note that VR therapy is unlikely to replace other forms of therapy like talk therapy or real-life exposure.
And because of the availability of recreation VR headsets, some experts are concerned that patients may try it out for themselves, only to see no benefit -- a therapist talking you through the exposure is the secret sauce.
“It’s the closest thing our field has to just making opioids available over the counter,” one therapist told the NYT.
Still, the results are positive
In a study of 20 Iraq veterans suffering from PTSD, 16 no longer met criteria for PTSD after VR exposure therapy. VR’s therapeutic use goes beyond treating just PTSD. A recent study of 50 front-line nurses found that using VR headsets to simulate mindful meditation exercises in tranquil settings produced noticeable reductions in anxiety and stress.
Original article www.thehustle.com
SLEEP PROBLEMS & PTSD - THE CONNECTION
A new study published in the journal SLEEP, by researchers at the VA Portland Health Care System and with the Oregon Health & Science University found that a disorder known as REM behaviour disorder, or RBD was elevated in Veterans over the general population. Normally in REM sleep muscles are paralyzed but with RBD this paralysis is impaired. People act out (dreams) and sometimes injure themselves or others. This effects less than 1% of the general population, 9% of Veterans, but 21% of those with PTSD.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must show two of these six:
Heightened startle response
Self-destructive or reckless behaviour
Irritability or aggression
The affects on sleep of PTSD include:
Memories intruding on sleep ability
Unable to fall asleep because of anxiety
Unable to stay asleep because of nightmares
Sleep problems related to self medicating
Side effects of PTSD/anxiety medications
These sleeping issues intensify PTSD symptoms while awake such as, anxiety and fatigue, but also may cause sufferers (because they are not rested) to focus on what caused their PTSD, to think about it and relive it. It has been documented that lack of sleep makes people, in general, unable to think clearly or handle the “stress of the day” effectively.
All of the above can also be exacerbated by lack of restful sleep, suggesting that sleep therapy should be an integral part of PTSD therapy, and both would be more helpful when/if carried out in conjunction with the other.
If you need help reach out to a medical and or psychiatric professional who listens to you and is trained in the PTSD field.
The Shift Worker’s Guide are Shift Workers, not Doctors. We provide information only.
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER CAN BE CONTAGIOUS
RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE AND IT HAS BEEN LABELLED SECONDARY TRAUMA
**When caregivers, rescue workers or family members attend to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder who has suffered a horrible experience, a number of them develop “secondary” PTSD, without themselves having witnessed the traumatic event.
**Stories of trauma, it seems, can become etched into memory as if they were the hearer’s own experiences. This memory transfer may occur because the brain regions that process real and imagined experiences overlap considerably.
**The more that caregivers or family members empathize with a victim and the less able they are to maintain emotional distance, the more likely it is that they will experience secondary trauma.
The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders acknowledges the problem. A diagnosis of PTSD no longer requires the immediate experience of a traumatic event; a person need not have been a victim or even an eyewitness. It is enough simply to hear the details. Recent research has begun to clarify how common the problem is and why some people are more susceptible to it than others.