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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #1

    Nov 23, 2005, 05:48 PM
    Chronic nightmares
    I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) 8 years ago, after witnessing a shooting in my family. I used to have very dehabilitating symptoms and wasn't able to go to school or work, but after years of intensive treatments I've improved dramatically. However, I still have constant, chronic nightmares. In some nightmares I relive the shooting, but in others I am simply trapped in the house where the shooting took place, or trying to get out of the same house because it is dark or burning or flooding, or any other disaster you can think of. I have these nightmares probably about 90% of the time when I'm sleeping, including during naps. I've had many treatments for the PTSD - cognitive behaviour therapy, talk therapy, exposure therapy, medication - plus I've tried relaxation, self-hypnosis, and changing my diet. I don't use any alcohol, caffeine, or illicit drugs. I've been tested for sleep disorders and had a thorough physical to rule out any organic brain disorder.

    I'm sort of resigned to having the nightmares now, I've had them for 8 years, and pretty much consider them a part of my adult life (I am 26... the shooting was when I was 18). But if anyone on this board has any other suggestions for me, has heard of new treatments, anything at all - I would be grateful to hear from you. Thank you!
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,298, Reputation: 10854
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    #2

    Nov 23, 2005, 10:02 PM
    Troubled sleep
    It is not uncommon for people who have been through the emotional trauma you have to take a long time to heal.Idon't pretend to be an expert but I do have a few questions. What is the quality of your life now?Do you have friends, hobbies ,interests ,goals for the future,role models,activities you enjoy?Is your homelife stable?I hope you are not offended by all these questions, just trying to get a clearer picture.Just trying to help. :)
    jurplesman's Avatar
    jurplesman Posts: 83, Reputation: 7
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    #3

    Nov 23, 2005, 10:28 PM
    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: a Biological Disorder
    Hello Orange,

    I look upon PTSD as a problem not so much affected by what goes on in the mind, but rather what is happening at the biochemical level. Thus although conventional treatment methods tend to look at the psychological aspect of PTSD, I consider the abnormal psychological experiences to be symptoms of a unbalanced biochemistry and NOT causes of PTSD.

    When people experience a trauma as you have, stress hormones interfere with the production of feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This can cause depression, but at this stage it would be classed as environmental depression.

    Normally what happens is that after a period of let us say six months or more, the person starts to produce the feel good neurotransmitters and the person resumes life.

    In some people this does not happen. It seems that people with PTSD continue to feel depressed and emotionally upset. The reason is that the person does not appear to be able to produce the feel good neurotransmitters that would enable them to enjoy life normally.

    For the body to produce the feel good neuro chemical in the brain it needs the right nutritional forerunners of neurotransmitters - such as tryptophan as the precursor of serotonin - but most importantly it will require an inordinate amount of biological energy, called ATP, that is derived form glucose in our food. Without that energy the brain cannot produce serotonin.

    One major reason why some people cannot metabolise glucose into biological energy is Insulin Resistance.

    This means that receptors for insulin fail to push glucose across cell membranes and hence cells are starved of energy for it to manufacture the feel good neurotransmitters.

    This condition can be tested with a four hour Medical Test for Hypoglycemia. It can also be tested with a paper-and-pencil test called Nutrition Behavior Inventory Test (NBI), although this would not be as accurate as the medical test.

    Brain cells derive their energy solely by the blood sugar supply: it has no other sources of energy. Hence when brain cells are starved of energy it will trigger the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands. This hormone functions to convert sugar stores in the body such as glycogen into glucose so as to feed the brain again. But adrenaline is also the fight/flight hormone, that can cause anxiety attacks, insomnia and nightmares.

    It is of course natural for a person with PTSD to associate this with the trauma suffered, as one rational explanation.

    When the body is flooded with adrenaline, without an environmental source of danger, it is usually experienced as an anxiety attack. It is a major cause of ‘mental’ illness. Most conventional therapists are not familiar with this approach.

    The good news is that Insulin Resistance, also called hypoglycemia can be treated without recourse to drugs, because it is basically a nutritional disorder. It can be treated by going on a Hypoglycemic Diet.

    Please read:

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hypoglycemia

    At our web site.

    Please discuss with a therapist familiar with Clinical Nutrition
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #4

    Nov 23, 2005, 10:36 PM
    Thanks for your reply. I think it's too funny that you answered both my questions, haha. I wondered if anyone would see both of them! :)

    Anyway, you asked me about my life now. What comes to mind is "busy"! I work, go to school, and speak at local highschools and other groups about my childhood (foster care and having a mother with schizophrenia). In fact, the only reason I've been off and on this site all day is because I have the flu, and I tend to think too much about stuff when I'm not busy! :p!

    I have 2 very good friends, and many acquaintances, but I would like to have more. It's difficult for me to make new friends though, partially because of how busy I am, and also I guess because of the PTSD and growing up in foster care. I have some trouble trusting people. I live alone, and don't have any biological family anymore - my parents are deceased and I was an only child.

    I have quite a few interests which I enjoy regularly, but they are mostly all solitary... mountain biking, drawing, reading, collecting old movies. My goals for the future are to succeed in my chosen career and get married so I can have a family of my own. I also might like to take in foster children since I know firsthand what it's like to be one.

    Hope I answered your questions. Thanks again for your reply.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #5

    Nov 23, 2005, 10:45 PM
    Jurplesman, thanks for all the information! I knew about the neurotransmitters and the serotonin, etc, but did not know about the link to hypoglycemia. I'd definitely be willing to give it a try, as the usual psychotropic drugs haven't worked for my nightmares. Thanks for the links... I will check them out tomorrow. :)
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,298, Reputation: 10854
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    #6

    Nov 23, 2005, 11:08 PM
    Orange
    Aside from the nightmares you seem very well adjuted ,I suspect that time will heal your injury as far as the medical I'm no doctor but you seem to be a very strong person so I'm confident you will be better.Stay patient and cool :)keep in touch. :)
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #7

    Dec 3, 2005, 10:26 PM
    Talaniman, thanks for your interest and advice... I'm glad you think I'm well adjusted. I'm not so sure, LOL! But I hope you're right. I would love for the nightmares to go away eventually.
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
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    #8

    Dec 4, 2005, 01:20 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by orange
    I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) 8 years ago, after witnessing a shooting in my family. I used to have very dehabilitating symptoms and wasn't able to go to school or work, but after years of intensive treatments I've improved dramatically. However, I still have constant, chronic nightmares. In some nightmares I relive the shooting, but in others I am simply trapped in the house where the shooting took place, or trying to get out of the same house because it is dark or burning or flooding, or any other disaster you can think of. I have these nightmares probably about 90% of the time when I'm sleeping, including during naps. I've had many treatments for the PTSD - cognitive behaviour therapy, talk therapy, exposure therapy, medication - plus I've tried relaxation, self-hypnosis, and changing my diet. I don't use any alcohol, caffeine, or illicit drugs. I've been tested for sleep disorders and had a thorough physical to rule out any organic brain disorder.

    I'm sort of resigned to having the nightmares now, I've had them for 8 years, and pretty much consider them a part of my adult life (I am 26... the shooting was when I was 18). But if anyone on this board has any other suggestions for me, has heard of new treatments, anything at all - I would be grateful to hear from you. Thank you!
    Just getting done with reading that you also get a lot of colds and flu, and now this, it reminds me of when I was treated for my Post Traumatic Symdrome with antidepressants and even valium for some time. These drugs induced nightmares and also night-sweats and elevated temperature until I put two and two together and tapered myself off these drugs. From my own experience, these drugs should be taken with caution and not over a long period by some of us, but most doctors don't have the time or inclination to help us get to the real problem and hope for a quick 'cure' that either gets us hooked on pharmaceuticals or create more problems. In my opinion there really is no 'cure' for Post Traumatic Symdrome - it's the way we deal with it throughout our lives that reduce the symptoms, and that means understanding oneself and preparing for the 'bouts' that will always crop up, and anything that can trigger them. I've started keeping a journal and can pretty much predict when, especially under stressful conditions. Some even get triggered when completely alone and not used to that, therefore the need for people and work to avoid the past as much as we can. So, I guess we all have to find our own way of treatment that fits us and not everyone in general, as we are all different. As I said in the other post, see another doctor, with the list I suggested, and both of you figure out a way to help you since you know more about your body than anyone else and also what it's been through. Good Luck dear, and keep us posted. Hope your flu is almost finished going through it's stages.

    Get Well Soon!
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    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #9

    Dec 4, 2005, 07:28 AM
    Thanks Chery! Nice to meet someone else with PTSD. I used to keep a journal but don't anymore. Maybe I should start again. As far as the medication goes, I haven't taken anything for 2 years, so unfortunately I don't think that could be it. The drugs never really worked for me, so I didn't stay on them for long.
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
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    #10

    Dec 4, 2005, 04:49 PM
    Those drugs didn't do anything except confuse me more also. Hope you work it out somehow...
    jurplesman's Avatar
    jurplesman Posts: 83, Reputation: 7
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    #11

    Dec 4, 2005, 05:18 PM
    Hi Chery

    In my opinion there really is no 'cure' for Post Traumatic Symdrome - it's the way we deal with it throughout our lives that reduce the symptoms, and that means understanding onesel
    But see:

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Hypoglycemia
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
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    #12

    Dec 4, 2005, 06:51 PM
    Jurplesman
    Thanks for the site, my hypoglycemic tests are positive, but have been as a child - and you're right - some of my trauma lies there. Being a recovering alcoholic, I have to watch other things as well i.e. medications that can easily be used as a secondary crutch. Trying to convince my german neurologist and GP, now will be the chore, as they sometimes think I 'make these things up'. I guess denial does not only apply to patients, and they think americans are using neuroses as a 'fad'. I'm insured under their system, so I have no choice but to get treated through them, but I do frustrate the heck out of them since I also have medical background and can contradict. Thanks again for your help. Happy Holidays!

    Not giving up yet!
    jurplesman's Avatar
    jurplesman Posts: 83, Reputation: 7
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    #13

    Dec 5, 2005, 01:22 AM
    Hi Chery,

    I know what you are talking about I have battled against conventional doctors for years. They tend to ignore the nutritional aspects of depression. This is why I believe that 'patients' have to become more self-reliant by studying the subject of depression.

    The best is to consult CAM doctors or maybe naturopaths, who tend to treat the real causes of depression.

    Please Google search Hypoglycemia and Depression.

    Cheers

    Jur
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    valinors_sorrow Posts: 2,927, Reputation: 653
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    #14

    Apr 28, 2006, 03:31 PM
    Dear Orange,
    I too have ptsd with a background of treatment similar to yours. I think the only difference is when the nightmares persisted, my psychiatrist/psychologist team sought out a jungian analyst who taught me the embrace the dreams ("what we resist, persists" - I can still remember him saying, lol) and how to interpret them to "recieve their message".

    I exposed nightmare after nightmare to him and he showed me (I know this sounds crazy) how wonderful they were, how rich the message and how to eventually dicipher them myself.

    As a result, I now only have a nightmare now and then, usually if I sleep in new surroundings like at a hotel on a trip, or if some part of my life has hit me with a big but temporary dose of anxiety. I can take the few that occur in stride and enjoy a big range of dreams now.

    I hope that you at least try embracing them and getting creative about how you are defining them.. . This may work for you, too.
    jurplesman's Avatar
    jurplesman Posts: 83, Reputation: 7
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    #15

    Apr 29, 2006, 07:57 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Chery
    In my opinion there really is no 'cure' for Post Traumatic Symdrome - it's the way we deal with it throughout our lives that reduce the symptoms, and that means understanding oneself and preparing for the 'bouts' that will always crop up, and anything that can trigger them.
    This is incorrect. There is a cure!

    See:

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Hypoglycemia.

    As for nightmares see:

    The Biochemistry of Insomnia
    ---> here.
    Homecoming's Avatar
    Homecoming Posts: 26, Reputation: 5
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    #16

    May 30, 2006, 06:12 PM
    Hi Orange,
    Sorry to hear about the incredible journey you are on. I suggest you watch the DVD What The Bleep Do We Know, there is a great section in there that explains how our brain chemisty / body creates these attachments which allows the stress hormones to attach and thus become active. Hmm I haven't explained it well but the DVD does.
    Goodluck
    Homecoming
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
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    #17

    Jun 2, 2006, 05:12 PM
    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by jurplesman
    There is a cure for PTSD, please read:
    I linked to the site, and on the fist page, under 'Conventional Treatment' it states that there is no definitive treatment, and no cure... need I say more.
    __________________________________________________ _____

    This is quoted from the site link posted.
    Conventional Treatment
    “PTSD is treated by a variety of forms of psychotherapy and drug therapy. There is no definitive treatment, and no cure, but some treatments appear to be quite promising, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and exposure therapy.”
    Source: NCPTSD
    So, there is still no definitive diagnosis or quick cure for it, and it's hard for most to be under constant psychological therapy to pinpoint the exact catalyst for any given symptom as they are as varied as there are individuals with the diagnosis of PTSD.

    So, again, there is no sure cure - it does take time to heal, and this involves the patient more than the clinician as only the patient can note the deviations in life and document them.

    At this time, there are many pharmaceutical experiments such as antidepressants and who know what else out there, but this does not ensure a cure, and uses most people as guinea pigs for their drugs. This is naturally only My Opinion, but from personal experience, having lost several friends and co-workers many years ago in September, and having to deal with a few personal tragedies myself, I don't believe in antidepressants - no matter what.

    Again, in my opinion, individuals can be helped by knowledge of what they can expect, see the warning signs such as change of sleeping habits, fast heart rates, excessive perspiration, drawing back from others and secluding oneself from 'society', and also increase in lethargy and/or apathy. Once you've noticed and documented these changes, you can seek therapy and work on a solution.

    Another aid in this is joining a group of individuals with similar issues and create a 'workgroup' to relieve the stress factors together.

    The key is recognition and communication with others, or as stated on the site under "Conventional Therapy"
    but some treatments appear to be quite promising, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and exposure therapy.”.
    Making certain that you receive a regular check-up to ensure physical health and maintaining it also helps. So, please see your doctor first, but don't grab the first prescription for antidepressants.

    Listen to your body, be good to it.
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #18

    Jun 2, 2006, 07:39 PM
    You got me curious, Chery... I went and checked out that website. I had bookmarked it a long time ago but then forgot to read it. If what it says on the main page about the hypoglycemic diet and nutritional supplements is true, I should be cured of PTSD by now!! :rolleyes: I am practically a vegan - I eat no dairy products, no meat, no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine. What makes me not a vegan is that I eat fish. But otherwise all I eat is veggies, fruits, legumes and grains. I also take several supplements that the site suggests, and do lots of exercise. Eating like this and taking the supplements has helped my overall feeling of health and well being, but I still have PTSD. As you say, we will always have it to some extent. Anniversaries and triggers of various kinds are impossible to avoid. However, if people feel they get relief from this hypoglycemic diet, then that's cool. I just don't believe it myself, especially with everything I've been through and all the treatments I've tried.

    What I really take issue with on this website though is the quote under the heading The Hypoglycemic Diet: "For a full list of depression related illnesses see...". PTSD is NOT a depression-related illness! It's true that people with PTSD can also get depressed because of what they have been through, but the illness itself is related to new pathways in the brain which constantly cause people to relive their bad experiences and feel unnecessary fear. It's very different from clinical depression, which is thought to originate in a different area of the brain, and is not caused by the formation of new pathways. I'm probably not explaining it too well, but I know what I'm talking about because my adopted dad is a neuro-psychiatrist and my husband is training to be one, and they say the same thing!

    Anyway this thread has sure survived a long time! Thanks to everyone who's participated. As an update, I am not experiencing quite as many nightmares as I did when I posted the question over 6 months ago. I had quite a few nightmares and some flashbacks in mid-April, which is the anniversary of my bio father's suicide, but since Noah has been born things have been not as bad. Probably I'm not getting enough REM sleep to have nightmares, since I'm up all the time with him! :p
    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #19

    Jun 2, 2006, 08:21 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by jurplesman
    jurplesman agrees: Please try out Glycerine for your insomnia. Cheers Jur
    Thanks jurplesman, I don't actually have insomnia though LOL! I have a month old baby and I'm breastfeeding so that's currently why I'm up all the time.

    OH now I realize why you keep posting that site, too... it's your website! Err. I thought you must think really highly of that person to keep posting their site! :p
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
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    #20

    Jun 2, 2006, 08:37 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by orange
    Thanks jurplesman, I don't actually have insomnia though LOL! I have a month old baby and I'm breastfeeding so that's currently why I'm up all the time.

    OH now I realize why you keep posting that site, too... it's your website! Err. I thought you must think really highly of that person to keep posting their site!! :p
    Hi again, Chava. I wanted to rate your previous post here, and I agree. I also looked at that website when you initially posted your first thread here, and can see how it can help some people.

    We are proof that when it comes to the subconscious, there is no 'text-book' rule that applies. The mind is a powerful thing and sometimes makes us work real hard to keep a balance within, with or without help.

    Lots of love and happiness to you!



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