Mind Alive Blog
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that affects between 5 to 8% of Americans. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop the disorder, but those who do may experience learning, reasoning and rationalizing impairments; they may also engage in destructive behavior such as using drugs, alcohol, or violence. More information regarding PTSD is available here.
Dr. John Carmichael is a psychologist specializing in clinical, military and police psychology. He works extensively with individuals suffering from PTSD. Here are his responses to questions I asked him regarding AVE as a treatment for PTSD.
1) How do police officers get PTSD?
The police people I see have PTSD as a result of exposure to multiple traumatic events. Sometimes the events involve threats to their own lives/safety such as having guns pointed at or discharged at them, physical or knife attacks, close contact with suspects carrying potentially life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS and Hep C, having drivers deliberately aim their speeding cars at them etc. Other traumatic events are more related to what they see; suicides, including long necks from hanging and heads blown off, burned victims of house fires, body parts strewn all over from motor vehicle or train incidents, kids whose bodies are damaged by physical or sexual abuse, going to sudden deaths, especially those involving kids, etc.
2) What have been past problems in treating PTSD?
Until fairly recently, most of the treatment has involved either medications and/or forms of cognitive behavioural therapy. Unfortunately studies and clinical experience indicate that this has not been effective in bringing PTSD into remission in my police and military clients. Generally some reduction in symptoms was achieved but not to the level of remission. With the addition of methods from clinical psychophysiology, including AVE for establishing restful sleep, about 70% of my clients have been able to achieve remission. Adding neurofeedback to those who did not achieve remission, has increased the overall remission rate to about 90% with very few dropping out of treatment.
3) How long have you been using AVE?
I have included AVE in my treatment strategies for the past 15 or so years.
4) How has AVE helped?
Adding AVE to the treatment mix after peripheral biofeedback, has been successful about 80% of the time in allowing clients to enjoy a restful sleep which they had not experienced before using a DAVID.
5) Do you use AVE alongside with other treatments?
The use of AVE is added to the multi-component treatment mix once police or military clients have completed such aspects as implementing stabilization strategies, attending to medical problems, learning approaches from cognitive behavioural therapy, and peripheral biofeedback for decreasing autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysregulation and excessive muscle tension in key areas.
6) What are your favorite sessions?
If there is reason to believe that AVE might be helpful, during the office visit I apply sensors which monitor various aspects of the ANS while the AVE is running. This allows me to monitor the effects. If the client reports a sense of relaxation (or falls asleep in my office), if there are no unwanted side effects, and if there is objective evidence that the ANS has responded as desired, then the client takes a device home. The instructions are to use it each night at bedtime and again during the night if s/he awakens and does not fall back asleep within 15 minutes. Typically, I begin with B-1, which usually is sufficient. If the client reports a partial but not complete effect after 14 consecutive nights, then depending, I might recommend B-4 or C-1.
For further information regarding AVE and PTSD, please feel free to contact our office toll free at 1-800-661-6463.
by Sima Chowdhury - May 11, 2010