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Archive for the ‘PTSD’ Category

Shootings and Gang Violence Can Lead to PTSD

09 Dec

From Northwestern University

Gun Violence and PTSDThe violence that women in disadvantaged neighborhoods experience and witness can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and full diagnoses, according to a new study that examined a disadvantaged Chicago neighborhood.

Also noteworthy, women with PTSD diagnosis or sub-threshold PTSD had significantly more severe depression symptoms than women in the study who didn’t report experiencing trauma. Every woman who was recruited had symptoms of depression.

“There are many women who are affected by shooting and gang violence in these neighborhoods,” said first author Sunghyun Hong, a research assistant at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “These women are often overlooked. With this study, we were able to shine a light on this high prevalence of trauma exposure and PTSD diagnosis among the underserved population.”

This is one of very few studies to explicitly examine the impact that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood has on PTSD symptoms. The study was published Dec. 7 in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

The traumatic experiences reported in the study were often violent or sexual in nature. One woman disclosed having witnessed the fatal shooting of her son, and another woman reported watching her father be murdered in her home.

The neighborhood from which women in the study were recruited ranked 7th for property crime, 26th for quality of life crime and 35th for violent crime among 77 Chicago neighborhoods.

Thirty-six percent of women in the study had PTSD or sub-threshold PTSD (substantial trauma symptoms that might not have met the full PTSD diagnostic criteria). Those with PTSD had more severe depression symptoms than other women in the study who did not exhibit signs of PTSD, said principal investigator and senior author Inger Burnett-Zeigler, clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg.

“Even if you don’t meet the full criteria for PTSD, you can have enough symptoms to impact your well-being,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “There is a substantial proportion of people who fall below the PTSD diagnosis line who might be getting lost in the cracks. It’s important for mental health providers to develop a greater awareness around this because untreated PTSD symptoms affect mental health, quality of life and functioning.”

A significant percentage of women in a general population who experienced trauma (20 percent) develop PTSD she said.

“But the prevalence of PTSD symptoms is particularly acute in impoverished neighborhoods,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “In the study’s sample, 71 percent of the women who experienced trauma had PTSD symptoms.”

“This wasn’t a sample we recruited based on having traumatic experiences, and yet so many women we recruited had experienced something traumatic,” Burnett-Zeigler said. “That is really significant in terms of how prevalent of an issue this is in that vulnerable population.” Original Article

Related Online Continuing Education Courses

 

With the wars in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq, a new generation of military veterans has arrived home, requiring appropriate and sensitive pastoral care. This course is based on a handbook written for the Department of the Navy by The Rev. Brian Hughes and The Rev. George Handzo, entitled Spiritual Care Handbook on PTSD/TBI: The Handbook on Best Practices for the Provision of Spiritual Care to Persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. This manual begins by describing the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The handbook goes on to outline a theory of recovery, to describe the general stance of the pastoral counselor, and to provide guidelines for sensitivity to differences in religion, culture, and gender.Referring to the empirical literature, specific pastoral interventions are described, including group work, meaning-making, spiritual care interventions, clinical use of prayer and healing rituals, confession work, percentage of guilt discussion, life review, scripture paralleling, reframing God assumptions, examining harmful spiritual attributions, encouraging connection with a spiritual community, mantra repetition, creative writing, sweat lodges, psychic judo, interpersonal therapy, and trauma incident reduction. Several other beneficial features include a description of seven stages of faith development and tips for self-care for the pastoral counselor.

 

Providers, and those who listen empathically to the trauma stories of others, are at risk for reactions known collectively as vicarious traumatization (VT). This course outlines some of the basic differences between primary traumatization, secondary traumatization, VT, and compassion fatigue; discusses many of the signs and symptoms of VT; provides questions for self-assessment of VT; and provides coping suggestions for providers who are involved in trauma work or those who may have VT reactions. This course offers providers and others who listen empathically to the trauma stories of others, a basic understanding of the possible effects of “caring for others” and discusses ways to monitor oneself and engage in positive self-care.

 

Part I of this course provides an overview of cognitive-behavioral interventions for PTSD. It describes some basic aspects of CBT, outlines cognitive-behavioral theories of PTSD, discusses key trauma-focused CBT interventions, and provides some tips for using CBT to encourage behavior change. Additional resources related to the topic are identified. Part II has two principal objectives. First it will review the psychobiology of the human response to stress in order to establish the pathophysiological rationale for utilizing different classes of medications as potential treatments for PTSD. Second it will review the current literature on evidence-based pharmacotherapy for PTSD. New medications currently being tested will also be discussed. The speakers’ original lectures included in this course are transcribed verbatim with minor editorial modifications.

 

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Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. Our purpose is to provide high quality online continuing education (CE) courses on topics relevant to members of the healthcare professions we serve. We strive to keep our carbon footprint small by being completely paperless, allowing telecommuting, recycling, using energy-efficient lights and powering off electronics when not in use. We provide online CE courses to allow our colleagues to earn credits from the comfort of their own home or office so we can all be as green as possible (no paper, no shipping or handling, no travel expenses, etc.). Sustainability isn’t part of our work – it’s a guiding influence for all of our work.

Approved CE Provider

We are approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

 

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Invisible Victims: Children and Domestic Violence

23 Nov

By Adam Cook @ Addictionhub.org

Invisible Victims: Children and Domestic ViolenceDomestic violence is more prevalent than you may realize. 95% of the cases involve female victims of male partners, but the female often isn’t the only victim. An estimated 3.2 million children living in America witness incidents of domestic violence annually. Witnessing has an array of meanings. It includes seeing the actual event of physical or sexual abuse occur, hearing threats or other violent noises from another room, observing the aftermath from the abuse like blood, bruises, tears, or broken items, and being aware of the tension in the household like the fear when the abuser is present. The child is like an extension of their abused parent− when the mother gets abused, it’s like the child gets abused. Here are some of the long-term effects of domestic violence on children.

Physical Health Problems

Unfortunately, children aren’t always just witnessing these attacks− sometimes they are on the receiving end of it as well. Other physical symptoms of growing up in a violent home include stomachaches, headaches, bedwetting, and inability to concentrate. Experts believe that children who grow up in abusive homes think that violence is an effectual way to resolve conflicts and solve problems. This may result in the child replicating the violence and intimidation that they witnessed when they were younger in their teen and adult relationships, and can lead to the cycle of violence with their children.

PTSD

Exposure to domestic violence as a child can lead to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Children’s interpersonal violence exposure wasn’t always recognized as a potential antecedent to PTSD, but now it is acknowledged that extraordinarily stressful events can occur as part of children’s habitual experiences. Recent definitions of trauma stressors now include moments within ordinary circumstances that are capable of causing death, injury, or threaten the well-being of a loved one or the child itself. Signs of PTSD include:

  • Reliving the event: Memories of the event can resurface at any given moment, evoking the same feelings of fear and horror that occurred during the actual event. Nightmares, flashbacks, and triggers like seeing, hearing, or smelling something that causes the child to relive the traumatic event are forms of these re-experiencing symptoms.
  • Avoiding situations that remind the child of the event: The child may try to avoid situations or people that trigger those memories of a past event of domestic violence. They may keep busy or avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event.
  • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings: The self-image the child possessed may change, as well as the way they view others. There are many aspects to this symptom, including a belief that the world is completely dangerous and no one can be trusted, or a lack of loving or positive feelings in relationships.
  • Hyperarousal: The child may be jittery, irritable, angry, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. Trouble sleeping and concentrating may occur, or they may be startled by loud noises or surprises.


If you relocate as a result of a domestic violence situation, be aware that even moving to a new place can have emotional effects on children. If they’re removed from a familiar school or friends, they may face depression and other challenges. This should be addressed in any kind of therapy.

Substance Abuse

Often a matter of coping with the domestic violence and the consequences it brings, children who experience violent and traumatic events use drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and block out the memories. Substance abuse is most likely a learned behavior. Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading risk factors for partner violence, and the risk of violence increases when both partners abuse drugs or alcohol.

Therapy and Treatment Options

There are numerous organizations that offer several avenues for child victims of domestic violence to address their issues and attempt to heal. Group and individual therapy, as well as dyadic treatments with their non-offending parent are essential components of intervention. The National Domestic Violence Hotline for victims is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Their website, www.thehotline.org, provides information about local programs or resources available.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Domestic Violence: Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course intended to help healthcare professionals maintain a high state of vigilance and to be well prepared with immediate and appropriate responses when abuse is disclosed.

How Children Become Violent is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that was written for professionals working in the mental health, child welfare, juvenile justice/criminal justice, and research fields, as well as students studying these fields. The authors’ goal is to make a case for the fact that juvenile and adult violence begins very early in life, and it is both preventable and treatable.

Improving Cultural Competence in Substance Abuse Treatment is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that proposes strategies to engage clients of diverse racial and ethnic groups in treatment.

PTSD Vicarious Traumatization: Towards Recognition & Resilience-Building is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that outlines some of the basic differences between primary traumatization, secondary traumatization, VT, and compassion fatigue; discusses many of the signs and symptoms of VT; provides questions for self-assessment of VT; and provides coping suggestions for providers who are involved in trauma work or those who may have VT reactions.

Professional Development ResourcesProfessional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. Our purpose is to provide high quality online continuing education (CE) courses on topics relevant to members of the healthcare professions we serve. We strive to keep our carbon footprint small by being completely paperless, allowing telecommuting, recycling, using energy-efficient lights and powering off electronics when not in use. We provide online CE courses to allow our colleagues to earn credits from the comfort of their own home or office so we can all be as green as possible (no paper, no shipping or handling, no travel expenses, etc.). Sustainability isn’t part of our work – it’s a guiding influence for all of our work.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

We are approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

 

Leap Day CE Sale Ends Tonight – Hurry to Save Big

29 Feb

From PDR Promotions

29% Off ALL Courses & a FREE Course for Leaplings!

Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to enjoy 29% off ALL CE courses:

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Use promotion code LEAPDAY16 at checkout to apply. Valid on future orders only (cannot be applied retroactively). Leap Day Sale ends @ midnight tonight.

Congrats and Happy Birthday to Ivette, Lauren and Laura (our Leaplings who claimed their free birthday course :)

Were You Born on February 29th?

If so, you’re in luck! Email a photo of your ID with birthdate and we’ll give you a FREE online CE course! Send photo to ceinfo@pdresources.org along with the title of the course you’d like. (Select ANY course @ www.pdresources.org.)

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Have a special Leap Day, and Happy Birthday Leaplings!

Your friends @ PDR,

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Professional Development Resources, Inc. is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) that offers 150+ online, video and book-based continuing education courses for healthcare professionals. We are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

How to Turn Down the Volume on Your Fears

08 Dec

by Kelley Garry Marschall, MA

How to Turn the Volume Down on FearFear isn’t always right. It just feels like it’s right. Fear is like the loud talker at a meeting everyone just agrees with because he’s loud, intimidating, and seems like he knows what he’s talking about. He seems like he knows what he’s talking about because, well, he’s loud and intimidating.

That’s a lot like how persistent fear gets our attention.

The fear feeling seems to pop up from the slippery, reptilian part of the brain and shout “WATCH OUT!” to the rest of the body. Then, if the fear isn’t imminent, the front, more advanced part of the brain seems to try to make sense of this feeling using some sort of story line with images, sounds, and a scary narrator. That’s when the feature film starts to roll in the brain—the one where we star as the victim of some campy, horrific tale.

To move beyond fear, sometimes you have to question it. Doing so can help you more calmly and rationally decide how to respond to the frightening stories your brain tells you.

When working with anxiety, worry, and obsessive compulsion (OCD) , the narrator seems to be especially creative and the fear feeling especially formidable. Exposure response prevention (ERP) therapy helps people with obsessive thought patterns, social anxiety, and other fear-driven issues by providing the tools to question the internal narrative. It does this—after a lot of education and therapeutic relationship building—by purposefully, systematically exposing a person to feared situations or thoughts (exposure) without use of their physical or mental rituals (response prevention). There is no actual danger present during this process, and repeating the exposures over time causes anxiety to drop (habituation).

Part of what ERP does is help turn down the volume of the narrator fueling the fear. It’s all easier said than done, but here are three supplemental concepts that may help.

1. Give Up the Quest for Certainty

To move beyond fear, sometimes you have to question it. Doing so can help you more calmly and rationally decide how to respond to the frightening stories your brain tells you.

If they’re honest, most people will admit to being a little controlling here and there—trying to make sure everything is just so, so NOTHING goes wrong. One of the overarching concepts we deal with in ERP is a quest for the absolute. We help people who want to know with 100% certainty the sun will come up tomorrow; that the red spot on the floor isn’t Ebola-contaminated blood; and if they step on a crack, no one they love will be hurt. As one person put it, “I’m 99% sure nothing bad will happen, but it’s the 1% that really gets you!”

It helps to remember you have a pretty good chance of handling whatever comes your way with your own innate qualities, and that you can enlist a therapist, friends, or family for help if needed.

2. Accept That It’s All a Giant Mess

The world really is an uncertain place. We can’t know the future, but we can try our best to prepare, accept that it’s the best we can do, and move on. We can accept that the human brain is programmed to look for, and pay attention to, problematic or scary situations.

We can practice noticing our attention to worrisome thoughts (the brain is just doing its job) but not fully engage in the story line. Instead, try to take a “Yes, dear,” half-listening approach and shift your attention to what you actually want to think about.

3. Avoid Avoidance

Fear grows and metastasizes when you avoid dealing with it. A gnawing feeling of fear can compel you to live small and avoid opportunities to experience new things or expand your social circle.

Trust what you know—what you have evidence for—over what you don’t know. Challenge your fears when possible and remember that although they’re there to serve you biologically, they rarely do in practice.

Article Source: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/3-keys-to-turning-down-the-volume-on-your-fears-1208154

 

Popular Continuing Education Courses

Nearly every client who walks through a health professional’s door is experiencing some form of anxiety. Even if they are not seeking treatment for a specific anxiety disorder, they are likely experiencing anxiety as a side effect of other clinical issues. For this reason, a solid knowledge of anxiety management skills should be a basic component of every therapist’s repertoire. Clinicians who can teach practical anxiety management techniques have tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses. Anxiety management benefits the clinician as well, helping to maintain energy, focus, and inner peace both during and between sessions. The purpose of this course is to offer a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools.

 

In spite of the fact that nearly half of the states in this country have enacted legislation legalizing marijuana in some fashion, the reality is that neither the intended “medical” benefits of marijuana nor its known (and as yet unknown) adverse effects have been adequately examined using controlled studies. Conclusive literature remains sparse, and opinion remains divided and contentious. This course is intended to present a summary of the current literature on the various medical, legal, educational, occupational, and ethical aspects of marijuana. It will address the major questions about marijuana that are as yet unanswered by scientific evidence. What are the known medical uses for marijuana? What is the legal status of marijuana in state and federal legislation? What are the interactions with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and suicidal behavior? Is marijuana addictive? Is marijuana a gateway drug? What are the adverse consequences of marijuana use? Do state medical marijuana laws increase the use of marijuana and other drugs? The course will conclude with a list of implications for healthcare and mental health practitioners.

 

This is the first course in a three part series and includes the story of Deirdre Rand’s journey with her animal companions and the lessons learned from the challenges and rewards of those relationships. Also discussed are temperament, socialization and training; the role of the neurohormone oxytocin in strengthening the human-companion animal bond; the founding of the three major organizations which register volunteer handler/therapy teams, along with the contributions of key historic figures in developing animal-assisted therapy as we know it today; examples of animal-assisted interventions with dogs, cats and other animals; and attributes of a great therapy animal and a great handler.

 

In this course, the author offers in-depth and in-person strategies for therapists to use in working with clients who present with the characteristic behavior patterns of codependency. Clients are usually unaware of the underlying codependency that is often responsible for the symptoms they’re suffering. Starting with emphasis on the delicate process of building a caring therapeutic relationship with these clients, the author guides readers through the early shame-inducing parenting styles that inhibit the development of healthy self-esteem. Through personal stories and case studies, the author goes on to describe healing interventions that can help clients identify dysfunctional patterns in relationships, start leading balanced lives and connecting with others on a new and meaningful level. Evaluative questionnaires, journaling assignments and other exercises are included to help you help your clients to overcome codependency. The rewards of successfully treating codependency are great for client and clinician alike. Even though the propensity for relapse always exists, it’s unlikely that a person who has made significant progress towards overcoming this disease will lose the gains they’ve made.

 

Self-defeating behaviors are negative on-going patterns of behaviors involving issues such as smoking, weight, inactive lifestyle, depression, anger, perfectionism, etc. This course is designed to teach concepts to eliminate these negative patterns. The course is educational: first you learn the model, then you apply it to a specific self-defeating behavior. A positive behavioral change is the outcome. Following the course, participants will be able to identify, analyze and replace their self-defeating behavior(s) with positive behavior(s). The course also provides an excellent psychological “tool” for clinicians to use with their clients. The author grants limited permission to photocopy forms and exercises included in this course for clinical use.

 

This online course is offered by Professional Development Resources, a non-profit provider of continuing education (CE/CEU) resources for healthcare professionals. Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Veteran’s Day Weekend Sale

09 Nov

During the weekend leading up to Veterans Day, Professional Development Resources is featuring ten of its continuing education courses that train professionals to treat mental health problems that are seen in many members of the military and their families. The following courses are 20% off through Monday, November 12, 2012:

Veterans DayOne of the most serious conditions among those exposed to combat is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal, in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.

People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs summarizes the probabilities of certain groups having PTSD at some point in their lives:

  • About 7-8% of the general population
  • About 11-20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom)
  • About 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) Veterans
  • About 30% of Vietnam Veterans

“The numbers are staggering,” says Leo Christie, PhD, CEO of Professional Development Resources. “A recent White House Executive Order dated August 12, 2012 states: “Since September 11, 2001, more than two million service members have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Long deployments and intense combat conditions require optimal support for the emotional and mental health needs of our service members and their families. The need for mental health services will only increase in the coming years as the Nation deals with the effects of more than a decade of conflict.”

The stresses that are part of active deployment – particularly in combat areas – do not cease when service members finish their tour of duty and return to civilian life. The statistics noted above are remarkable when one considers that it is not only the individual service member who is affected by the symptoms, but also his or her family members. This means that specialty mental health services may be required for marital issues as well as child behavior problems and other family stressors.

Christie adds “with increasing numbers of returning service personnel and their families presenting in acute distress, it is unlikely that any mental health professional will NOT encounter them in his or her clinical office. Our goal is to offer them the specialized information they need in order to deliver effective treatment.”

“We are very pleased to have these courses and to offer them for accredited continuing education units,” says Christie. “I hope this special offer will make them available to every professional who works with veterans and their families.”

 

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