Post-Traumatic Stress Specialist Oak Harbor WA

PTSD (post'traumatic stress disorder) has always been associated with combat veterans, but as Laura’s story suggests, they’re not the only victims. In fact, as many as 70 percent of us experience or witness an event that can trigger PTSD—a car crash, a rape, a crime, a natural disaster, abuse. And up to 10 percent of Americans will suffer from it at some point, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Island Mental Health
(360) 675-6456
390 NE Midway Blvd
Oak Harbor, WA
Industry
Mental Health Professional

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Holder Christopher Ma Lmhc
(360) 279-9222
745 SE Maylor St
Oak Harbor, WA
Industry
Mental Health Professional

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Island Mental Health
(360) 321-4868
905 N Main St
Coupeville, WA
Industry
Mental Health Professional

Data Provided by:
Bruce J. Tapper
(360) 379-9492
281 Lane De Chantal
Port Townsend, WA
Services
Psychological Assessment, Family Psychotherapy, Clinical Neuropsychological Assessment
Ages Served
Adults (18-64 yrs.)
Adolescents (13-17 yrs.)
Education Info
Doctoral Program: University of Southern California
Credentialed Since: 1980-11-02

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Holistic Skin Care
(360) 629-2729
9416 271st St NW
Stanwood, WA
Industry
Massage Practitioner, Mental Health Professional

Data Provided by:
Potchatek Margaret G., MA, PsyD
(360) 679-2779
1121 SE DOCK ST
Oak Harbor, WA
Industry
Mental Health Professional, Psychologist

Data Provided by:
Jeffrey Loren Nelson
(360) 678-5555
105 Nw First St.
Coupeville, WA
Specialty
Psychiatry

Data Provided by:
Carabba Claudia Mht Lmp
(360) 588-1908
316 O Ave
Anacortes, WA
Industry
Massage Practitioner, Mental Health Professional

Data Provided by:
Bosworth Judith Ma Lmhc
(360) 293-0446
1020 9th St
Anacortes, WA
Industry
Mental Health Professional, Psychologist

Data Provided by:
Carroll L. Meek
(360) 293-8176
1004 7th
Anacortes, WA
Services
Individual Psychotherapy, Mood Disorder (e.g., depression, manic-depressive disorder), PostTraumatic Stress Disorder or Acute Trauma Reaction, Couples Psychotherapy
Ages Served
Adults (18-64 yrs.)
Older adults (65 yrs. or older)
Adolescents (13-17 yrs.)
Education Info
Doctoral Program: University of Idaho
Credentialed Since: 1977-08-15

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Spotlight on Post-Traumatic Stress

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By Julia Van Tine

In her freshman year in college, Laura Curry was raped at a party. Dazed, she wandered the neighborhood until her friends found her. She told no one, and the rapist was never charged.

A few months later the flashbacks began, once while she was kissing a man on a bed. “When he rolled into a position similar to the rapist’s, I freaked,” says Laura, today 39 and a fitness trainer in Minneapolis. “That’s when I knew I needed help.”

Laura consulted a therapist, but talking about the problem didn’t help, she says, and she soon terminated their sessions. The flashbacks continued, and in her sophomore year, another therapist diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric ailment that can occur after experiencing—or even witnessing—a life-threatening event. In the next six years she graduated, landed a job and climbed the corporate ladder, married, and divorced. She also went through seven therapists.

PTSD has always been associated with combat veterans, but as Laura’s story suggests, they’re not the only victims. In fact, as many as 70 percent of us experience or witness an event that can trigger PTSD—a car crash, a rape, a crime, a natural disaster, abuse. And up to 10 percent of Americans will suffer from it at some point, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Symptoms can include flashbacks, jumpiness, insomnia, nightmares, guilt, and emotional numbness. Women are affected twice as often as men, perhaps because they’re more likely to experience the kinds of trauma, like rape and abuse, that can cause PTSD.

It’s not clear why some people develop the disorder and others don’t, but researchers say the brains of sufferers tend to have higher-than-normal levels of stress hormones. The job of one of these, norepinephrine, is to activate the hippocampus, the part of the brain that governs long-term memory. When the hippocampus gets flooded with too much of this chemical, the result may be searing memories experienced as flashbacks or intrusive thoughts.

There’s no standard treatment for PTSD. Some patients benefit from antidepressants, others from different forms of therapy, such as the cognitive-behavioral approach, which aims to change how we feel and behave by changing how we think.

And recently therapists have begun combining cognitive-behavioral therapy with New Age relaxation techniques—with striking results. One theory is that these treatments work by bypassing the more evolved parts of the brain, which govern thought and speech, and engaging its primitive areas, where images, physical sensations, and feelings are experienced.

“It’s in the sensory and emotional channels of the primitive brain where most of the trauma is processed,” says psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek, a pioneer in the use of guided imagery who wrote Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal, and created programs used to help victims of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombings, and the Columbine tragedy. ...

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