New treatment for troops in Nevada City
November 6, 2012
"In war there are no un-wounded soldiers." — Jose Narosky
Joe was a 30-year-old veteran of the Gulf War. During his time in combat, he witnessed and experienced terrifying incidents. On returning to the U.S., he was diagnosed with PTSD and underwent five years of individual and group psychotherapy with no abatement of symptoms.
"I started to feel different about a year after I left the army," he said. "I was really short-tempered, jumpy. I wasn't sleeping, and I started drinking a hell of a lot. I felt numb. I was getting flashbacks and having nightmares … I knew I needed help as I would get lost in a flashback whilst driving at night. None of the therapy I tried really helped."
Seven years later, Joe was referred to a trained practitioner of the Rewind Technique. He was still suffering flashbacks, nightmares and high anxiety while driving. Joe also reported a fear of crowds and enclosed spaces, such as restaurants. He was suffering uncontrollable episodes of anger and was drinking in excess.
In 2011 the number of PTSD diagnosed cases rose by 50 percent. Reports indicate that up to 40 percent of sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.
"When stress brought on flashbacks, I dealt with them by drinking them away," he said.
Driving triggered off intense flashbacks. He would startle at any unexpected noise. "I knew it was just a car back-firing, but I threw myself on the floor before I knew what I was doing," he said.
His wife said that Joe's behavior frightened her. They were sleeping separately because Joe was experiencing violent nightmares. After the first Rewind Technique session, Joe went to a crowded restaurant where he chatted happily with his wife and enjoyed a good meal. He drove home in the dark without anxiety and slept like a baby. All symptoms entirely disappeared on the third day.
During a one-month and three-month follow-up, Joe reported being able to drive without fear and was anxiety-free in crowded places. He had stopped drinking and there were no more flashbacks or nightmares. He and his wife were sleeping together and expecting their first baby.
Joe's wife reported that her husband was relaxed at home and no longer demonstrated the high anxiety and anger that he had before treatment.
She said, "I feel like I have my husband back again"
Two years later, Joe's symptom scores were still zero.
The prevalence of PTSD among returning veterans of the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan has been estimated at nearly 1 in 5.
In 2011, the number of PTSD diagnosed cases rose by 50 percent. Reports indicate that up to 40 percent of sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated. Eighteen veterans/soldiers commit suicide every day. The remainder seek therapy, which teaches symptom-management skills, but relief is, at best, temporary or only partial.
These returning servicemen present a serious problem for treatment professionals on two fronts.
First, they represent a significant influx of seriously affected patients.
Secondly, approved treatments provide varying levels of effectiveness and subsequent relapse.
A third problem is that conventional treatments, which have enjoyed a favorable position in professional literature, often require long-term commitment in spite of their inconsistent results.
The Rewind Technique seems to be the one therapy that provides a reliable and short-term mechanism for consistent treatment of PTSD that results in total recovery.
The intervention does not re-traumatize the patient and can be completed in as little as 45 minutes. Although virtually unknown in the U.S., it is now a recognized treatment approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) for PTSD in the U.K.
Relief from symptoms is immediately noticeable following treatment, and total recovery without relapse is established within days.
The technique is simple to apply and takes place in a relaxed state, which most people find very pleasurable, during which the traumatic memories are reviewed in a calm, detached way. This permits the brain to re-evaluate the traumatic experience as non-threatening and store it away as an old memory, which no longer evokes an involuntary terror response.
There do not seem to be many therapists practicing the Rewind Technique in the U.S., although there is a fully approved practitioner of the Rewind Technique practicing privately in Nevada City.
It is to be hoped that such a consistently rapid and effective treatment will find its rightful place in American psychotherapy and pave the way for soldiers returning from war to receive the help they truly deserve.
For further information about the Rewind Technique and PTSD, please contact Nirupa Mayi by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzan Wilks lives in Nevada City.
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