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Last Page Update 10/8/2018

Providing the Stress Management Support Your Deserve

Everyone has to deal with difficult people, whether they are argumentative, abusive, stubborn, or combative. The question is: how can you assert your rights without creating an unnecessary incident?

In most cases, angry people are screaming to be heard. They want to be valued, loved, and listened to. They want to feel important, but aren't able to express themselves constructively. With the right attitude, it's possible to get past these insecurities and reach an understanding. In this segment, we offer a range of approaches and tools to better assist you in managing your daily stress. Thank you for visiting this stress management segment.

The Invisible Wound: Are we a Nation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

By; Dr. Ashraf Girgis N.D.

I wrote this article few years ago. Unfortunately, things have not changed for the better since; if anything, the current political climate has made it much worse. So I decided to update and publish it again. It seems that incidents of gun violence keep repeating themselves; the only thing that changes is the names of the cities and of the people involved.

PTSD

I remember reading that, in one weekend, 50 people were killed in one of Chicago’s poor and predominately black neighborhoods, yet no one got arrested. In a few short weeks in Washington D.C., several teenage girls with highly similar features, identities, and sizes disappeared. According to the Seattle Times, violent crimes increased nationally by 4.1% (in 2016?); homicides increased by 8.6%. A total of 17,250 people were killed in 2016.

 

Stress

Another statistic published by securitydata.com shows an increase in violence and mass shootings since 2001. In 2002, there was one mass shooting that killed 2 people. In 2015 there were 4 mass shootings that killed a total of 32 individuals. Let’s not forget all the other forms of violence in the United States that aren’t mass shootings (suicides, other shootings, etc.). U.S. youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of any other leading industrialized nation. U.S. national violence containment costs are over $1.7 trillion per year: that is $7,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. Studies have shown that violence by firearm use is 25 times higher in the United States in comparison to similar developed countries. All this information begs the question: what is going on? Can we change this violence that is costing us money, destroying our society, and tearing our families apart?

After 9/11, the lives of every American – and every victim of the resulting American War on Terror – changed forever. Not a day goes by that we are not reminded of terrorism; it has become the constant subject of our TV screens and a word thrown around in the media on a daily basis.

 

All of this adds to the anxiety of the population; it simultaneously drains our resources. We become hypervigilant individuals who are reminded every day of imminent threats to our safety. This causes us to live increasingly isolated lives, which can add to the cycle of anxiety and stress. But is there a way we can reverse this trend?

Let’s first look at what post-traumatic stress disorder is.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a stress and anxiety disorder caused by exposure to an overwhelmingly stressful and traumatic event such as war, rape, abuse, or violence. Individuals who repeatedly experience abuse, suffer neglect, or endure violence can have a PTSD complex. 1 in every 3 Americans suffers from PTSD.

According to the Center for PTSD, 60% of men and 50% of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. About 11-20% of veterans face PTSD; the PTSD rate among Vietnam veterans was 30%. Although many people recuperate and return to normal life within a few months of a traumatic event, others continue to re-experience the trauma. The issue can become chronic.

Worry

Symptoms of PTSD can vary person to person, but generally, someone suffering from PTSD will experience persistent and increasing symptoms of arousal. Easily being startled, feeling frightened, difficulty sleeping, irritability, anger, overwhelming feeling of shame and guilt, difficulty focusing or remembering, mood changes, hypervigilance: these are just a few of the symptoms of PTSD. Often, symptoms can begin interfering with work by causing a person to avoid people and work responsibilities, or to display hostility and anger. Work can suffer as result of being absent. Usually, this is the point at which most individuals seek help, or at least at which symptoms are noticed by coworkers or family members.

 

For individuals who have PTSD, it is very important to seek help from specialized professionals. But what can we do as individuals to help heal our society from this continuous state of anxiety which is causing us such great harm? Here, I would like to highlight few steps, which can apply not only to PTSD patients, but also the entire nation.

Suicide

What can we as individuals do to help?

1. Voting & Electing the Right Individuals.

Schools need to be equipped not with guns, but with mental health professionals. Counselors and therapists can identify and help individuals in need at the earliest stages of distress; or, students can have a chance to seek help from these trained individuals before committing suicide or an act of violence against others.

The same care must be accessible to everyone in society who needs to manage their stress or resolve psychological conflicts. This is only possible when there is healthcare reform which covers psychological evaluations and treatments.

Gun violence is a public health hazard. David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard University's School of Public Health and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center, stated: "Differences in overall suicide rates across cities, states and regions in the United States are best explained not by differences in mental health, suicide ideation, or even suicide attempts, but by availability of firearms. … Many suicides are impulsive, and the urge to die fades away. Firearms are a swift and lethal method of suicide with a high case-fatality rate."

 

While reduced access to guns would lower the suicide rate in the United States, one must conclude that both mental health issues and gun availability must be addressed to prevent violence.

Steps needs to be taken by professionals in reducing the anxiety and stress felt by majority of people. This helping hand can be provided by electing officials that are actively addressing these issues. This includes electing individuals who can provide affordable health care. While demanding reasonable gun laws is a must for citizens, we should also elect anti-war individuals who will not only stop the billions of dollars lost in military costs, but bring troops home and thereby lower PTSD numbers.

Governments can play a crucial role in providing accessible mental help for all citizens in need, without individuals being stigmatized, singled out, or in danger of losing their jobs. It is important that we demand affordable access to mental care from our government. While we need to focus on gun control, we also need a greater emphasis placed on affordable mental health care. After all, there are countries that allow their citizens to carry guns, yet have virtually zero gun related violence.

Support

2. Curbing loneliness:

I have written several articles about loneliness and its impact on our society as a whole. One can feel less isolated or lonely when there is closer neighborhood bonding, religious places to bond with likeminded people, classes to join, or charities to help places and people in need. Having less time to feel lonely, one also has less time to think about past traumas which create more stress and anxiety. Join an art, music, or dance class; by finding a setting to express yourself, you will be be able to reduce your stress and anxiety. The support of family members, friends, and community is also extremely important. Make sure to seek emotional support groups.

 

Stress Relief

3. Preventive steps:

If you are suffering from PTSD or just trying to deal better with stress and anxiety, consider joining centers for meditation or practicing mindfulness. Simple steps such as guided imagery, cognitive restructuring, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxations, and group therapy can be provided by speaking to a stress management professional. You can also seek tapes and CDs about these therapists from your local libraries.

Many exercise centers offer various classes from stretching to tai chi to yoga to martial arts. All of these activities are very beneficial to lower your anxiety and stress level, so that you can go on living to some degree a normal life despite having PTSD.

It is also beneficial for these types of stress management tools to be offered at schools, universities, and work settings. I tried – unfortunately without success – to start a stress management program in a community hospital in early 2007 for hospital staff. Sadly, I was unable to make the institution understand the necessity of such a program and proceed with it. It seemed that they would rather pay for sick leaves or conflict resolutions than to have preventative stress management for staff. These activities should also be paid for by the government or by the institutions themselves. It will cost much less to prevent violence than to repair its effects. Preventing violence would improve the moral, mental, and psychological well-being of our society.

 

4. Food and drinks matter

It was very interesting and also very sad to watch the recent Congressional debate about Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee. I couldn’t help but notice that on one side, Dr. Ford was holding her Coca Cola like her life depended on it, while on the other, Judge Kavanaugh was talking about drinking beer like it was holy water. In reality, what we eat and drink affects our state of mind enormously. In my book The Holistic Approach to Stress, I have placed great emphasis on what we eat.

Healthy Foods

Drinks with caffeine can increase the sympathomimetic effects of stress, increasing heart rate and breathing to a degree similar to fight-or-flight situations. Alcohol, on the other hand, can not only affect the body’s absorption of vitamin and minerals that are extremely important for repairs of neurons and other body parts, but it can also greatly impede peaceful sleep – despite its slightly sedative effect on us. This is incredibly important for our overall state of mind and sense of relaxation. The same is true of the food and nutrients we place in our mouths; feel free to order my book if you are interested to learn about food and stress. But meanwhile, stay away from caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and smoking if you are undergoing lots of stress in your life. Drink lots of clean water and eat healthy, fresh food. Consume lots of vegetable and a few fruits each day.

Thanks for visiting www.curenaturally.org. If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, feel free to call our office and buy Dr. Girgis’s book The Holistic Approach to Stress. My books and CDs are available as wholesale for nonprofit organizations concerning cancer, heart, and autoimmune diseases. Call and leave a message for available discounts.

 

References:


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