Tuesday 5 December 2017

Again, on the topic of PTSD, why PTSD therapy will never work for parents like us

I've been feeling frustrated that, after all the therapy sessions and treatment models I have received over the past few years for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I still feel the way I do. So I began googling and came across something called Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder (CTSD).

PTSD is all about issues associated with a one-off trauma, for example a car crash or a terrorist attack.

C-PTSD (Complex or Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which I've talked about a lot in this blog) is about issues associated with prolonged trauma, for example childhood or relationship abuse, or - in the case of parents like us - the issues that have come as a result of the years of battling with our child's eating disorder.

CTSD (Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder) or CTS (Continuous Traumatic Stress) refers to issues that have come as a result of a prolonged trauma that is either still happening or which could potentially re-occur at any stage in the near or far off future.

This, to me, made so much sense because I very much doubt if there is any one of us who isn't terrified of our child relapsing back into a serious eating disorder and all the horrors that this could bring with it.

It isn't a case of us being needlessly paranoid. It is a real fear about a real problem that really could happen. Relapse is an all-too common feature of an eating disorder. Sadly I know personally of many families where the eating disorder, or at least elements of the eating disorder, have returned. And there will be many families who are battling with relapse that I don't know of personally.

My C-PTSD therapist, Steve, tried to get me to accept and believe that, now my son appeared to be well, the eating disorder had left our lives never to darken our doorstep again.

But that simply isn't true. Well, it might be true. I hope it's true. But relapse is so very common that many, many parents feel the need to keep their eye on the ball. Their body is in a constant state of, if not 'red' alert, then at least 'orange' alert.

So if the worst should happen and the eating disorder were to return, we would be prepared.

Like in those horror movies where everyone thinks the bad guy has been killed when in reality he's about to crash through the door for a second and potentially more deadly attack.

This is why many people call recovery from an eating disorder 'remission' rather than recovery, as they might with cancer or other illnesses that have the potential to flare up again.

While googling  CTSD (Continuous Traumatic Stress Disorder) and CTS I was interested to note that conventional PTSD treatment models may fail to work for the simple reason that the trauma is still present, albeit dormant.

This makes so much sense because how the heck can we 'process' our anxiety and fear as being 'in the past' when they are very much here in the present?

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