Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that affects as many as ten percent of the population. Many of us associate PTSD with victims of abuse and military veterans exposed to harsh environments of combat, but the reality is that this disorder can affect anyone of any age, and that there are no criteria for how severe an event must be in order to lead to the development of PTSD.
It’s important that anyone who struggles with this disorder knows that help is available. Today, there are several different options for PTSD sufferers, and many have the serious potential to be effective. We also know that CBD is being used by many people who struggle with anxiety disorders of all kinds.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a chronic anxiety condition that is caused by a specific traumatic event or circumstance. The event or circumstance varies from person to person, and many people mistakenly believe that PTSD can only occur if a person’s life has been legitimately threatened. The reality is that PTSD can result in anyone who has been exposed to some sort of intense stress, especially early on in life. Common culprits behind PTSD include abuse, near-death experiences, a severe childhood illness, poverty, a dysfunctional home life, the loss of a loved one and a natural disaster.
When we experience trauma, especially at an early age, the literal architecture of our brain can change, which can lead to a host of anxiety symptoms seemingly beyond our control. The area of the brain which traumatic events are stored is responsible for triggering the stress response, which includes all of the symptoms that are associated with an anxiety attack, including an increased heart rate, racing thoughts and more. PTSD sufferers typically have triggers that remind them of the traumatic event, and as the event is inevitably played out in their minds, they feel the stress response throughout their body as though they were actually reliving their traumatic experience.
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder will vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
· Panic attacks
· Irrational phobias
· Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
· General feeling of anxiety that persists regardless of circumstances
It’s far from rare for PTSD sufferers to have some sort of psychosomatic response to the stress as well, whether it be chronic migraines, digestive troubles or something else that is often mistaken for ill physical health.
A big part of managing post-traumatic stress disorder is receiving a proper diagnosis from a licensed mental health professional, usually a psychiatrist. They ask you a series of questions and determine whether or not your responses meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Nowadays, those who suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have multiple options when it comes to treatment. Your mental healthcare provider will discuss with you the treatments that are available, and help you decide which one you may best respond to, based on your unique symptoms and priorities. There are medications that can help manage the anxiety that results from PTSD, so that a person may live a more functional life.
Those who wish to abstain from medications may benefit from some form of therapy whether it be:
· CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)
· EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)
· Psychotherapy, or talk therapy
Note: Each person’s responses to individual treatment options will vary. For instance, some people may respond better to medications while others may prefer a form of cognitive behavioral therapy to manage their symptoms.
What Does the Research Suggest for Taking CBD for PTSD?
Cannabidiol is the leading compound in hemp, and it binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and various parts of the body to trigger regulations of important processes carried out by the bodily systems. PTSD causes architectural changes in the brain, changing the way in which we process memories, respond to stress, experience triggers and more. We know that CBD may be able to regulate these functions by supporting their natural mechanisms.
There have been plenty of studies on CBD for anxiety, and in fact, multiple findings relating to CBD specifically for PTSD have been promising.
Study #1: Researchers laid out the variety of effects that CBD may have on overall brain activity in someone with PTSD as a result of the binding process between cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
Study #2: A group of patients with PTSD were administered cannabidiol, with a 91 percent success rate in terms of the reduction of symptoms.
Using CBD for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
So, how can you use CBD specifically for PTSD?
Well, the most important thing is that you have a conversation with your mental healthcare provider, as well as your regular physician. Both of these medical professionals will consider your symptoms, medical history, and current medications to help you come up with a plan.
When it comes to using cannabidiol for this purpose, it’s advised that you take it daily. This allows proper support of the endocannabinoid system which sends CBD to receptors in the brain. The delivery method and milligram strength are up to you, and should be determined based on your specific needs, goals and severity of your symptoms.
Choose a CBD product that comes from a legitimate company by looking for third-party lab reports which indicate that the CBD has been properly analyzed by an unbiased laboratory facility.
A Potential New Way to Help Manage This Disorder
CBD is a widely available and perfectly legal option for someone who wants to explore a natural approach to managing their PTSD-related anxiety. If you want to give cannabidiol a try, speak to your doctor or clinical physician first, and still continue on with your other treatments as prescribed.