Weighted Blanket for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental illness and a psychological injury. A person who has gone through extreme psychological trauma can experience PTSD.
Anyone can suffer from PTSD, however there are more women who suffer from PTSD compared to men. Around 10% of women develop PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives with most cases happening due to abuse and violence.
In the United States, a study was done in 2008 which estimated that around 300,000 US soldiers would return from Afghanistan and Iraq suffering from PTSD. Individuals suffering from PTSD might find it difficult to cope and adjust, however treatments, medication, and good-self care can help someone suffering from PTSD be able to deal with their symptoms effectively.
What are the causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
In a year, around 5.2 million adults suffer from PTSD and around 7-8% of people in the US are diagnosed with the disorder. Some of the traumatic events that cause PTSD that may happen include but are not limited to the following:
- Natural Disasters
- Sexual Assault
- Physical Assault
- Witnessing Death or Injury
- Child Sexual Abuse
Anyone can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, however there are certain risk factors that make a person more likely to develop PTSD and its symptoms after a traumatic event:
- Experiencing long-term and intense trauma
- Having family or relatives with mental health problems
- Lacking support at home or from family and friends
- Having other mental health issues like anxiety or depression
- Experiencing childhood trauma/abuse
What are some complications that may occur with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
When Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t treated, a person’s life - jobs, relationships, health, and daily activities - can be affected. A lot of PTSD sufferers develop other mental illnesses and problems such as depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and actions.
What are the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can vary from person to person. Some symptoms may start as early as within the month of a traumatic event, other times symptoms can even appear only years after the event. These are some of the symptoms that can happen when a person suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
- Memory loss
- Feelings of guilt and anger
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
- Feeling detached
- Negative thoughts about self and people
How is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosed?
Initially, a doctor would perform a physical exam and laboratory tests done just to check for any pre-existing medical condition that might be caused the symptoms. A psychological evaluation is done to check the signs and traumatic events that may have led to developing the disorder. Doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association as criteria to determine whether a patient has PTSD.
How is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treated?
A lot of people who have PTSD go years without treatment. If a loved one or someone close is experiencing symptoms, it’s best to let them seek help right away. PTSD is easier to treat on the onset of it happening.
There are a lot of methods to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and several ways of treatment can be done simultaneously to improve a person’s quality of life. Here are some of the ways that PTSD can be treated:
- Medication. There is no specific medication to target PTSD. However, doctors recommend taking medications to address the individual symptoms that come with PTSD such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and prazosin (which helps suppress nightmares).
- Psychotherapy. Talk therapy and counseling can be helpful for an individual suffering with PTSD to tap into their emotions and express their feelings. The most effective form of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy which involves addressing negative feelings to alter unwanted behavior.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy. This kind of therapy is very helpful for those experiencing flashbacks and nightmares. Exposing a person with PTSD to the memory or the object that triggers their fright helps them learn to cope with their trauma.
- Self-help. For someone with PTSD, overcoming the sense of powerlessness and helplessness is one step to becoming better. Even something as simple as saying encouraging words everyday can develop mental strength and coping skills to help get through tough times.
- Exercise. Physical activity can help with releasing endorphins and improving mood and outlook. Walking, running, swimming, and dancing are some of the activities to help a person dealing with PTSD to focus on their body. It’s also recommended that they pick activities that they enjoy so they have something to look forward to.
How does a weighted blanket help PTSD sufferers?
For PTSD sufferers getting a good night’s rest might become a challenge. Restlessness, anxiety, depression, and nightmares can be a cause of their insomnia. Using a weighted blanket can help people with PTSD address their sleeping problems.
A weighted blanket is designed to induce calmness and relaxation through Deep Pressure Therapy, which promotes the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. Since there is enough melatonin production in the body, individuals with PTSD will be able to get a deeper and more peaceful sleep.
Glass microbeads coated in polyester gives the blanket its added weight. This reduces movement which makes it easier for a person with PTSD to fall asleep. The soft and luxurious fabric mimics a warm embrace thus tricking the mind to feel secure and safe.
It’s a cost-effective and non-intrusive form of therapy to help any PTSD sufferer overcome their struggle.