I was once working with a child who was also seeing a psychiatrist. Like many children with whom I work this child had numerous diagnoses: ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. However, when the mother would describe the child's behavior I would instantly think "trauma". I kept saying this to her, but she was swayed by the authority of the doctor and maintained his belief the child was mentally ill. Until her child told her he had been sexually and physically abused.
Trauma nightmares can not only rob you of sleep but make you dread going to bed at night. They can become a force that destroys you mentally and emotionally. It's important to learn techniques for handling them so they don't handle you.
I'm reading the August 2009 edition (yes I am a little bit behind in my reading) of Yoga Journal and I am reminded once again of all the benefits yoga has to offer in one's struggle for peace of mind and mental health.
One of the most distressing symptoms of trauma can be the nightmares it evokes. They attack when you are peacefully asleep and off guard. Not being able to get a good night's rest can seriously compromise your mental health and make other trauma symptoms worse. If they persist you may even develop a fear of going to sleep.
When considering the most important elements for mental health, a really basic one is often overlooked. It's not stress reduction, a healthy diet, exercise, healthy relationships, or taking your medications. What is it?
When battling depression, many people go to their medical doctor and get a prescription for an antidepressant. The recommended treatment for mild to moderate depression is psychotherapy and, if needed, a prescription for an antidepressant. Medication seems to be the first line of defense. Psychotherapy is rarely mentioned. In addition, there are many things clients can do for themselves to reduce depression symptoms, yet this information is rarely presented either. You can try these techniques instead of medication if you are mildly or moderately depressed. You can use them in addition to medication if more severely depressed. What are some of these things you can do for yourself?
Working with a lot of clients who are struggling with trauma and histories of abuse, anxiety and insomnia are constant problems. Many people have been prescribed medications such as Ambien, Sereoquel or one of the other mood stabilizers for sleep. Many of these medications have been found to have serious side effects. I am not a medical doctor, but a therapist, so I do not make medication recommendations. However, there is a natural, over-the-counter (OTC) medication which I often recommend that people look up and consider: melatonin. What is it and why do I recommend it?