PTSD & Drugs

For years, those who suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses have self-medicated by using elicit drugs like marijuana and CBD oil.  The medical benefits of these drugs in the treatment of PTSD and mental illness has caught the attention of the medical community and great strides have been made to make forms of these drugs available via prescription.  But now help may be available from a new and unexpected source, MDMA the active ingredient in Ecstasy.

A new study shows that while given while undergoing psychotherapy the drug is safe and helps with PTSD.  The group was small, 26 patients, and the FDA says that more studies need to be conducted.  However, this is great news for those who suffer from PTSD.

This study was conducted on service members and first responders that had experienced a traumatic experience.

The search for new ways to treat PTSD and mental illness is an ongoing battle.  It is our job to ensure that our politicians know the importance of such research and that the American people are well aware of the treatment options available to those who suffer.  The stigma associated with mental health also needs to be removed.

Help us spread the awareness one step at a time and make this a national discussion.

#TrekOn

What You Need to Know About PTSD

For those who suffer from PTSD the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wrote a wonderful article about 27 things you need to know about PTSD.  Amongst those are:

  1. No matter how long it’s been since your trauma, treatment can help.
  2. Sexual assault is more likely to result in symptoms of PTSD than are other types of trauma, including combat.
  3. Social support is one of the greatest protective factors against developing PTSD after trauma.
  4. Research suggests that social support is an even more important resilience factor for women than men.
  5. Trouble sleeping is a core feature of PTSD, so it is important to address sleep problems in PTSD treatment.
  6. Getting help for PTSD early can prevent problems from expanding to other parts of your life.
  7. Evidence-based treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy (or “counseling”) and medications.
  8. Many people with PTSD also experience chronic pain or other physical health symptoms.
  9. PTSD often co-occurs with depression or other mental health symptoms.

It is also important to know that those with PTSD cannot help their behavior.  The trauma that sufferers of PTSD have endured has changed them.  This makes it difficult for them to function as “normal” people do.  They do not hate those around them, they actually need you to help them.  PTSD creates a sense of isolation, because of this your presence matters to them.  They are coping with their problems and at times it makes it difficult for them to control their behavior.  Because of this they cannot just “get over it”, they have to work through this and fight their demons.

Knowledge is power, and the more people that know these things the more we can help those who suffer with PTSD.

Awareness starts with one step.  Help spread awareness one step at a time.

#TrekOn

thBWYSRJ2F

Hiking Leads to Better Mental Health

It may seem like snake oil, but a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending 90 minutes on a hike actually reduces ruminations.  This is wonderful news for those suffering from PTSD and Mental Illness.

How does hiking help?  An article from Collective-Evolution brakes it down.  Essentially, spending, “90 minutes in a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and they also had reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain related to mental illness”.  That is an amazing finding.  By going for a short hike, you will reduce the amount of negative and obsessive thoughts.  This in part will help reduce anxiety many with mental illness struggle with.  This article is a great read.

Hiking is also good for children with ADHD.  It appears that by being outdoors, it reduces the symptoms on children with the disorder.  Getting outdoors and taking a hike is a great way to reduce symptoms of mental illness, get fit and get the little ones to be more focused.

The Trek4PTSD is focused on raising awareness for PTSD and Mental Illness one step at a time.  However, it is not by coincidence that we chose hiking as the method to raise awareness.  As previously stated, hiking helps with mental illness and what better way to raise awareness than to practice what we preach.  In addition, the journey of those who suffer from mental illness is very similar to the journey hikers have to go through.  Both must do it by themselves with the support of others, both will be faced with difficult sections and harsh conditions, and both will want to quit.  Hiking and mental illness are both a kin to each other in many ways and this is why the Trek4PTSD exists.

Take the first step to raise awareness.  Become a Trekker for the Trek4PTSD and help raise awareness one step, one mile, one trail, one person(you) at a time.

#TrekOn

You Are Never Alone! Suicide is NOT an Option!

More often than not when it comes to mental illness, suicide always seems like the most viable option to stop the pain.  Suicide is a long term solution to a short term problem.

As I type this there is a thread on a veteran Facebook page where the author wrote, “Goodbye brothers and sisters I can’t do it anymore”.  In less than 50 minutes there have been over 400 replies, many telephone numbers shared, dozens of veteran calls to local law enforcement and hundreds of positive comments telling the veteran to hang in there and not to do it.

This is not the first of these types of posts I have come across, and every time it is the same response.  Veterans drop whatever it is they are doing and try everything in their power to prevent the loss of yet another brother or sister.  This is because we never leave a brother or sister behind.

It is important that we understand that there is help out there.  If you suffer from Mental Illness, keep on trekking.  No matter how difficult the journey may be know that there are many people willing to help and support you.  There are those who are on the same path as you and as long as you let them, they will help you get through it.

If you need help, ask we will respond.

!!!DO NOT GIVE UP!!!

Updates will be posted below.

UPDATE:

20 April 2018 @ 1314 PST: Law Enforcement was able to get to the individual and he is safe and sound.  Hundreds of veterans mobilized to save his life and fortunately he is still with us.  He now knows he is not alone and that hundreds of people he does not know are with him and care about him.

PTSD Hotline: 800-273-8255

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255

#TrekOn #NeverGiveUp #PTSDAwreness

An Emotional Awakening; My Confession

A few weeks ago as I, Trek4PTSD founder Raul, was driving through Warner Springs, California (PCT miles 109.5 and 111.4) began to get very emotional.  But I kept driving and watching for hikers.  I saw a young hiker leaving the Community Center and offered a ride.  Not paying attention to my exact location and never having known where the Community Center was at, I offered him a ride to the trailhead.  A few seconds into the ride we saw another hiker and he mentioned that he might be on the trail.  That is not possible, I thought to myself, after all the only time the trail is visible from the road is immediately after the trailhead.  After a quick assessment of our location I realized that indeed we had just passed the trailhead and I really did not need to give him a ride.  But he appreciated it and so did I.  The young Army veteran thanked me for the ride and was on his way.

After I dropped the young veteran off, I texted my wife.  I told her I was about to cry.  In response, she called me immediately.  “What is wrong?” were her first words to me and I could not hold back the tears.  My response was one of uncertainty since I did not know what was wrong.  All I knew was that it had to do with the PCT and the fact that I just drove by Warner Springs.  She responded by telling me that “it[the PCT/trail] is part of you and you need to get back out there.”  The sentiment was heard, but finding the time is difficult with so much to do before I retire from the Marine Corps at the end of the year.  Our conversation was short and I soon got over the tears, but not the emotion.

This event was a trigger, and some parts of my PTSD, anxiety and depression started to come back.  Over the next couple of weeks I watched “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods”, again.  I started watching hiking videos on YouTube again.  I spent more time on the PCT pages on Facebook.  And I teared up along the way.

My love of hiking had not diminished.  However, I understood that due to obligations, family issues, work and my impending retirement that the trail had to work.  For almost two years I had suppressed my need to just walk in the wilderness.  On that day in Warner Springs all of the bottled up yearnings to hike exploded.  I needed to get back out, it was just a matter of  finding the time.

A week later I looked at the fire closures and found that the section between Hwy 74(Paradise Café) and Idyllwild was passable to some degree with a detour.  The detour was no problem, I would still hike the section.  Now to find the time.  With Memorial Day a little over a month away, it seemed like the perfect time.  And so it was decided.

This was my emotional awakening, and with it a new found sense of purpose.  The Trek4PTSD would continue stronger than when it first began.  More efforts to raise awareness, more content to bring to the masses, different ways to get the information out there.  Awareness starts with one step and that was my first step on this new phase of the Trek4PTSD.

Mental Illness is something we all need to talk about, specially in this day and age.  It is my goal to do so even if I have to stay up at night and work 3 jobs to do it.

Help me raise awareness, help me help those who battle their demons in silence, help me show the world what PTSD and Mental Illness is.

Thank you and Semper Fi,

Raul

“The woods are calling and I must go” -John Muir

#Trek4PTSD #PTSDAwareness #PTSD #MentalIllness #PCT