Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event for the person such as war, a hurricane, sexual assault, physical abuse, or a bad accident. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, fear and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. It affects your life and the people around you.
Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every 10 (or 60%) of men and 5 of every 10 (or 50%) of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. Going through a trauma does not mean you’ll get PTSD, though. Even though over half of us go through some type of trauma, a smaller percent actually develops PTSD. PTSD can be manifested at different times for different people, and with different severity of symptoms. Signs of PTSD can start soon after a frightening event and then continue and last for many years, or many people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD is not reserved for the elderly, and can happen to anyone, even children.
Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reducing symptoms and improve the quality of everyday life in people living with this condition. The treatment typically includes counseling, talk therapy, medicines, or both. Currently, the only approved pharmacological therapy for PTSD is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, which are antidepressants that appear to be helpful and effective in reducing the symptoms for some people. For physiological therapy, there are several types that have been shown to be effective in treating PTSD. These therapies can be cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Apart from the physiological and pharmacological treatment, many doctors advise on engaging in alternative therapies, such as dietary and lifestyle changes. It has been recognized that modifications in the diet in people living with anxiety can ease symptoms. Most recently, researchers in Louisiana State University have found another, readily available superfood — the blueberry – which could be an effective treatment for PTSD.
In this study, the research team looked at the ability of blueberries to modulate neurotransmitter levels in a rat model of PTSD, what is actually the basis of the pharmacological treatment with SSRIs. They provided a blueberry enriched diet to one group and had another group of rats on a control diet. The researchers found that the group with blueberry enriched diet showed an increase of serotonin, leading the team to the conclusion that blueberries can, in fact, control the mood of a person with PTSD.
These new findings point out that there may be hope for natural treatment for this condition and open a new space for further research of the effects of blueberries, when introduced in the diet of people with PTSD, and a potential field for research for new, natural drug treatments with less or no side effects to humans. Superfoods have long been hailed as vastly beneficial towards maintaining human health and battling disease because of the high levels of proteins, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals they contain. Because of this, they can be instrumental in not only helping us keep healthy but actually fighting against harmful diseases and afflictions.
A good diet plan can be very beneficial for people who experience symptoms of PTSD, and it can both control and reduce symptoms. The diet plan should include foods that are high in vitamin B12 and avoid foods that further stress the body such as, processed foods, alcohol, fatty foods, caffeine, refined sugar, and refined flours.
Substances like caffeine and sugar cause a “boom and bust” energy flow throughout the day with periods of high intensity followed by long lows. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland to release adrenaline, further disrupting the body’s normal rhythms and leading to increased stress and anxiety. Alcohol beverages are among the foods which should be avoided, Even though alcohol can temporarily sedate anxiety, as the body begins to metabolize it throughout the night it often leads to disrupted sleep, making it increasingly difficult to heal the nervous system.
Processed foods such as potato chips, corn chips, processed meats and fast food are often filled with preservatives and also cause an increased stress load on the body’s ability to remove waste. The liver and kidneys are taxed, blood sugar is spiked, and the body has to spend much-needed reserve energy processing these difficult to digest foods. Reducing or eliminating these foods while focusing on eating a whole foods diet is a key part of healing from trauma.
There are many natural foods you can take, whether it’s for post-traumatic stress disorder, or if you experience symptoms such as agitation, irritation, mood swings and depression. Valerian, chamomile, and some also have a positive calming effect when used in a daily diet. In addition to a healthy diet, some individuals found it helpful to supplement products like KalmPro into their daily intake. KalmPro is a proprietary blend of natural ingredients that helps reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. It’s an easy way to get the benefits that you’d normally obtain from healthy foods and vitamins, all in one place.