Coping With PTSD

Coping With PTSD

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By Andrew Ackley and Karen Koehler

It is incorrect to say that emotional injury is: subjective and all in your mind.  Psychological injuries have a physiological basis. The amygdala located in the temporal lobe of our brain, is involved in the fear circuit that is responsible for the fight or flight response.   Those suffering from PTSD describe sweating, increased heart palpitations, temporary loss of senses, in addition to depression, anxiety and panic disorders.  Even though emotional trauma is viewed with doubt by defense lawyers and their clients, evidence based research has proven how devastating these injuries can be.  War Veterans provide a stark example of how profound the harm can be from trauma related emotional and mental health conditions.

In the Ride the Ducks case, the defendants hired two psychiatrists and a psychologist to testify that our clients either did not have PTSD or if they had it that the condition had long since resolved.  They minimized the impact of trauma, and blamed the survivors for not more speedily obtaining treatment.  By contrast, the plaintiffs were all examined by a forensic psychologist. The sessions lasted from between 10 to 20 hours per person in addition to rigorous testing.  At the end of the case, regardless if the condition was PTSD or anxiety/depression adjustment disorder, the jury strongly believed that each person had suffered great emotional and mental health harm.

The Seattle area has many resources available to people suffering from psychological injury, including PTSD and other anxiety disorders related to trauma. The VA publishes information regularly about PTSD. The University of Washington conducts short term exposure treatment (STEP) research, and the UW Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress offers treatment.

These informational resources may be helpful:

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health

Here are some more local treatment, support, and informational resources:

Sound Mental Health

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress

There are also informal support groups through sites like MeetUp.