PTSD, now frequently being referred to as PTS (Post Traumatic Stress), but still referred to as PTSD in this introduction, is a major problem, not just from returning veterans but also rape victims, victims of physical and emotional abuse, car accidents and other sources. Over the last few years it has become clear that PTSD is not just the result of experiencing a dramatic incident in war. It can also be the result of more ordinary and often repeated “domestic” trauma. The response to the trauma is more influential than the trauma itself. And studies have found an increased rate of marital breakup, addiction and suicide in those with PTSD. Much has been written about seeing this in returning veterans.
Clients who come to The Dubin Clinic with the diagnosis of PTSD typically report hyper-vigilance (always on the lookout for potential danger), insomnia, intrusive flashbacks, emotionally reliving traumatic events, over-reacting to sudden sounds and other abrupt stimuli, chronic anxiety, panic attacks and more. The nervous system is in a near constant state of over-arousal, with the environment experienced as a continual threat. It is as if the nervous system has forgotten how to return to a relaxed state, which is what a healthy nervous system automatically does after an actual or potential danger has receded.
One of the fundamental ways that Direct Neurofeedback works is by reducing the “fight or flight” response of the sympathetic peripheral nervous system while simultaneously enhancing the homeostatic or calming “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system. And this can be visibly seen in clients—posture and muscles relax, vision often seems brighter (from the pupils dilating), voices sound huskier (from muscles around the vocal cords relaxing) and speech slows down. Clients appear visibly more relaxed.