I post on another board on this forum and am looking for some help for my daughter. She is 21 was diagnosed with PTSD at 16 and lives in San Diego. She has recently begun to get her life together and is coming back from a drug addiction, homelssness etc. We are working on all of the problems and she is plugged into services and doing well. She starts a new job next week. The only issue we are having problems addressing are her panic attacks/PTSD. She was diagnosed at 16 (before any drug use began) with PTSD. She was the victim of a home invasion from a mentally abusive, twisted boyfriend. He was 18 and was in our home when she arrived home one night after recently breaking up with him. She was the only one home for several hours and was locked in my bedroom while he walked around the house and whispered through the door etc. This went on for several hours until she climbed out of my window and went to the neighbors to call the police. He had previously threatened to kill her or to mess with her head so bad she would wish she were dead. When she told me this I made her break up with him. This was in West Virginia in a small town and they were not too interested in pursuing it. They claimed because she never actually saw him in the house that they could not prove it was him or prosecute. We did obtain a restraining order against him. Soon after she began to have panic attacks and was diagnosed with PTSD by a therapist. She left my home at 17 for her Dad's in California and things deteriorated for her. She began using drugs and living on the streets or at friends houses and her PTSD was never treated or addressed. She is now clean and trying to get her life together but the PTSD remains. I sit up on the phone with her and talk to her to distract her from her episodes until she is able to fall asleep. She panics when she is in a house with lots of rooms that she can't see and constantly feels that someone is in the house or her room. She sleeps with all the lights on and her current mode of treatment is to take Tylenol PM every night. She has come up with multiple coping mechanisms (none very effective) to sleep and her panic attacks/PTSD occur fairly regularly. They are worse now that she is no longer self-medicating. I think the panic and anxiety are exacerbated by the methamphetamine withdrawal but it cannot all be attributed to that as she had PTSD long before that.
I have checked into clinical trials and such that she may be eligible for in the San Diego area but due to her drug use history she is excluded from most of them. I am trying to find ANY resources that she might be able to use in San Diego. She does not have health insurance but she will in 90 days if her job works out. She says she cannot wait for 90 days and needs to get some help now. Any herbal remedies, cognitive/behavioral techniques she could try would be SO appreciated. I read something about repeating mantra's throughout the day or during attacks? She asked me to help her get help. She will be posting on this board soon so if you see her please be supportive. Her username is sd10sarah85.
I'll keep this short and sweet, since there is such a lot you need help with right now.
From personal experience, I'd suggest she keeps a journal to try and document when she has attacks or her symptoms are worse. It's actually pretty theraputic and a very useful tool. Lots of books on Cognitive treatment books will recommend this.
Secondly, again from personal experience, get her to try EFT ( Emotional Freedom Technique ). I found it very useful in coping with nightmares, anger and anxiety. It's been tried on vietnam veterans very succesfully. It's a bit "new age" but with this condition you cant afford to be choosy ! There's lots of info on the internet about it, and I'd recommend at least a few 1:1 sessions with an experienced trauma practitioner of EFT before trying to do it yourself. Your daughter would experience a greater and faster chance of success that way.
I'll turn you over to the ladies on the site now. I'm sure they'll be able to give some excellent advice.
Oh, BTW, welcome to the board, though I'm sorry you have to come here at all...
If things are really unbearable, she can try going to the emergency room and they will most likely prescribe her with some medication and provide an appointment for the mental health clinic in the hospital.
Another option is getting in contact with the state mental health association. She should be eligible for Medicaid, at the very least.
If you don't mind me asking, how long has she been clean?
I ask this not to be nosy but rather to suggest a support group of sorts for her to know that she isn't alone.
I see that you have checked into clinical trials but have you thought of a possible 30 day treatment facility?
I don't want to add worry but with every job comes with it a specific amount of stress and if she is not prepared for this, it might have a negative effect on her.
Welcome to the PTSD boards . Mark and FTM gave you some great advice already. All I can add is the suggestion of EMDR. I'm involved with that right now and although it's a tough therapy, I have seen some good results so far. Also. before I started on medication for my anxiety and panic, etc.... I tried Valerian Root - which is an herbal remedy. It's not very costly, and it really helped to calm me down and helped me to sleep through the night. That might be a good alternative to Tylenol PM. Another possible supplement is GABA. I have the powdered formula and I mix it with juice or water. It is meant to help you relax and regulate your sleep cycles.
I wish you and your daughter luck with everything. Let us know how things go for you!
Thanks for all the good advice. I ordered some Valerian Root for her online last night and I read your posts to her over the phone. She may be signing in today as sd10sarah85. I am going to research the cognitive therapy techniques you mentioned. To answer your question about clean time - she only has 30 days clean. She is going to NA meeting daily, living in a sober living house, has support from her boyfriend's family and her Dad and sister live an hour outside of San Diego. She is on a waiting list to get started in an outpatient drug program 3 nights a week. She should come up for that in the next few weeks. We have considered a 30-day program. My ex and I have offered to pay for it but she won't hear of it at this point. She slept well last night and is feeling good this morning. I am also hoping that the counselors at the outpatient treatment center may be able to refer her to a support group or services that will focus more on her PTSD. I know that at this point a lot of people will say that it is too early to tell if her symptoms are truly PTSD or anxiety from the meth withdrawal syndrome. I personally think it is a combination and they are exacerbating each other because like I said the PTSD was diagnosed before she started using and I think her using was more a way of self-medicating the PTSD symptoms. Fell free to offer any advice or suggestions. We are open to anything!
Hello Jailiriley I am sorry to hear about your daughter and I am currently going through some of the same things after the abuse from my husband. First off I want to say that you are doing a great job supporting your daughter and I don't have that, so keep it up That is the thing she needs the most right now is support. I have PTSD from the abuse I endured from my husband with PTSD and an alcohol problem, he is a Iraq veteran. I have problems sleeping at night and the thing that works the best for me is putting on a happy movie for me "sleepless in seattle" and falling asleep to that. The T.V. eventually shuts off and so my mind shuts off after the movie does and I am well rested. Also, I sleep with my dog. I feel safe, because sometimes I am afraid that someone/ my husband is going to hurt me. Then in my head I know that if someone comes up the stairs he will bark and I will have an alarm. Also, I usually fall asleep with my cell phone in my hand or it is right next to me and that gives me a source of comfort just because I know that I can call 911 if needed. Have your daughter start boards as soon as possible. The people on here are great Also, keep using boards often as well because you will need support to help support your daughter. Honestly, this is the best place to get it
I like that you all are providing alternative answers, but for PTSD I must say that anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicines really do work.
I was diagnosed with PTSD in college. I was so bad that I couldn't leave my dorm room with out an anxiety attack and the flashbacks were so disruptive that I lost a lot of friends. Anyways, I was immediately put on Zoloft which helped a lot. Unfortunately, it can make your emotions really "flat" -no sadness or panic but no happiness or joy either. At the time I was so bad that this really was the best alternative.
As time went on and I felt better, I went off the meds, but started having anxiety problems again, only to a lesser degree. I was then put on Lexapro. This is a really great prescription. I didn't notice any emotional side effects, the anxiety melted away, and I even lost weight!
I have currently been off these drugs for about 7 months. I noticed that I have a little more anxiety than I did when I was on them, but it's definately managable. My flashbacks are almost nil and void.
So to summarize, time and a good medication can really help for this disorder.
I hear you about the lack of insurance, and understand the cost issues. However, if her symptoms are going to stop her from progressing or hold her back from her new job, then I would say it's worth starting them now, even if you have to pay by credit card. As my husband says, "America is built on debt; we can be too."