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Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Heal Combat Flashbacks





A fact is a fact. Memory is a fact. War is a fact. Unfortunately for many veterans the latter two facts collide. 

"Every soldier at some point leaves the battlefield, but the battlefield never leaves the soldier." 

After soldiers return state side, and stand down from 24/7 battle readiness, vivid images of missions they experienced begin to flash in their minds. These mental images are normal and are termed “flashbacks”.

Neurological research has proven that the brain processes traumatic memory differently than non-traumatic memory. The human brain’s job in reference to non-traumatic memory is that of order and closure. Simply put, the brain receives all the information from an event; it processes all the images, smells and sounds, achieves closure with the associated emotions and then put the event into long-term storage for future retrieval and replay.

When the brain is faced with an intense traumatic event, the processing is put on hold as well as the closure of associated emotions. The brain’s normal function of order and storage is not achieved and the imprint of the event remains active. At some point, the brain will bring the imprint back to consciousness in order to process the event, make emotional closure and integrate it into long-term storage.

Soldiers from every service are highly trained professionals and when in battle mode, their brain responds and functions differently. In the heat of battle a soldier’s brain is so focused on completion the mission that there is no time to process its impact or make closure.

An example of this can be seen through the experience of a close friend of mine who returned from the Vietnam War. He was well decorated and was involved in many battles during his two tours in country. Initially his transition back into civilian life went smoothly. He lived with his wife and went back to work in his chosen profession. He lived in a large city where the police relied heavily on helicopters to patrol and less on squad cars.  One evening it all changed. A police helicopter began to circle low over neighborhood looking for robbery suspect. That night the police helicopter triggered him into a combat flashback.  In his mind he was back in Vietnam. He felt that he along with his brother-in-arms were under attack. He ran to his closet, pulled out his rifle, ran outside into his backyard and began to fire at the police helicopter. After that he had more combat flashbacks, slept less, became more anxious, and used illegal drugs to attempt to stop the images. On another occasion his wife woke up with him holding a knife to her throat telling her to be silent or they would be found.  She left him the next day and did not return. Two months later he lost his job. Stories like this one were not uncommon for Vietnam Veterans.

Many stories just like the one above will happen again and again. America has a new generation of veterans (289,328) that have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan wars and each one has brought back combat memories. 106,726 (36.9%) veterans received mental health diagnoses. 62,929 (21.8%) were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Is there something safe that can help eliminate flashbacks?

In these days of specialization, why isn't there a teachable skill that would target one memory at a time and help a veteran to process through combat flashbacks one by one?
Well, there is. A guided protocol called Rapid Reduction Technique®© (RRT) was developed to reduce the effects of traumatic flashbacks and memories for women who have been traumatized and abused. The RRT has been used and studied with this population for the past 9 years. RRT has been successful helping survivors reduce the intensity of the flashbacks, help in the processing all the images, smells and sounds, achieves closure with the associated emotions and facilitate storage into long-term memory. RRT®© is a teachable and safe skill which works on one memory at a time. RRT®© is based on revisiting, not reliving or re-experiencing. Flashbacks are an attempt of the brain to achieve order and processing. The RRT®© protocol teaches a survivor to bring a recurring flashback up to consciousness safely, work with the emotions associated with it and assist the brain in processing it.

Clinical Study

One year ago a pilot study was conducted to see the effectiveness of the Rapid Reduction Technique™©. The study looked at seven areas of intrusive traumatic flashbacks and memories. Those areas were; inability to function, strength of memory pain, degree of triggering, level of emotional, physical, spiritual and audio pain. 66 women in an inpatient setting with diagnoses of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) participated. All 66 women were experiencing dysfunction in their lives due to flashbacks and memories from childhood and adulthood trauma and abuse. All areas studied showed a significant decrease in level of pain related to their chosen flashbacks or memories.

Within the studied population of the 66 women there were 2 veterans of the Desert Storm War and 1 contractor who served as support for the military during the Iraq War. All three had chosen combat or wartime memories and reported significant reduction in the intensity and associated pain.

Case Studies

Let’s look at the case of one Navy veteran in the pilot study. Her family had a long line of members who had served in the military.  She served 10 years in the military and saw combat in the Desert Storm War. Her flashback was a result of one of her combat experiences. While part of a large supply convoy traveling into Iraq, the trucks she was responsible for got off route. Separated from the main convoy and making a course correction, they were ambushed. In the firefight, she was wounded; another officer and several ground soldiers were killed. 

Reinforcements helped them to win the firefight, get the trucks and fallen brothers-in-arms out. After months of physical rehabilitation, an honorable discharge with commendations and return to civilian life, flashbacks of the ambush began to surface. The reoccurring flashbacks caused her to experience agitation, guilt, bouts of deep depression, constant anxiety, and shame for not completing her mission. She was overwhelmed with severe regret for not bringing all her soldiers back alive.  She went through years of psychiatric hospitalizations and medication, yet the flashbacks continued. Her everyday life became dysfunctional, relationships failed; she experienced sleepless nights and was unable to hold a job. Her days were full of anxiety, fear, and pain.


During one of her hospitalizations, she had the opportunity to volunteer for the Rapid Reduction Technique®© pilot study. She picked her ambush flashback to use in the study. On her pre-test, on a scale of 0 to 4, with “0” being no pain or inability to function due to her flashback and “4” being intense pain or inability to function, she rated all study areas at 4.  She stated that the ambush flashback had caused a “loss of dignity, honor and direction.” Reporting on the post-test at conclusion of experiencing the Rapid Reduction Technique on her ambush flashback, she rated all 7 areas studied at “0”.

What grew out of the pilot study from the success of the two veterans and one contractor participating was that Rapid Reduction Technique had possible military application. A military guided protocol called Rapid Reduction Technique - Combat®©  (RRT-C®©) was developed that would help male and female soldiers. RRT-C®© has already helped two male Vietnam Veterans.

 One of the two was a 62 year old male Vietnam Veteran who had his voice box shattered when he was shot in the neck during a battle at the age of 19. Years after his return to civilian life, he started to experience severe flashbacks of that battle. He reported that the flashbacks would cause him to have increased physical pain in his neck as well as emotional pain. He went through years of anxiety, fear, worthlessness and a feeling that he let himself and his buddies down by being shot. His life became very dysfunctional. He lost his marriage, and his ability to hold a job. He said he felt “worthless, disgraced and an outcast.” He gave up and isolated himself from society. He resorted to drugs and alcohol to medicate his pain and cope with life. He went through years of being homeless with many admissions to psychiatric hospitalizations and substance abuse programs. Though it was difficult for him to communicate with others through his electronic larynx, he volunteered to experience the Rapid Reduction Technique – Combat®©. He reported at the conclusion of his RRT-C®© experience that the emotional, physical and mental intensity of the flashback was significantly reduced. Week later, his memory of the battle only came up if he recalled it, and he did not experience any pain. He gratefully stated for the “first time in my life since I left Vietnam, I am finally free.”

Of course Rapid Reduction Technique–C®© is not a cure for PTSD, and more study on the RRT-C®© should be done, but there is promise. RRT-C®© has proven so far to be effective for veterans. It can be taught to veterans so they can take command of their combat flashbacks and finally complete their mission, one battlefield memory at a time.
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Clinical Research Update on RRT®©

Rapid Reduction Technique®© or RRT®© was clinically studied in a 3 year research project at a major university and shown to be clinically effective with eliminating the emotional charge, intensity and triggers as described in the pilot study. A surprising discovery as a result of the clinical study is that RRT®© relieved other Post-traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. 

If you would like more specific information from the study, please contact me at Tollefsonenterprises@gmail.com or go to my website


                                                





Monday, December 24, 2012

A Time of Blessing







On this eve of Christmas, I want to take this chance to deeply express to all a Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to all the loyal supports who have followed my blog.

   As we near the end of this year, and not the end of the world as some had predicted, it is time to pause, take a moment and reflect on what we have been blessed with throughout 2012.  The events we experience in the past 12 months do not always feel like a blessing, but later as time marches forward, we will see thing through a different pair of eyes. These same events will appear as positive. Positive, in that they pointed us in a different and better direction. Sometimes kicking and screaming because where we were so comfortable. Even painful and hurtful situations can become very comfortable.  As some of us know, even trauma can be comfortable if jerked away and we have melted into a pattern.

   Now is the time, a time for inner journey filled with dreams, fantasy, spiritual nourishment and validation. Open a new door and make a positive change to your life. It is not what we give or get, it is about erecting stronger bonds with our inner and outer environments. Confirming our positive core beliefs and shifting the negative ones which keep us stuck to old ways and habitual patterns. The stronger our core beliefs, the stronger of mind code and the stronger our ties with the ones we love. For as we have experienced this year, it can be a regular day, and boom - suddenly we will never see a love one ever again. Live in the moment and risk to enjoy. We need to give ourselves permission to live.

   Love your family and yourself as though it is the last moment you have. Tonight and tomorrow morning is a magical time and season not only for our children and grandchildren but also for the inner child in all.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 

Blessings All


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

5 Tips on How to Eliminate Flashbacks




“Life barriers don't define us; it is our reactions to them that does. Each life event makes us stronger” ~ Dr Bill

We all experience negative, bad or overwhelming events. In the moment, we now feel past situations have robbed of an aspect of ourselves. Understand that the resulting wounds of such events should not define us or weaken us, actually they increase our inner strength, resilience and resolve. 

A Part of Self has been lost

Sometimes you feel like your life is falling apart and the residuals from your past have changed you forever. You no longer feel you are who you were. All you seem to be able to do is focus on the wrongs, and the pain which thrusts you into placing criticisms and judgment upon yourself. Flashbacks of those horrible situations invade our daily life.

Flashbacks cause confusion

Initially after experiencing a flashback it seems like what you are seeing is unreal and never happened. Then once the denial has passed there is no reason for what happened. Fear and confusion prevails your mindset. 

Change your Mindset

Be open to the message of a flashback. A flashback reveals to you that you have inner power, strength and resilience as well as you have matured and grown. Do not close yourself off to the possibility that your mind is asking of healing. Maybe as a result of a new positive, healthy mindset, a new door will open within you and a new you will be discovered.

So over time all the pieces of past painful situations will come together a new beginning will be revealed to you.

What to do tips?

Don't be a slave to the your memories. Don't react to what happened but what we accomplished in surviving. Move forward.

Try these 5 tips when you re-experience a flashback in your mind:

    1. Slow down, 

    2. Breathe deeply, 

    3. Ground yourself, 

    4. Listen to your inner truth, 

    5. Take comfort in the strength of your inner self, and
        accept the message or answer from within.

Afterthoughts


Focus on the moment and envision a positive future. Embrace self and celebrate every minute in the moment.

Resist all self-defeating beliefs, self-limiting ideas, negative looping thoughts or old beliefs of being broken or damaged, because you are not


Forgive yourself rather than listen to old negative messages. Traumatic experiences make us stronger, not weaker. 


If you have any questions, leave me a comment below.

If you know of anyone that could benefit from the words in this blog, please forward them a link to the post.

Visit my website.


                            

Monday, October 29, 2012

2013 Seminar Opinion Survey

I have been very successful in the past couple of years with developing my life coaching business and now I am ready to move forward. I am interested in teaching others the values I have discovered with life coaching, personal philosophy method and upgrading my rapid reduction technique. I would like the input of my fellow colleagues, friends, associates and clients past and present on your interests. So please, if you would click the link to fill out the attached form and lets move forward together.

 Please fill out my form.

Thank you Dr. Bill

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Freedom for Veterans from Battlefield Memories


Freedom is now possible from traumatic flashbacks.

Veterans do not have to suffer from battlefield flashbacks.



I am happy to announce now there is a ground breaking method to help combat veterans to re-write combat memory and reduce Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. 20% of all service men and women are suffering from combat PTSD once they return home. As a combat veteran, there is no longer a need to carry haunting battlefield memories. 

Now there is a method called Rapid Reduction Technique®© or RRT®©  which can assist vets to quickly disconnect all mental and emotional links to the battlefield. RRT has been studied in clinical research as effective, and safe in a 3 year clinical research project at a major University and the clinical data was presented at the International Trauma Conference in Berlin, Germany earlier in March of 2012.

No one has to remain a wounded soul or be a hostage to traumatic memories. 

The clinical research study results also showed that it is extremely effective on memories for individuals who have survived abuse, trauma and catastrophic events. 

Learn more.     http://youtu.be/i82mbnIVkCw 



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tips on Cause of Thought Addiction



           “Emotional pain won't kill you but addictions will” 

Thought addiction (TA) is not a popular term to the general public or professionals, but the knowledge about it's effects are spreading through the addiction field. 

Thought addiction is very powerful, it is a fact and is a real addiction. What is very true is every addiction is driven by a thought. Thoughts like "drinking will make me more social", "I perform better on a drug" and "no one will like me if I am not high".

Whether it is substance addiction, eating addiction, emotional addiction, gambling addiction or sex addiction every addiction starts with a thought

to break it down to a simple idea, every act in life starts with a thought. Even when a person becomes sober or recovers from PTSD, the person is left with the original thought that started the addictive behavior in the first place. If the TA is not addressed in recovery then it highly possible a relapse will occur due to the original thought which started emotion or behavior remains.

Post abuse, addiction or trauma, when the thoughts were formed during the events are not addressed, the thoughts can intensify need to relapse and/or PTSD symptoms. Lingering distorted thoughts have no respect for time. Formed negative thoughts can strike at any time. Sometimes PTSD symptoms can surface or become more intense because of being triggered by a thought addiction.

How a thought addiction forms

Thought addiction causes suffering when a distorted, illogical, old core beliefs, negative thought or set of such thoughts surface from your subconscious mind into your conscious mind. Once surfaced the thought or thoughts begin to loop uncontrollably in your mind. These types of thoughts seem to go on repeating endlessly no matter what you do. You feel unable to stop it. 

These thought(s) can become so intense that you become intensely focused in looping of negative thinking, self-limiting ideas or negative beliefs. At that point, the beliefs or thoughts seem to take over your mind and feels like it is swallowing all your control and confidence. 

To make it simpler and more understandable, think about when a song gets stuck in your head and no matter what you try you can not get rid of it in your head. Even if you go to sleep when you wake up these looping thoughts are still there. A thought addiction is the same experience and can cause you to act inappropriately to erase or quiet the thought even if it is hurtful to yourself or inappropriate.




Thought Addiction is Misunderstood 

A thought addiction can cause devastating effects mentally, physical, health and your well being. These types of thoughts can overwhelm and overtake your mind causing false emotions and inappropriate behavior.  

There are many different types of looping thoughts that can become addictive:

 severe depression 
 compulsions 
 excessive anxiety
disappointment
 doubt
 fears (real or imagined)
 compulsive thinking
 obsessive thinking
 suicidal thinking
 worry
 uncontrollable focus on a behavior 
 over expecting 
 over focusing on an emotion
 over predicting about an upcoming event

Tips on Thought Addiction Effects

If a looping thought is caught in the beginning stage, the thought can be shifted and won't result into another addiction or destroy attempts at PTSD recovery. If found in the later stage, after you have to become sober or strongly in PTSD recovery. 

Even in late stage, the thought can be shifted to positive thought averting inappropriate addictive behavior, increase in PTSD symptoms, strong overwhelming negative emotions or possible disaster. 

After Thoughts

Thought addiction can happen due to unprocessed beliefs, emotions, life barriers or traumatic situations. Thought addiction can cause you to feel stuck in your life, confused, unfocused, depleted in confidence, and / or unable to achieve the success you want.  
There is away to eliminate a thoughts addiction and can improve your life. 

If you want to find out if you have a thought addiction you can take the thought addiction assessment

Visit my website and click here for free eBook.

                                             Coach Bill