Beautiful woman,brunette with long curly hair lying on the bed with a bowl of ripe blueberries at home, diet, Breakfast, vitamins, portrait of happy girl, eating berries and smiling,diets and healthy eating.

Blueberries Reduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder signs

Eat Blueberries for PTSD

According to the National Center for PTSD, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.” 1

As implied in that definition, most of us think of PTSD as an extreme condition affecting soldiers and those exposed to dramatic violence.  But in fact, some schools of thought argue that PTSD is far more common than previously thought. Betrayed spouses, for instance, who discover their partner’s sexual addiction in some shocking way may develop PTSD symptoms, perhaps accounting for the fact that PTSD affects about two times more women than men.2 The numbers tell the story: the condition affects over 24 million in the US annually. At some point in their lives about 44 million will have a PTSD issue.3

A PTSD diagnosis inspires doctors to whip out their prescription pads. Antidepressants are particularly favored, but as we’ve discussed before, antidepressants have many dangerous side-effects and very often don’t do a thing to help alleviate patient symptoms. In fact, a study cited by the Carlat Psychiatry Report notes that 80 percent of any reported improvement in PTSD symptoms among those taking antidepressants is likely due to the placebo effect.4

Anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium also get prescribed frequently, in spite of their addictive qualities and potential to cause side effects like amnesia, hallucinations, birth defects, and death.5 There’s also a hypertension medication called “Prazosin” that blocks the release of adrenalin, and it’s commonly used off-label to help trauma PTSD sufferers with nightmares get some sleep.6 Again, side effects abound. Of these pharmaceuticals, only the SSRI-type antidepressants Zoloft and Paxil are officially approved by the FDA for post-traumatic stress disorder.

What other PTSD-intervention techniques exist? Certain forms of psychotherapy seem to be quite helpful. Yoga, acupuncture, and various other energy-psychology healing methods may help, as well.

And then, there are blueberries.

Blueberries for PTSD? According to studies conducted by the team of Dr. Philip Ebenezer at Louisiana State University, when rats with PTSD were fed blueberries (goodness knows how the scientists induced rat trauma), they had increased levels of serotonin in their brains compared to PTSD rats on a blueberry-free diet. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and mood regulator—a feel-good chemical in the brain. One of the hallmarks of PTSD is neurotransmitter imbalance, which is why pharmaceutical antidepressants, which also work by increasing serotonin, are considered the drugs of choice.7 But the SSRI antidepressants also increase a different type of neurotransmitter called norepinephrine (NE), and studies indicate that NE actually interferes with serotonin uptake.

The researchers wanted to know if blueberries might increase serotonin levels without the NE effect, and so they examined the brains of the rats on the two-percent blueberry diet. Sure enough, those rodents on the blueberry diet did indeed have the serotonin bump without any added NE, indicating that blueberries just might be superior to antidepressants as a PTSD treatment. Of course, the scientists couldn’t ask the rats if they were feeling better or free from flashbacks, but the brain chemicals did look good. Also, it’s not a given that what works for rat brains will also work for humans, given that results only translate to humans about 20% of the time. But the results are still interesting—and suggestive.

In any case, the research team investigated the blueberry effect further, recruiting yet another swarm of rats. This time, the investigators wanted to know if blueberries could affect the expression of SKA2 genes in traumatized rats.8 Past studies investigating brain chemistry in suicide victims have shown that the SKA2 gene expresses in abnormally low levels in those who kill themselves. The scientists found that rats with PTSD also had low SKA2 levels, and so they fed them the human equivalent of two cups of blueberries daily.

As noted in the study report, “In the PTSD animals, there was a decrease in the SKA2 levels in the blood, as well as in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, compared to non-PTSD rats. Since these levels increased when we fed them blueberries, the findings suggest that a nonpharmacological agent like blueberries can have an effect on the expression of this important gene.”

The research team is continuing its blueberry investigations. You can bet that by the time they take it to the human arena, it won’t manifest in the form of a prescription for a pint of blueberries. Rather, some drug relying on blueberry extract plus other chemicals will be sold at prescription-drug prices. Savvy readers with PTSD symptoms don’t have to wait for the pharmaceutical version, but can seek immediate relief in the fruit aisle of the local supermarket. Remember to buy only organic! And for those who don’t want to eat two-cups of blueberries a day, there are high-quality blueberry supplements that may do the trick.


Young thoughtful woman posing in studio, close-up, portrait

‘The One Thing I Wish More People Understood About PTSD’

an author, speaker and post-trauma coach I interact with many diverse audiences from several different cultures, backgrounds and social groups. And I’m always amazed that, no matter what kind of group I’m with, I often hear the same misperceptions about Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including:

Image result for ptsd

I thought only veterans could have PTSD.
PTSD isn’t real.
Survivors are lazy and really want to hold on to their trauma.

The list of erroneous statements goes on and on and ignores the very human essence of this disorder. PTSD begins as an instinctual response to threat and continues as a reaction to the overwhelming nature of fear. The reason PTSD can happen to anyone who experiences a trauma – and why the effects of trauma can continue to reverberate even years after the original incident – has everything to do with the brain and how it processes (or doesn’t process) a frightening experience.

PTSD is a Normal Response to an Abnormal Experience

On any given day, more than 25 million trauma survivors experience symptoms of PTSD. If you or a loved one struggles with the many symptoms of PSTD – intrusive thoughts, recurring memories, nightmares and flashbacks, mood swings, insomnia, hypervigilance, anxiety, fear, panic, sleep deprivation, depression, memory loss, brain fog, concentration problems and the desire to avoid anything that reminds you of a past traumatic event – then you know how hard it is to live with a mind hijacked by fear.

It’s easy to condemn yourself for unwanted behaviors (e.g., rage, tears, addiction) and wonder why you aren’t “strong enough” to stop them, but the truth is this: In the grip of PTSD, you are not fully in control of your brain (reclaiming that control is one of the biggest benefits of healing). Instead, you’re at the mercy of how trauma affects your brain and the very deep ways it changes who you are.

How Trauma Affects Your Brain Function

Your brain contains three levels that work together to help you survive and succeed. The first level, your oldest and most inner brain (your “reptilian” brain), is responsible for instinctual survival mechanisms. The second level, located in your midbrain (your “mammalian” brain), is responsible for emotional processing. The third, and most advanced level, located on the outer band of your brain (your “neomammalian” brain), is responsible for cognitive thinking and decision-making.

In the best-case scenario, these levels work together in a balanced program – responding to true threat, processing emotions, and making choices and taking actions in alignment with creating your best life. Typically, your outer brain is in charge using its ability to assess and understand your environment to help inhibit any over-reaction that might occur in your mid- or inner-brain regions.

During and after trauma (and specifically in the presence of PTSD), however, these systems can become dysregulated. In the wake of trauma, instinctual brain processes override the work of your logical mind effectively causing it to shut down. In addition, that instinctual survival mechanism begins to overwork by detecting threat everywhere. When this happens emotional brain processes suffer, often becoming underactive. This causes memories to remain unprocessed and hung up in an activated loop (making you continually feel pain, fear or upset).

Healing the PTSD Brain

While brains scans prove that trauma can literally alter the formation of brain structures, similar evidence suggests that recovery often occurs. In brains of PTSD survivors who undergo successful treatment and make healing gains, many of the effects of trauma on the brain are seen to reverse. For example, overactive threat detection ceases, memories properly process and survivors experience increased clarity and thought processes. The key to creating these successful outcomes lies in learning to increase blood flow to the outermost layer of your brain, which can begin with good nutrition, breathwork and brain-training programs, including mindfulness and meditation.



‘It almost destroyed us’: Moncton Mountie speaks out about PTSD

A retired Moncton Mountie who has been suffering in silence with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for years has decided to talk publicly about his struggles after he says RCMP red tape almost prevented him from getting a service award.


Earlier this week Mark Clements decided not to attend an RCMP awards ceremony honouring long-serving RCMP officers, because being around other officers, he said, is a trigger for his anxiety. Clements spent 25 years serving as an RCMP officer and eventually as an investigator with the Codiac Regional RCMP.

Clements said he requested to RCMP that his 25 year service medal be sent to him in the mail. He said initially his request was denied and he was told that failing to attend the ceremony would mean that he was declining the award.

“I know they say they have changed. But just with this medal thing they haven’t changed,” Clements said. “It would have cost them less than five bucks to put it in the mail.”

Clements said he saw the denial as a lack of compassion for an officer suffering from post traumatic stress.

The provincial RCMP declined comment on the matter citing privacy issues.

‘It’s like I was a pot boiling over’

Clements said he spent 25 years in the RCMP and that his symptoms of PTSD started to intensify while he was serving as a major crimes investigator in Moncton.

“It’s like I was a pot boiling over,” Clements said.

His wife, Debby, said he became increasing irritable and withdrawn as the years drew on. She said trying to cope with the changes in her husband was hard on their marriage.

“It nearly destroyed us,” Debby said. “We have remained so quiet for so long that it’s felt very, very alone for all of us.”

Clements said he was eventually diagnosed with PTSD  and then went on medical leave in 2012 and officially retired in February 2016. He said it was a tough decision and he got criticism from other members.

“I even got emails from members when I was looking for help telling me to basically suck it up.”

He said he was offered counselling and support through RCMP channels, but he preferred to seek help outside of the force.

“I didn’t like dealing with the health services in the RCMP about my personal health cause I always felt that should be separate from work because it’s private,” Clements said.

His struggle to get his service medal acted as a catalyst that made him speak openly about his battle with PTSD and the stress and anxiety that comes with it.

“A lot of members won’t talk because they don’t want things to come out.” said Clements.

Medal in the mail

Email correspondence provided by Clements to Global News did show the RCMP tried to accommodate Clements by suggesting he get his medal in a more private venue from one of the superior officers.

But on Thursday morning, the RCMP changed their minds. Officials contacted Clements to inform him they would break from protocol and send the medal to their home as requested.



When the First Step of Healing From PTSD Is Telling Your Story

My father was diagnosed with cancer when I was 10, and died when I was 15. His sickness plagued so much of my youth, and my clearest memories of that time are of hospital rooms, ambulances and fear.

Image result for ptsd


What made that time so much more traumatic was that my father was suicidal, due to the pain the cancer caused him. Before he died, he had come to me and on multiple occasions asked me to help him end his life. He said if I did not help him, he would ask my mother or sister instead. I was never going to help him, but I agreed because I wanted to protect my family. I lived in constant fear that he would end his life, or come up with a plan that involved me helping him.

When my father finally died I was plagued with guilt. I often wondered if he had done something to end his life, and thought that it was my fault because I hadn’t told anyone what he had asked of me. Even if he had died of natural causes I felt guilt that I couldn’t help alleviate his pain. Either way an autopsy was not done after his death, due to his cancer being terminal, so no one except me suspected that my father could have died from anything other than the cancer.

Due to these experiences I have developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and over four years since my father’s death I still live with the consequences of his sickness.

I have not written this to demonize my father. I understand that he was very sick, and would not have made the same choices had he been well. I am starting the healing process of trying to forgive him, as well as trying to forgive myself.

There are many experiences which can cause someone to develop PTSD and I believe that the more we can tell our stories, the less power they will hold over us.

So this is the story of one trauma survivor, who finally wishes to tell the world what she went through.


This Is What Feels Like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-term life

A mental health issue I’ve seen little talk about is complex post-traumatic stress disorder or C-PTSD. Often caused by a lifetime of trauma rather than one traumatic event, this type of PTSD is exactly what the name implies — complex.

Image result for PTSD

My complex PTSD symptoms can take me from being a very logically-minded person capable of multitasking like a pro to a place where leftover emotions from past trauma assault my brain, leaving me crying and shell-shocked, struggling to remember basic things, like how to follow recipes, for days.

I am fine until it happens — a capable, competent, fully-functional adult… until I’m not. I hate PTSD. I get no say in what or who triggers my memories. I live in fear of the next time I’m reduced to a heap on the floor, pressing my head against the wall, holding my hands over my ears with my eyes squeezed tightly closed.

C-PTSD physically hurts my head in an excruciating way. I try so hard to hold it back when I know I’ve been triggered that I feel like my brain will explode from the painful effort.

This is C-PTSD.

Insomnia waits until 10 p.m. to appear with its best friend, Anxiety, both keeping me up all night sorting through all I have done wrong — and all that could possibly go even more wrong.

This is C-PTSD.

Anxiety is not the same thing as worrying. Anxiety feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. It hurts to breathe. In my attempt to overcome it, I try to put everything in order, make everything clean. I snap at those around me when they don’t get the urgency. It’s Tuesday, but the unmade beds and overflowing laundry make me feel like I’m losing control of my life. Anxiety makes my head spin and my heart race, which makes me angry. I don’t want to be anxious, yet knowing I am can send me into an anxiety attack as I get frustrated at myself for “being silly.”

“It’s nothing. You’re being ridiculous. Stop it. Get a grip.”

This is C-PTSD.

The nightmares when I did manage to go to sleep were worse than being tired. In vivid detail, I’d watch my children die as I stood helpless, unable to move or scream. I relived one dream over and over as a teen, packing my bags to leave but always forgetting something important. I have woken up checking the teeth in my mouth many times, because often my teeth are horribly rotten, broken, or knocked out in my dreams.

This is C-PTSD.

For a while, therapy felt pointless. After years of abuse, I wanted a quick fix, and it wasn’t to be found.

I didn’t even know C-PTSD existed until I began cognitive behavioral therapy nearly a year ago. It’s been a lot of painful work to unearth the abuse, the negative associations and emotions. It became so painful that at times I had to take a break from it, because all I felt was deep physical and emotional pain from reliving the memories.

The time and energy needed to process a lifetime of abuse can be exhausting, painful and overwhelming.

This is C-PTSD.

After nearly a year of weekly therapy, I can say I am on the other side of the pain. It’s finally less now. I still get triggered, and I wonder if I always will. I count time by “the last time it happened.” I am stronger though. I have learned to find my inner voice and calm myself with it. I like myself more. I realize I survived something awful, but it no longer has a hold on me.

This is not C-PTSD.

This is hope.

This is being a survivor.