Naturopathy & PTSD

What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine encompasses a philosophy that has six tenets: The healing power of nature; Identify and treat the cause; First do no harm; Treat the whole person; The physician as teacher; and Prevention. With this philosophy as the guiding principle, the naturopathic physician has many tools they can use to help bring a person back to optimal health. Some of these tools are: Botanical Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Homeopathic Medicine, Energy Medicine, Mind/Body Medicine, Minor Surgery, Naturopathic Obstetrics/midwifery, Oriental Medicine, Physical Medicine.  Naturopathic medicine can be used to help treat PTSD.   The information below is not intended to treat or cure and should only be used with the help of a naturopathic physician or other healthcare practitioner.

Multiple Treatment Options

  • Diet/Nutrition
  • Botanical remedies
  • Physical medicine
  • Mental/emotional support
  • Social support

Diet

  • Create regular schedule  and well-balanced diet
  • Reduce or stop caffeine
  • Reduce/eliminate sugar
  • Increase vegetables

Nutriceuticals

  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Macro-minerals  (especially calcium-magnesium)
  • Micro-minerals(zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, molybdenum, chromium, iodine)

Botanicals

  • Eleuthrococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng)-adaptogen
  • Ginkgo biloba -for possible neurotransmittor support and strong antioxidant activity.
  • Panax ginseng (Korean, Chinese, or red ginseng)-adaptogen, increases resistance to stress
  • Rhodiola rosea (golden root or Arctic root)-adaptogen
  • Withania somnifera (ashwagandha)-aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent and astringent.
  • Glycyrhyzia glabra (licorice)  no because of HTN, COPD
  • Avena sativa (oats)- nervine tonic
  • Humulus lupulus (hops)- nervine
  • Passiflora incarnata– nervine
  • Scutellaria latifolia– nervine
  • Valeriana spp.-nervine, used in PTSD
  • Hypericum perforatum – as an antidepressant nervine, and MAO inhibitor (already on anti-depressants)

Physical Medicine

  • Massage- Nurturance in acceptable format
  • Manipulative therapy to address any pain issues associated with injuries.
  • Physical therapy

Mental/Emotional Support

  • Individual supportive therapy
  • Group therapy (many types available-CBT, Journaling, Nightmare processing, Veteran social groups)
  • Bach flower remedy
  • Homeopathy (constitutional remedy)
  • EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
  • EFT-Emotional Freedom Technique
  • Meditation- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Social Support

  • Veterans groups
  • Mentoring for returning veterans
  • Volunteering
  • Genealogy clubs

References

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Cohen, H., et al., Analysis of heart rate variability in posttraumatic stress disorder patients in response to a trauma-related reminder. Biol Psychiatry, 1998. 44(10): p. 1054-9.

Etkin, A. and T.D. Wager, Functional neuroimaging of anxiety: a meta-analysis of emotional processing in PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobia. Am J Psychiatry, 2007. 164(10): p. 1476-88.

Grossman, P., et al., Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res, 2004. 57(1): p. 35-43.

Hellhammer, J., et al., Several daily measurements are necessary to reliably assess the cortisol rise after awakening: State- and trait components. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2007. 32(1): p. 80-6.

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Price, C.J., et al., Mindful awareness in body-oriented therapy for female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder taking prescription analgesics for chronic pain: a feasibility study. Altern Ther Health Med, 2007. 13(6): p. 32-40.

Shin, L.M., S.L. Rauch, and R.K. Pitman, Amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, and hippocampal function in PTSD. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 2006. 1071: p. 67-79.

Teasdale, J.D., et al., Prevention of relapse/recurrence in major depression by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. J Consult Clin Psychol, 2000. 68(4): p. 615-23.

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Williams, J.M., et al., Mindfulness-Based cognitive therapy for prevention of recurrence of suicidal behavior. J Clin Psychol, 2006. 62(2): p. 201-10.

Yehuda, R., Advances in understanding neuroendocrine alterations in PTSD and their therapeutic implications. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 2006. 1071: p. 137-66.