Call Mon-Sun:
1 (800) 301-3753
Alternative to Meds News & Blog Articles
PTSD: History and Treatment

PTSD: History and Treatment

This entry was posted in Mental Health and tagged , on by .

Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Medical Review Icon

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Diane Ridaeus Published Feb 14, 2019
Medically Reviewed by Dr Michael Loes MD

The history of PTSD treatment has ranged from lobotomies to drugs to ECT. The last few centuries have seen many ways to diagnose and treat mental health. Research and integrative medicine have achieved great progress in finding new ways to combat this disorder as people are becoming aware of the true nature of this complex diagnosis.

To understand how to effectively treat a post-traumatic disorder, let us understand the origins of the PTSD diagnosis.

15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Up to 87 ½% Long-Term Success Rate.
Click to Call7 Days a Week

Join Our Information ARMY AND STAY INFORMED
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Origins of PTSD

Over the last 200 years, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) were known by many different names. The symptoms, now referred to as PTSD, were diagnosed throughout American and world history using terms like:

  • Shell Shock” after all the bombing in WWI 4
  • “Gross Stress Reaction” (see DSM 1, 1952 version)
  • “Adjustment Reaction to Adult Life” or “Adjustment Disorder

While the terms may have changed, the symptoms have not. To investigate this condition and its symptoms, let’s journey through history.

The acronym for “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” is a diagnosis used to describe a certain set of symptoms that linger in the present after experiencing a trauma in the past. Anything from lingering dread after a car accident to residual fear post witnessing a horrific event may lead to a diagnosis of the condition.

Examples of PTSD:

  • Residual effects from military combat experience.*
  • Experiencing natural disasters, such as earthquakes or tornadoes
  • Terrorist attack
  • Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault or robbery
  • Serious accidents or witnessing a violent death
  • Prolonged sexual abuse, violence, or severe neglect
  • Receiving a diagnosis of a life-threatening condition

*A study on military veterans showed that up to 500,000 returning soldiers were diagnosed with PTSD from 2003 to 2016.

The diagnosis of PTSD has been used since 1980 to classify difficult symptoms presenting in an individual long term after a traumatic experience. PTSD is most well-known for causing extreme symptoms in those returning home from military service. While the diagnosis has become very common in today’s times, it is a relatively recent diagnostic term.1

To understand how PTSD came to be, we will take a look at the history of PTSD in the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual).

PTSD and the DSM From 1952 to 2019 (Present)

The DSM is a manuscript used by professionals in the field of mental health. The DSM describes patient diagnoses based on existing symptoms. Created in 1952, the DSM has undergone many revisions and additions based on new research and discoveries in modern medicine. While PTSD was not added to the DSM until 1980 in version DSM-III, symptoms experienced by those suffering from the symptoms have been recorded for hundreds of years.

1952

The DSM-I, developed by the American Psychiatric Association, was a tool assisting in the diagnosis of mental health disorders. PTSD was not listed in this early version. In the DSM-I, the term gross stress reaction was used for people who displayed symptoms after a traumatic event. Common traumatic events in these early days of the DSM included being a victim of a disaster or participating in a war. The gross stress reaction diagnosis, however, did not account for long term symptoms of six months or more. The diagnosis was then removed from the following DSM version.

1968

With the rollout of the DSM-II, a new term was created called adjustment reaction to adult life. This explained PTSD-like reactions from trauma caused by three types of events:

  1. Fear due to combat in the military,
  2. Suicidal thoughts with an unwanted pregnancy,
  3. Ganser’s Syndrome5 – Determined by incorrect responses to questions, in death sentence prison cases.

While this was a minor improvement over the explanation given in the DSM-1, the DSM-II fell short of offering an in-depth assessment of the symptoms lingering in many trauma victims. The common types of trauma and symptoms experienced post-trauma by victims were yet to be acknowledged.

1980

The term was added to the DSM-III, linking traumas to wars suggesting it was a rare type of condition. Vietnam veterans, Holocaust survivors, sexual trauma victims, and others were included in the diagnostic population. After multiple revisions, the current DSM-V version suggests that the diagnosis is relatively common.

2019

Now considered a broad range of conditions with multiple sub-categories of symptoms. No longer considered an anxiety disorder in the DSM-V. but listed under “Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders”, PTSD has been expanded to include multiple categories of symptoms.

Symptoms That Warrant a Diagnosis

  1. Re-experiencing or reliving the traumatic event.
  2. Avoiding similar situations or triggers of the trauma.
  3. Having negative beliefs and feelings not present prior to a traumatic event.
  4. Hyper-reactive, overreacting, or being “keyed up.”

Some of the above symptoms are common in a person who has experienced trauma. However, if a person is displaying all four symptoms, a diagnosis of PTSD is likely to occur.

So, what is the best course of action for someone suffering from trauma-related symptoms?

 

Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The condition develops in an individual following a frightening or dangerous event. Over the days or weeks after the traumatic event, reactions to triggering sounds or circumstances begin to manifest. and if left untreated, can worsen and become extreme anxiety, fear, or depression. The first step in treating PTSD is in understanding the early warning signs.

Early Recognition

Following a trauma, many individuals become trapped in the memory of the event. Being stuck in a sort of “fight or flight” behavioral pattern, physical and mental reactions will begin to develop. The reactions to present-time “triggers” and their resulting “fight or flight” type of reactions could continue over a prolonged period of time. Physical pain from injuries is another significant factor in addressing the whole person, and all the aspects of their suffering.2

Luckily, for those suffering, treatment has come a long way over the last 200 years, offering hope to many that suffer from the disorder.

The History of Post-Trauma Treatment

Historians, looking all the way back to the Civil War, have seen overwhelming signs in reports of the war, and soldiers’ letters to families. In the 1800s, mental health problems were shunned. Individuals with mental conditions were either left to their own devices or put quietly away in an asylum. For those experiencing trauma-related symptoms following the war, there was no real treatment available. Reports of soldiers returning home and losing their minds or becoming isolated were common.

After 200 years of research, victims of trauma can find effective help.

Common Treatment vs Holistic Approaches

For decades, the standard treatment for the lingering effects after trauma would be a prescription of psychiatric medications. Depression was linked to trauma after-effects, leading to a surge of prescriptions of antidepressant drugs, and a surge of suicides as well. 3 If an individual’s PTSD symptoms caused extreme paranoia, fear, or sleeplessness, institutionalization was another likely outcome. In some cases, ECT would be offered to wipe away the bad memories. Some would consider these types of harsh treatments to be as traumatic as the original event and would have preferred more compassionate, non-drug-based therapies for relief.

Is There a Cure?

For the last 40 years, there was really no cure offered, only treatments to mitigate the debilitating symptoms. Victims of traumas, natural disasters, war, or terrorist attacks would be told they need medications long term in order to fight off the more extreme flare-ups, almost as if it was a rash that needed to be kept in check. Only recently, have natural and holistic PTSD treatments been recognized as effective.

A Natural Approach to Treatment

Many of those affected by “mental health disorders” find the commonly prescribed medication-based treatments hard to agree to. Whether an individual is sensitive to the pharmaceuticals, or just not wanting to become reliant upon them long-term, many people seek medication alternatives.

The Alternative to Meds Center philosophy is that most individuals given the proper support can recover from their unwanted conditions. The type of support we provide at Alternative to Meds is in the repair of a person’s brain chemistry through nutrition, supplementation, as well as talk therapy, and professional guidance surrounding the trauma.

ATMC offers one of the only programs in full neurotransmitter rehabilitation, known to help relieve issues including:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Medication side effects
  • Medication withdrawal

How well do you understand anxiety?  Take Our Quiz

How to Recover Natural Mental Health

PTSD treatmentsEducation about nutrition, and how the body works help patients understand how best to achieve and maintain optimal natural mental health. Individual counseling and therapy are an important aspect as well, but without helping the brain recover, long-term healing is hard to achieve.

As the brain heals, we incorporate long-term strategies to the individual’s lifestyle and health regimen. Rather than relying strictly on psychiatric medications and counseling, we treat the entire individual. Licensed, medical practitioners review each patient’s history for an in-depth look at potential, underlying causes of PTSD.

With a healthy diet designed to address deficiencies found in testing, nutrient-based therapies, neurotoxin removal treatments, CBT counseling, and many adjunctive treatments, ATMC provides an unparalleled, comprehensive, drug-free PTSD treatment program.

Need PTSD Information for You or a Loved One?

1. Reisman M, “PTSD Treatment for Veterans: What’s Working, What’s New, What’s Next.” Pharmacy and Therapeutics Journal 2016 Oct, PMID 27757001 [cited 2020 Dec 1]

2. Moeller-Bertram T, et al., “Pain and post-traumatic stress disorder – review of clinical and experimental evidence.” Neuropharmacology. 2012 Feb;62(2):586-97. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.04.028. Epub 2011 May 10. PMID: 21586297 [cited 2020 Dec 1]

3. Sher L.” The concept of post-traumatic mood disorder. Med Hypotheses.” 2005;65(2):205-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2005.03.014. PMID: 15922089. [cited 2020 Dec 1]

4. Jones, E. “Shell Shocked” published in American Psychological Association Online, June 2012. Print version p.18 [cited 2020 Dec 1]

5. Dwyer J, Reid S, “Ganser’s syndrome.” The Lancet July 31 2004 [cited 2020 Dec 1]



This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Michael Loes, M.D.

 

Dr. Michael Loes is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pain Management and Addiction Medicine. He holds a dual license in Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine. He obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978. Dr. Loes performed an externship at the National Institute of Health for Psychopharmacology. Additionally, he is a well-published author including Arthritis: The Doctor’s Cure, The Aspirin Alternative, The Healing Response, and Spirit Driven Health: The Psalmist’s Guide for Recovery. He has been awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s “Excellence in Research” Award.

Social Profile: LinkedIn

View Bio

Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

We Accept Most Major Insurance Providers.

Call Now to Verify BlueCross BlueShield Cigna Aetna

Our Success Stories

Medication Withdrawal Success Stories

Can you imagine being free from medications, addictive drugs, and alcohol? This is our goal and we are proving it is possible every day!

Read All StoriesView All Videos