Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Dolphin therapy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – is a stable violation of the psycho-emotional sphere that has arisen as a result of single or prolonged negative events that have had a strong impact on the psyche. These events include:
- Natural disasters;
- Battle participation;
- Psychological, physical or sexual violence;
- Prolonged nervous overstrain;
- Terror attacks and etc.
The disease can develop both quickly enough, during the first weeks after the tragic events, and arise in a sufficiently long time, provided that the individual falls into a situation similar to that experienced (delayed reaction).
Synonyms for the diagnosis of “post-traumatic stress disorder” are definitions such as “Afghan (Vietnamese) syndrome”, “survivor syndrome”, “military syndrome”.
Causes and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder
Clinical studies have shown that signs of post-traumatic stress disorder of personality are determined by about 8% of the world's population who have survived a tragic event or series of events. The risk of PTSD is influenced by gender and age – children, older people and women suffer from post-traumatic syndrome much more often than men. Also, the development of the disorder is affected by the social conditions in which the person is after the experienced stress.
Individual features of the psyche can be observed as an additional factor that affects the occurrence of PTSD in certain life situations. These events include the following:
- Psychological traumas experienced in childhood;
- Genetic diseases of the psyche, alcoholism and drug addiction, suicidal tendencies among close relatives;
- Psychical deviations, diseases of the nervous and endocrine system;
- Anxious and depressive conditions that occurred before the experience of severe stress;
- Lack of family and close relatives, friends;
- Inability to independently overcome complex everyday situations and cope with stress.
Besides causes of post-traumatic stress disorder can be the following:
- Psychotropic medicines, alcohol, drugs taken by the patient;
- Systematic exposure to stress;
- Lack of support from others;
- Complicated life and financial situation.
Signs of post-traumatic syndrome:
- Intrusive memories about the stress experienced, a constant sense of guilt;
- Disengaging from anything that might be associated with tragic events;
- Sleep disturbances, nightmares, insomnia;
- Increased excitability, aggression;
- Emotional “numbing”, fear of intimate relations, unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s actions;
- Steady overstrain of the nervous system, down to its exhaustion;
- Psychopathic conditions.
Diagnosis and treatment of PTSD in adults and children
Post-traumatic stress disorders can occur in both adults and children. If you suspect a PTSD, you need to undergo a checkup from a psychologist or psychotherapist (psychiatrist). Diagnosis is based on patients’ complaints and identified signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, a comprehensive treatment of PTSD is prescribed, aimed at eliminating the identified symptoms and helping to overcome the consequences of psychological trauma.
Therapy of post-traumatic stress disorders is performed with the use of medications – antidepressants and antipsychotics, sleeping pills, as well as physiotherapy procedures (massage, exercise therapy, etc.). It is very important that during the treatment the patient should be surrounded by a calm, friendly atmosphere and experience positive emotions. For this purpose, in most cases, it is recommended that the patient’s condition should be corrected with the help of auxiliary methods:
- Art therapy, music therapy;
- Acupuncture, reflexotherapy;
- Animal therapy – hippo and dolphin therapy.
Dolphin therapy as a method of PTSD correction
In modern medical practice, dolphin therapy is increasingly being used as an effective method of correcting post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adults. The method is based on the interaction of a human being and the dolphin in a relaxed, playful atmosphere in which sessions take place.
Dolphins are intelligent, highly organized mammals known for their friendly attitude to people. Their cheerful and inquisitive character causes positive emotions both in children and adults and helps to relax as much as possible in the course of sessions. Dolphins by their nature do not tolerate violence and are absolutely non-aggressive towards a person, so in the course of sessions a kind of “friendship” between a person and an animal is built. This point is very important for patients who have suffered psychological trauma – kind and attentive to humans, dolphins help overcome psychological barriers in communication, isolation, and relieve the feeling of loneliness.
In addition to the emotional component, there is also a physiotherapeutic communication with a dolphin:
- Ultrasound, used by dolphins in the process of communication, is a powerful stimulator of metabolic processes in the body. It increases the activity of the cerebral cortex, which in turn activates the recovery processes of the nervous system. In addition, with the help of ultrasonic vibrations, micro-massage of internal organs takes place, which naturally has a positive effect on metabolic and regenerative processes.
- Swimming, in which virtually all muscle groups are actively involved. This positively affects the general condition of the body.
- Hydromassage of the skin and internal organs helps to relieve tension of the nervous system and, consequently, to overcome the effects of stress.
In the network of Nemo dolphinariums, corrective sessions are conducted for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. In the development of the training program, qualified specialists in dolphin therapy, psychologists and defectologists, swimming trainers and, of course, dolphins which have received special training.