PTSD (also known as ‘battle fatigue’ or ‘shellshock’) is a severe anxiety disorder. One definition describes PTSD as the invasive recall of the traumatic event/s.
It is characterized by numerous symptoms :
- Flashbacks of the experience
- Nightmares/night terrors
- Trouble sleeping
- Easily startled
- Memory problems
- Avoiding things that are reminders of the trauma
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feeling alienated
- Suicidal thoughts
PTSD can be caused by many factors, such as experiencing or witnessing :
- Combat/military warfare
- Threat of death
- Car accidents
- Sexual/physical/emotional abuse
- Natural disasters
PTSD has to do with the way the memory stores information, especially traumatic information that is experienced, witnessed, or heard. It also had to do with the overactive adrenalin response to the situation, in turn creating a chemical imbalance in the brain. According to Japanese researcher Yutaka Matsuoka,
“Under the current view, recent memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before being consolidated into parts of the prefrontal cortex. An important distinction is that the hippocampus seems to be sensitive to fear responses while the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with executive function and higher reasoning, is not.
If stress-hyped memories in the hippocampus could be toned down before consolidation, chances of developing PTSD might also go down.”
PTSD may alter 3 areas of the brain : the hippocampus, the amygdala, and pre-frontal cortex. The amygdala are deep in the temporal lobes of the brain and are vital in processing emotions with memory. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is continuously creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), and it’s function is memory retention and processing of memories. Because the hippocampus is constantly growing new cells, it is understood that it is the ‘clearinghouse’, by replacing the old ‘memory’ cells with the new ones.
It has been shown that Omega fatty acids (specifically Omega 3) are important in brain health. This is where the hemp comes into play. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body, AND the brain. The brain has a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency in the Omega 3 fatty acids, brain-related disorders may occur. In the case of PTSD, the Omega 3 fatty acids help aid the hippocampus by increasing neurogenesis (creation of new cells). Omega 3s also help strengthen and protect the cells.
~ On a personal note : having been diagnosed as having severe PTSD in the past, I do notice that when I am eating hemp and hemp-based products I sleep better, am less anxious, and tend to startle less easily, as well as have lower incidences of migraines and flashbacks. ~
It is possible that a diet rich hemp and Omega fatty acids may decrease the incidence of PTSD, as well as help in the treatment of PTSD.
*Nutrition is only ONE aspect of treatment for PTSD and in no way is it intended to completely replace other treatments, (especially in severe cases of PTSD), including prescribed medications and counseling. While some may be hesitant to take medication, it is sometimes needed, even temporarily, to help get the the brain chemicals back in balance.
**The information in this article is from my own personal reading and research and is NOT intended to be medical advice. It is for informational purposes only. I do NOT recommend going off prescribed medications and using hemp products to replace them. If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.