Complex PTSD: How a New Diagnosis Differs From Standard PTSD

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Your palms sweat. Your heart races. You don’t remember where you are — are you here, now, or back in another, scarier time?

This is a flashback. And for many people living with PTSD, it’s a common experience. Faced with a reminder of a traumatic event, someone with PTSD can be jerked back into the mental, emotional and even physical experience of trauma.

But what happens when that trauma is ongoing, or a prolonged series of events? This is where a Complex PTSD diagnosis bridges an important behavioral health gap.

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A Day in the Life of a Talkspace Therapist: Melissa Moreno

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In this series we look at a day in the lives of Talkspace therapists. Their stories illustrate the joys and challenges of dedicating one’s life to helping others improve their mental health, and cope with mental illness. Today’s featured Talkspace therapist is Melissa Moreno.

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What is Invisible Illness? (+ How to Explain it to Others)

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As the founder of mental health awareness organization The Invisible Illnesses, Emily Torchiana has found that explaining invisible illnesses to others is now second nature. Torchiana travels the country speaking about her experiences with cyber bullying, a suicide attempt, and mental illnesses, all of which give a voice to the invisible.

“Our slogan is ‘Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.’ You can’t see depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses physically, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist,” Torchiana tells Talkspace.

Continue reading What is Invisible Illness? (+ How to Explain it to Others)

Is It a Normal Fight or Verbal Abuse? Here’s How to Tell

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Even the most dynamic of duos has the occasional fight. Whether it begins with “Who forgot to take the dog out?” or “Do I really have to go to your brother’s birthday party?”, having arguments is a common — and healthy — part of any relationship.

But in some cases, what we call an “argument” is actually something worse. Ever had a partner who criticizes everything you do? Who shouts and uses cruel language when they get angry (and they may fly off the handle a lot)? Who makes you feel like you’re wrong or “too sensitive” when you try to speak up?

Continue reading Is It a Normal Fight or Verbal Abuse? Here’s How to Tell

Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Face Unique Challenges to Recovery

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According to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in six U.S. men have experienced sexual violence, and 17% of those men develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In my years practicing therapy, I’ve found male survivors face unique challenges to recovery, yet hesitate to get the help they need.

The question is why.

For one, we don’t hear much about male sexual assault survivors, although one study found sexual assault history was common among both women and men, reported by 25% of women and 16% of men surveyed. The research participants also faced similar long-term problems, regardless of gender.

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Raised by Anxious Parents? Here’s How it Might Be Affecting Your Mental Health

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In my practice, I see many clients who grew up in very anxious families. Parents may have suffered from generalized anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Often, these parents were never formally diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and it’s only after the fact, during adulthood, that clients are able to recognize and understand how anxious their parents were — and how it has affected their mental health, both during childhood and into adulthood.

Continue reading Raised by Anxious Parents? Here’s How it Might Be Affecting Your Mental Health

Recognizing Trauma vs. PTSD: A Quick Primer on Symptoms

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Imagine you have just had a car accident on the way home from work. Would you consider this a traumatic experience? What about if you left a country with oppressive government to find asylum in a safer country? Would you consider that traumatic?

There are different kinds of trauma you may experience. In the past, trauma meant experiencing events such as torture or abuse. But mental health professionals have come to see trauma as being more varied. How will you know if you or someone you love is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic stress? Clarification begins first with the definition of trauma.

The International Society for Trauma Stress Studies defines trauma as a set of mild to severe reactions to, “shocking and emotionally overwhelming situations that may involve actual or threatened death, serious injury, or threat to physical integrity.” Continue reading Recognizing Trauma vs. PTSD: A Quick Primer on Symptoms

Understanding the Lingering Impact of Trauma on Relationships

Why do some people become addicted?

“Someone who has experienced trauma also has gifts to offer all of us – in their depth, their knowledge of our universal vulnerability, and their experience of the power of compassion.”  – Sharon Salzberg, author and teacher.

– by Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC / Talkspace Therapist 

Understanding the Lingering Impact of Trauma on Relationships

It’s 7:10 PM and you’re anxiously waiting at the restaurant your partner has picked out for your weekly date night. You usually run a little late because you try on three different outfits before you leave, but tonight you arrived early for your 7 PM dinner reservation and have been waiting at the restaurant since 6:50 PM.

You want to show your partner that you’re committed to working on your punctuality. The server has stopped by several times to take your order, and you’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable as you wait for your partner.

Continue reading Understanding the Lingering Impact of Trauma on Relationships

How to Exercise Your Way to Mental Health

How to Exercise Your Way to Mental Health

Sure, exercise can help improve your physical & mental health, while making you look & feel better than a sedentary lifestyle ever could, but it’s a lot of hard work.

It’s not easy to exercise your way to mental health. And we totally get it; you don’t need to tell us about the difficulty involved in finding the motivation to do some 50 sit-ups in the morning, or several sets of 42 squats right after work. But, you won’t get to experience all of the benefits of exercise without actually exerting yourself on a regular basis. Indeed, it is a harsh reality. Continue reading How to Exercise Your Way to Mental Health

You Need to Know These Facts About Veterans and PTSD

How to Help Veterans Deal with PTSD Live Better

“When the peace treaty is signed, the war isn’t over for the veterans, or the family. It’s just starting.” – Karl Marlantes

Our sense of security stems from knowing many of our bravest men and women are prepared to put down their lives to protect us. On the other hand, those who have witnessed the horrors of war inevitably have to cope with the impacts of those experiences such as post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. The first step towards taking care of these veterans is understanding how PTSD affects their community.  Continue reading You Need to Know These Facts About Veterans and PTSD