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Can Jaw Clenching, IBS, Pot Smoking Relate To PTSD??

15 Feb

Hi there. I heard your interview on New Dimensions Radio and it really rang true that I have had issues with post traumatic stress. I was witness to a suicide bomb in Jerusalem a few years ago. I think that my jaw clenching, irritable bowel syndrome and possibly my quasi-addiction to pot are related to this incident. What CDs would you recommend? Likewise, I just wanted to thank you for your work.
Take care,
Curtis
 

Dear Curtis,
Yes, it is certainly true that jaw clenching, many kinds of chronic, functional pain conditions, including IBS, and self-medicating & addictive behaviors can very well be part of a general posttraumatic stress reaction from helplessly witnessing the sudden carnage of a suicide bombing. You may have some of these other, more obvious PTSD symptoms as well: flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, sleep and concentration problems, anxiety, panic attacks, emotional and even physical numbness, mental confusion, memory impairment, (sometimes amnesia), shame, grief, anguish, irritability, temper, estrangement, alienation and loneliness.

Certainly any regular practice to restore your body’s self-regulating ability is all to the good, whether it’s general relaxation, exercise, meditation, yoga, massage therapy, journaling or one or more of the "Alphabet Therapies" I talk about in Invisible Heroes. (Your single-incident trauma is very suitable for EMDR, EFT, SE and other short-term methods.)  I would strongly recommend the Stress Hardiness Optimization CD for this – it’s having some wonderful effects on severe combat stress, and it should help with this.  It contains three simple, self-regulation exercises, plus imagery to promote general relaxation and with sleep.  The imagery for Irritable Bowel Syndrome would also be good for you, as it targets those symptoms. And because it’s been a while since this incident happened, the Healing Trauma (please link and show cover) imagery would also very likely be a help to you. 

Take care and good luck to you. I wish you a complete recovery.

All best,
Belleruth
 

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award