The term “triggered” has gotten a mixed reputation in recent years as it has come to be associated with the efforts of many colleges and universities to protect students from upsetting content or ideas. This new meaning of the term started with the best of intentions. Professors covering material that could be upsetting for those with a history of trauma began to warn students beforehand; hence the term “trigger warning.” Gradually, the term’s use broadened as college communities increasingly used it to warn students about the use of anything that might conceivably be upsetting. (This was unfortunate, as ultimately it is impossible to protect all students from ever being upset by the material, perspectives, or ideas presented in class.) However, triggers are a serious problem for people who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event.[Read more…]
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that can set in following a traumatic event (or series of events). Many different kind of events can cause PTSD. These include assaults, motor vehicle accidents, combat experiences, rape, abuse, some medical events, and several other situations. These events do not always cause PTSD. When they do, it is smart to seek treatment. The reason for this is that certain types of therapy can be very effective for PTSD, and can cause significant improvements in quality of life. Very recently, the American Psychological Association assembled a guideline for PTSD treatment options. This guideline is based on extensive reviews of high quality research. (Learn more about why research is important for psychotherapy.) The four treatment options that were “strongly recommended” were: [Read more…]
Many people with sleep difficulties say that Sunday night insomnia is a real problem for them. Why is Sunday night so tough for some people?
Cause 1: Anxiety
Part of the reason we are prone to Sunday night insomnia might be obvious: it is often harder to get to sleep if we are worrying about upcoming work or school. This worry can make it difficult to get to sleep, whether or not it is well-founded. Many people with Sunday night insomnia say they cannot imagine how they will cope with the work and [Read more…]
Insomnia and alcohol
For those of us who have trouble falling asleep at night, one often enjoyable fix can be an alcoholic beverage. “A glass of wine puts me right to sleep,” say many insomnia sufferers glad to have found a seeming solution. This may be true, but it will typically not lead to sustained and undisturbed sleep though the night. (One obvious drawback to using alcohol to get to sleep is the likelihood of needing to get up during the night to use the bathroom. For some insomnia sufferers it can be difficult to get back to sleep afterwards.)
Even people who drink more than the recommended maximum of seven drinks per week for women — fourteen for men — need not let alcohol interfere with sleep. It’s drinking close to bedtime that is most problematic. If alcohol is consumed several hours earlier, it will have much less of an effect on nighttime sleep than if consumed just before going to bed.
Many people with insomnia fail to recognize the impact of napping and dozing on nighttime sleep. It is tempting for people with insomnia, after a bad night’s sleep, to try to take advantage of opportunities to sleep when they can, even if it’s a mid-morning nap. The problem with napping is that when we nap for more than 25 or 30 minutes, we enter into slow wave sleep. This type of sleep will interfere with nighttime sleep because our bodies only need so much of it per day. So is [Read more…]