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By David Selberg | Published on 07.08.2015 1:39 p.m.

Dear friends,

Whenever possible, Hospice of Santa Barbara utilizes the most effective therapies to help its clients and patients through the difficult and painful experiences that come with grief and loss. One new treatment that a number of Hospice of Santa Barbara counselors use is EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Our brains and nervous systems are intended to handle stress and trauma — to a point. When our system is overwhelmed by a trauma, it goes into overload. The result is that the anxiety of these traumatic events stays “locked” in our nervous system causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD can develop after a major traumatic event, either emotional or physical. This disorder is characterized by flashbacks and nightmares, and is commonly found in returning military personnel and in people who have experienced natural disasters, witnessed serious accidents and injury, or been victims of crimes — any situation in which they have experienced intense fear, a sense of helplessness and horror.

It is estimated that about 10 percent of the U.S. population has or has had symptoms of PTSD. It affects people of all ages who have experienced a trauma. Some people can recover from a traumatic event with brief therapy and the support of loved ones. But for others, it persists — often for years.

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