About Trauma and PTSD News

Stop anxiety, nightmares and insomnia for better sleep.

I can’t sleep. When I lay in bed at night, my anxiety and bad memories haunt me and keep me awake. I’m scared if I fall asleep, the nightmares will come. Every night between 2am and 3am, I wake up again with insomnia. When my alarm finally goes off, I’m exhausted. It’s hard to focus on my schoolwork, exams and job interviews when I’m such a tired, jumpy mess.

Freda, University Student

Can’t sleep? You CAN stop anxiety, nightmares and insomnia caused by traumatic memories. With better sleep, you can invest your energy in building your future instead of being dragged down by your past. Try these three tips for a better night’s sleep, inspired by the legendary trauma expert, Dr. Judith Hermann.

1. Calm your nervous system

Trauma is stored in the body, not just the mind. You may notice that you’re more jumpy than usual, and you may feel your anxiety and fear in your body, a burning in your chest, shaky hands, tight shoulders or restless legs. Once you notice how you feel traumatic stress in your body, you can work to release it. Try a good workout like running or dancing to burn off nervous energy. Then, calm your nervous system with breathing-based movement like yoga or meditation. Body work like massage, Feldenkrais or acupuncture can also help rebalance your energy. A tired body and a calm nervous system will make you less likely to suffer from anxiety, nightmares and insomnia at night.

2. Clear your mind

Your mind may feel stuck in the past, as if the traumatic event is still happening now, over and over again. This is a typical symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Talk to your doctor about therapy for your trauma. In the meantime, writing about the traumatic memory can help you clear your mind to get a good night’s sleep. Detrauma is designed to walk you through five writing therapy exercises to relieve distressing symptoms like anxiety, nightmares and insomnia, day or night.

3. Reconnect with your life

Traumatic memories have a way of trapping you in the past. Try intentionally focusing your energy on the present moment to divert your mind. Activities that require your whole attention like playing sports, doing art, socializing and helping others will help retrain your mind to focus on the present moment rather than the past.

By calming your body and nervous system, clearing your mind of bad memories, and filling your days with joy and connection, you’re more likely to hit the pillow at night with a clear head and get a good night’s sleep without anxiety, nightmares and insomnia.

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About Detrauma About Trauma and PTSD About Written Exposure Therapy (WET)

The stress of college and a pandemic is real

Life in college can be stressful. In fact, 67-84% of students reported experiencing a traumatic event in their lives. 6-17% of those people experience symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms can make school even more stressful. Therapy is a time commitment, and having to balance school, work, and other extracurriculars can create a schedule that is unpredictable. How many people do YOU know who are available during work hours for an hour every week? Looking at the schedule posted by the school might seem light at first. Then everything else has to fit in those gaps somehow. It doesn’t help that most positions require time slots between 9-5.

“Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran

And now we also have a pandemic going in…

It may be significant that mental health becomes a campus-wide priority during the current pandemic. Lots of schools are still closing and plan to be shut down for the entire year due to the spread of COVID-19. Plenty of students are currently struggling to go if they need mental health services right away when they are off-campus. Even the ones that do exist, like telehealth, feel impersonal and distant. College students’ daily lives have been reshaped with necessary impositions of social distancing, self-isolation, and taking online courses.

Stress and PTSD increases

Quarantine has opened up more opportunities to encounter stress. Especially the emotional and physical stress that comes with a pandemic! Venting to friends through zoom or facetime calls just doesn’t feel the same. The frustrations that come with isolation might be harder to deal with symptoms of PTSD. It might be harder to avoid triggers when you are restricted to certain spaces and activities. Remember to take care of yourself during these stressful times, and to prioritize your mental and physical health!

Written Exposure Therapy can help!

Exposure therapy is creating a safe environment where an individual can face the object or thought they fear and through repeated exposure, can eventually learn that this object or thought is harmless. Written Exposure Therapy stems from this method and is a very accessible form of treatment. By writing the thoughts that an individual experiences when they are around or thinking of the feared stimulus, this is essentially the same as practicing exposure. Following a routine schedule of writing for 30 minutes each day, many people have found relief through implementing Written Exposure Therapy. 

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About Trauma and PTSD Overcoming Barriers to Beating PTSD

Overcoming trauma on your own time

Make peace with yourself through written exposure therapy for PTSD.
Detrauma is a series of guided writing prompts to help you tackle your trauma.

Trauma, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common occurrences in post-conflict areas. Many casualties of war are civilians, and those who survive may still have recurring symptoms of anxiety, nightmares, fear, flashbacks, dissociation, and more. Although your country may be at peace now, it is unfortunately still normal for a war to happen in your mind.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complex disease with thousands of different symptom profiles. Its treatment, therefore, is highly individualized to the needs of each patient. Take a moment to think for yourself: what do I need right now? What am I feeling? How am I, really? Make a list. Take deep breaths.

Barriers to PTSD treatment

People experiencing mental distress from trauma are at risk for many concurrent issues: substance abuse, depression, poor health practices, poor social support. While NGOs try to alleviate trauma and provide mental health resources to post-conflict citizenries, the fact of the matter is that in many post conflict countries, there are very few doctors, and even fewer psychiatrists. Trauma is a public health issue. The United States has a myriad of confusing processes for post-conflict trauma, and no explicit procedure for treating it. In South Sudan there is one doctor for every 70,000 people. People wait in lines for years, they give up and try to move on with their lives without treatment.

The reality is, post-traumatic stress disorder cannot be swept under the rug. Trauma is a valid, salient part of many societies. It affects the way people socialize, the entire temperament of nations. Post-traumatic growth is possible, though, and with Detrauma, you can cater your treatment to your needs and abilities. It does not require a doctor, and you can do it at your own pace in your own language. Remember, you are not crazy, but for a period of your life, your situation was. Post-traumatic stress disorder is your body and mind trying to protect you from dangers that were at one point very real.

Don’t lose hope. We are here for you.

It’s time for Detrauma to remind you that you are now free from these threats. Doctors say that five, thirty-minute guided writing sessions are enough to sometimes permanently archive traumatic memories. It’s time for you to live freely.

About Trauma and PTSD

Tips to tackle your trauma in three steps (infographic)

Ready to recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms, but don’t know where to start? Should you try EMDR first, start a gratitude journal, dive into exposure therapy, or practice yoga?

Trauma recovery is a three stage process, and you’ll recover faster and more fully if you focus on one step at a time. Our infographic shows you how to tackle each step:

1. Establish Safety
2. Remember and Mourn
3. Reconnect

Step 1: Establish Safety 
Train your nervous system to feel safe again with:
Breathing exercises
Good sleep habits
Healthy exercise & nutrition
Supportive counseling 
Step 2: Remember & Mourn
Confront distressing memories and mourn what was lost to file the trauma away in the past:
Writing therapy like Detrauma
Exposure therapy
Peer support groups
Step 3: Reconnect
Rebuild your life in the present and pursue aspirations for your future:
Develop and deepen relationships
Practice gratitude
Engage in social action
Connect with spirituality 
Express yourself through art
About Detrauma About Trauma and PTSD

Trauma relief for 1 billion survivors

One billion people worldwide (12.9% of the population) suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the WHO’s global mental health survey. The leading causes are intimate partner or sexual violence (28%) and unexpected death of a loved one (22%). Symptoms last, on average, six years, but for many they persist for decades. While median recovery time is 6 years, many never recover. Around a third of physical, intimate partner and sexual violence victims still endure PTSD symptoms 20 years after the trauma.

Only a quarter of PTSD sufferers get therapy

Post-traumatic stress causes debilitating symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares and panic attacks, which can shatter sufferers’ careers, family lives and physical health. Still, barriers to treatment, including cost and social stigma are so overwhelming that only a quarter of sufferers receive therapy. A dramatic shortage of trained therapists has led to wait lists of months or years at rape-crisis centers, refugee services and veterans clinics around the world.

A radically affordable digital solution

Detrauma is a radically affordable writing therapy, whose vision is to put relief into the hands of 1 billion survivors of trauma. Detrauma is based on Written Exposure Therapy, an evidence-based trauma treatment developed and clinically validated by researchers at the National Center for PTSD. It was designed to overcome the obstacles that prevent people from receiving effective trauma treatment. Users write about their trauma in five, 30-minute guided writing exercises, which are clinically proven to dramatically relieve symptoms of PTSD. Because the therapy is based on writing, rather than talking, it can easily be delivered via mobile phone, privately, at home. 

Rock-solid privacy and confidentiality

Social stigma, distrust of health services, and concerns about privacy and confidentiality are key barriers that prevent victims of trauma from seeking help. Detrauma’s privacy credentials are rock solid, because we don’t collect any data from our users. Detrauma doesn’t ask for a name, email, phone number, payment details, login, or any other personal information. All usage data is stored on the user’s own phone, and is not sent back to Detrauma. Users complete each writing exercise with a pen and paper. Afterward, they can even shred or burn the paper to avoid anyone ever reading it!

No fancy phone or internet required

To make trauma relief available to one billion survivors, we designed Detrauma to be used in lower resource environments. Detrauma is a light mobile app, which even works on older Android phones with limited memory or functionality. After download, it needs no internet access or data. It even works with shared mobile phones, as the writing exercises are done on paper, not on the device.

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About Trauma and PTSD

Will my PTSD ever go away?

A traumatic memory can be like an unwanted spam email that keeps clogging your inbox and getting in the way of your real life and work. You delete it, archive it, move it, mark it as spam, unsubscribe, but it just keeps popping up. When you try to open a different email, that means an old spam email pops up instead.  How can you get rid of it?