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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 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.

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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:
Yoga 
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
EMDR
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
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About Written Exposure Therapy (WET) Overcoming Barriers to Beating PTSD

Stuck on a waiting list for therapy? Try this while you wait.

After trauma strikes, survivors often hear, “go get therapy!” But when they try, they’re put on a waiting list for weeks, months or even years. What can you do if you’re stuck on a long waiting list for trauma therapy, and can’t afford private PTSD treatments?

We developed Detrauma to make a highly-effective trauma therapy accessible to everyone who needs it. The five, 30-minute writing sessions help you tackle the traumatic memories that may be the root-cause of your distress.

Clinical studies show that Detrauma’s writing exercises relieve PTSD symptoms and are just as effective as face-to-face trauma-focused therapy. It’s affordable, private, and you can finish it in five days or five weeks. It won’t jeopardize your position on the therapy waiting list, and you can even bring your writing to your first therapy session to give your treatment a flying start. In the meantime, you can start healing and enjoying life again.

Get Detrauma

Tried Detrauma? Let us know how we’re doing here:

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About Detrauma

What is Detrauma for PTSD?

Detrauma is a mobile app designed to help you tackle the symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The app guides you through three key steps: measuring your symptoms, completing five, 30-minute writing exercises, and tracking your progress. Detrauma is based on Written Exposure Therapy, an evidence-based treatment developed by researchers at the National Center for PTSD.

1. Measure your PTSD symptoms

The Detrauma app starts with a PTSD symptom quiz, so you can see how much your symptoms improve after each of the five writing exercises.

Detrauma’s Quiz measures the severity of your current post-traumatic stress symptoms. The Quiz asks 20 questions about the level of distress you’ve experienced recently, related to a single traumatic event in your past.

The Quiz is based on the PCL-5 (PTSD Checklist-5), a self-report questionnaire developed by PTSD researchers to measure symptoms of PTSD. Clinicians and professionals use the PCL-5 to screen individuals for PTSD and to monitor symptom change throughout treatment. While a PTSD diagnosis can only be made by a professional, the Quiz can help you track your own symptoms and progress.

2. Write about your trauma for 30 minutes

In each session, Detrauma will guide you through a 30-minute writing exercise, which you will do with pen and paper in a quiet space without distractions. In each exercise, you will recall a single traumatic memory and write about it, in detail. Grammar and spelling aren’t important.

The writing exercises are based upon Written Exposure Therapy, which was developed by scientists at the National Center for PTSD as a trauma-focused alternative to talk therapy. Clinical research shows that WET is as effective in treating PTSD as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), a ‘gold standard’ trauma therapy.

3. Track your progress

Following each of Detrauma’s five writing sessions, you will receive a personalized report to track your progress. The dashboard’s graphs and charts show you how your symptoms have improved since you started your Detrauma journey. We’ll give you customized tips to improve the effectiveness of each writing exercises to maximize your symptom relief.

You can decide to complete the five writing exercises in five days or five weeks. The important thing is to commit to a regular daily or weekly writing time in your schedule and follow through. Research shows that most people who fully engage in the writing sessions see their PTSD symptoms decrease significantly. Many WET participants no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD after just five writing sessions.

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Overcoming Barriers to Beating PTSD

How can I tackle PTSD on a tight budget?

Good trauma therapy can be transformational and liberating. Unfortunately, the high cost and a lack of insurance coverage put it out of reach for many.

Here are some alternatives to consider, depending on your budget.

$1,200 – Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) 

Trauma therapy can cost $200 per session, and with recommended programs like Prolonged Exposure lasting twelve sessions, a course of therapy can cost thousands of dollars. Check your health insurance to see if you have coverage for psychotherapy like PE.

$20 per session – Yoga

The effects of trauma are felt in both the mind and the body, and yoga is recommended by top trauma expert, Bessel van der Kolk, to reduce these effects. If a $20 yoga class isn’t affordable or accessible, then look for free yoga classes on YouTube. Stick to a weekly yoga practice to really experience the positive results. 

$200 – Weighted Blanket

Can’t sleep? A weighted blanket can give your body a feeling of safety and calm, like a big hug. It can reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety at bedtime, common with PTSD, which can help you sleep better. 

$5.99 – Detrauma writing exercises 

Writing exercises can help you process traumatic memories and reduce symptoms of PTSD. You tackle one distressing traumatic memory during five, 30-minute writing sessions with Detrauma. Clinical research shows that Written Exposure is as effective as talk therapy for treating PTSD.

Are you tackling PTSD on a budget? Register for Detrauma now.

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Overcoming Barriers to Beating PTSD

6 reasons people can’t get therapy for PTSD

While more than half of Americans live through a traumatic event in their lifetimes, many don’t get help afterward. Why? Good trauma therapy can be difficult to access, even for those who want and need help.

Researchers at the University of Vienna have compiled a list of the top reasons people either can’t access mental health treatment after trauma:

  1. It’s too expensive
  2. They don’t have time for therapy
  3. They don’t know where or how to get help
  4. Therapy isn’t covered by their health insurance
  5. Barriers like language prevent them accessing therapy
  6. Their family or friends don’t support getting  therapy

How can you tackle post traumatic stress if you can’t get access to therapy? Written Exposure is a clinically proven alternative to talk therapy to address PTSD. You write in a private place, in your own language, and you can even burn your paper once you’re done. Research shows that these writing exercises are equally or more effective than face-to-face psychotherapy to tackle the symptoms of post traumatic stress. With Detrauma, you’ll get all five 30-minute writing sessions for just 5 bucks. 

Can’t access therapy for trauma or PTSD? Try Detrauma instead.