Top Three Myths About PTSD

“Hey everybody. My name is Crystal Arber. I’m a registered social worker and a registered clinical counsellor. And today I want to talk to you about the top three myths of PTSD.”
“So myth number one is post-traumatic stress disorder should be called post-traumatic injury. And that’s because it’s not really a disorder. A disorder implies that it’s not treatable and this is just not true. We can treat PTSD and we can treat the PTSD brain by helping the brand reprocess the trauma in controlled ways through EMDR, prolonged exposure or cognitive behaviour therapies. Using therapies like EMDR really helps the brain reprocess the trauma so that reminders of the traumatic events, whether they be in childhood or a critical incident, can be put to bed, so to speak. And in other words, after the event is processed, the reminders that a person gets of the event are no longer disturbing.” 

“I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve been able to test this in a pilot intensive EMDR model for veterans and first responders and the outcomes with the EMDR model showed eliminated post-trauma symptoms. And for some, it was a great sense of relief.”
“So, myth number two is if you end up with PTSD, there’s something wrong with you; that you’re weak or inadequate because your colleague or friend that you grew up with didn’t get it, and maybe your friend was exposed to the same things you were in childhood. There’s this idea that one should be able to control how one response to a traumatic event and with all the neuroscience out there now, we know this is just simply not true, and this is particularly the case where first responders and veterans believe they’re weak or inadequate. So I want to put that myth to bed and explain that when a person is exposed to repeated fight-flight response, eventually the brain rewires in a way that sometimes, disturbing enough for a person, that they experience flashbacks or nightmares or a sense of numbness, complaining of being kind of shut off.” 

“It’s their brain’s way of trying to process it. However, with post-traumatic injuries, it’s like the brain gets stuck in this feedback loop and it kind of goes around in circles, which can be exhausting for a person. And this is why many people with post-traumatic injuries will end up turning to coping behaviours like substances or alcohol or food or cigarettes, maybe too much marijuana or any addictive behaviour that can just stop these really alarming symptoms. It’s a person’s way to try and control the disserving symptoms that are often unpredictable and really alarming.”
“So, myth number three is, well, I hear this a lot sometimes in healthcare circles, sometimes in my colleague circles where so many people are getting diagnosed with PTSD now, it’s really hard to take it seriously or to even validate that this person has PTSD. And it’s not so much that everyone’s getting diagnosed with PTSD.”

“It’s more that we’re in an age of awareness now that speaks to this culture, our culture, finally acknowledging trauma. We’re acknowledging trauma passed onto us from childhood and then passed on to our children. We’re acknowledging intergenerational trauma. We’re recognizing that generations of individuals, most especially survivors of residential schools, first nations who’ve survived this genocide from the residential schools, we’re recognizing that trauma is broad and reaches across culture, race, marginalized groups, not just survivors of trauma and childhood or critical incidents. And so those are my three top myths about PTSD. For more information, you can go to my website at