power of prayer

  1. Post-traumatic stress of heart attack and stroke

    Heart attacks lead to PTSD

    Surviving a heart attack or stroke is just one battle in a much bigger war -- one where your life is on the line every single day, because you're now automatically at risk for a second heart attack or stroke down the road.

    And in some cases, your risk could shoot up even higher because of something other than the physical damage left behind.

    It's stress -- the extreme and lasting stress that marks post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Nearly a quarter of heart attack and stroke survivors suffer PTSD within a year of the initial event, according to new research -- and for nearly 10 percent, the stress lingers for a year or more.

    By itself, PTSD is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke even if you've never had any hint of a heart problem.

    But if you're already fighting your way back from a heart attack or stroke, that same post-traumatic stress can double your risk of death within three years, according to the study of 1,138 stroke or heart attack survivors.

    Clearly, it's not enough to simply take care of the immediate and obvious physical damage of a heart attack or stroke. You have to do more -- and that means a holistic approach that focuses on the mind as well as the body, since what happens to one clearly has a deep and lasting impact on the other.

    And if you're suffering from the nightmares, fear, panic attacks as well as the racing heart and high blood pressure that often mark PTSD -- whether you've had a heart attack or stroke or not -- it's time to get a grip on the post-traumatic stress before it gets a grip on you.

    There are a number of natural remedies that can help you to overcome post-traumatic stress, including acupuncture, homeopathic treatments and relaxing herbal medicines. I wish I could say it's as simple as "take this and be cured," but it's not, since the best remedies will vary based on your specific PTSD symptoms.

    A skilled holistic doctor can help you sort it all out.

    Finally, remember that PTSD is often marked by overwhelming feelings of fear -- and one of the best ways to counter that is with a power far greater than any fear: God.

    Prayer is a proven stress-buster -- whether it's everyday stress, or the extreme and chronic stress that marks PTSD. It's safe, it's free and it's available anytime, anywhere.

    Why not put that power to work for you?

  2. Psychotherapy as good as antidepressant drugs

    Beat depression without drugs

    I'm not always impressed by studies that find a depression treatment works as well as antidepressant drugs because the drugs themselves often can't beat placebos in many studies.

    And if the drug can't beat a placebo, then any treatment that works "as well" as that drug is also, at the end of the day, only about as good as a placebo.

    So bear that in mind when you read about a new study that finds psychotherapy works -- because the review of 198 published studies finds that it works about as well as many common (ineffective) antidepressant drugs.

    Supposedly, seven different forms of psychotherapy -- including both group sessions and face-to-face sessions -- all work equally well, although some may be better for certain patients than others.

    The study also finds that these treatments are equally effective in younger patients, older patients, and even new mothers battling the baby blues.

    Now, while any form of psychotherapy is certainly preferable to drugs in most cases, neither treatment -- talk therapy or medication -- will do anything to address the real roots of depression.

    And that's why patients who rely on either drugs or psychotherapy never really get cured -- not for long, anyway, which is why they often end up back in therapy or back on drugs.

    You might even know a few people who've been in and out of therapy or on and off of drugs over the years.

    I prefer to address the roots of depression -- and when depression is not caused by an obvious life event such as the loss of a loved one, it's usually caused by nutritional deficiencies and/or hormonal imbalances.

    Drugs won't fix that, and neither will psychotherapy.

    A holistic physician can run some tests to determine what's causing your depression -- and once you know the cause, you can work on the cure with either natural hormonal supplementation or brain-friendly nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids.

    PS: When it seems like no one can help ease your depression, remember that there is always someone who can -- and He makes house calls whenever you ask. Prayer is some of the strongest medicine around, so don't be afraid to give it a try when you need it most.

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