Call us: (830) 624-6846

6102 FM 311
Spring Branch, TX 78070 

Blog

Ask Dr. Sheila

By Sheila Mchenry 28 Jun, 2017
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in our society. The causes are many. Clinically, in order to develop PTSD one must be exposed to a life threatening situation, directly experiencing the threat or being a witness to it. Common causes range from serious car accidents, physical or sexual abuse, assault, domestic violence, or combat. Secondary PTSD occurs when people vicariously experience trauma through another. Family members, friends, law enforcement, first responders and mental health providers may be susceptible.
When a person experiences a “normal” memory, the brain processes all the sensory and cognitive information from the event. During sleep, this information is “sorted” in the brain, with essential information stored, and non-essential information released. In life threatening situations, the chemistry of the brain, and brain functions change dramatically. Most people are familiar with the term “fight or flight”, a brain and body condition related to the body and brain processing a significant threat. This state of “fight or flight” actually changes how information is processed by the brain.

In these situations, the brain records all the sensory data related to the threat in extreme detail: all the information related to sound, smell, visuals, taste and touch is stored. Due to the change in the way this information is handled in the brain, it does not process like other information. Instead it is stored, in the brain and body, in the way it was experienced. All the sensory information is stored with the memory of the event.

Because of how those traumatic exposures are stored in the brain and body, people with PTSD are triggered by things that reactive the memories associated with the trauma they experienced. Sounds, smells, things seen--can all reactivate the original memory. This can show up in unexpected ways. For instance, while the rest of us are enjoying fireworks, some of our veterans are sitting in their homes with headphones on trying not to hear the concussions of their neighbors’ celebrations. For them, fireworks may no longer be a pleasurable experience. For some, it takes them back to dangerous, life threatening situations.

This example can be seen by the person involved with a traumatizing car accident. Driving can, after an accident, be very challenging. People can find themselves very anxious, with constant triggering possible from other drivers driving recklessly, to coming “too close”, or just the fear of being hit again.

These PTSD cues can play out over and over again because the brain learns to scan for danger in the current environment. Ask anyone with law enforcement or war experience where they want to sit in a restaurant! They typically want the wall behind them so they can watch the room and not have a blind spot behind them. This hypervigilance is part of the world of dealing with PTSD. And the triggers can be as varied as the people experiencing them.

There are real concerns for the wellbeing of our veterans, law enforcement and first responders. They have been exposed on a regular basis to incomprehensible dangers and the aftermath of human tragedy. Many friends in law enforcement have told me that they are not allowed to disclose their PTSD for fear of being stigmatized or face reassignment.

Medication can be a great help to those dealing with PTSD. I believe that trauma counseling and medication combined is the most effective means of assisting those with this condition actually process their exposures. Many advances have been made, and are continuing to be made in assisting people in recovering from the impact of experiencing traumatic events. As a society and a community, we must remember to treat those with PTSD with respect and care as they work to process the difficult, if not overwhelming, things they were exposed to. They have been there for us; we need to be able to lend support and be there for them as they seek to heal.

A specific therapy, discovered in the late eighties, is EMDR. Dr. McHenry was trained in EMDR by the originator, Dr. Francine Shapiro, in 1994 and has successfully worked with people with PTSD to fully resolve or improve their PTSD symptoms.

For more information on EMDR, please see the EMDRIA.org website. I will write more on EMDR in another post.
By Sheila Mchenry 20 Jan, 2017
We are excited to begin this blog as an easy way to share information with visitors. Dr. Sheila is starting to write articles for a local magazine and we welcome your feedback or questions. Check back for updates!
By Sheila Mchenry 20 Jan, 2017
Anyone can make one:
For better or worse, anyone can write a blog post about anything they want. Everyone has a voice and the best voices will rise to the top.

The writer can show their personality:
In blog posts, the writer has more leeway to add in their voice and personality than other types of writing.

Blogs are a great form of mass communication:
You can help people, learn new things, entertain your audience—the possibilities are endless and amazing. Blogging opens up all of these to a very wide audience.

You can make money:

Get the right blog going and you can make a lot of money through advertising and sponsored posts.

It allows people to craft better thoughts:
Instead of reading haphazard, uneducated Facebook statuses, it’s much better to see people’s thought process in a well-written blog post.

You can establish a community:
Blogging allows you to connect with other individuals who share the same interests. Sharing ideas and opinions within your community helps establish yourself as a thought leader.

Good for SEO:
Keeping content on your site fresh and relevant, you can use your blog to boost the search engine ranking (SEO) of your site and your business.

It brings people back to your site:

If your blog is strong enough and updated regularly, people will come back looking for more and bring traffic back to your site as well.

It’s free:
It costs you a grand total of zero dollars to post to the blog, so if you have something to say, there’s nothing to stop you.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader:

A blog is a great place for your original thoughts, and it can be a wonderful way to show off your individuality. If people like your ideas, you can become a thought leader in your industry!

What else do you love about blogs? Let me know!

Ask Dr. Sheila

By Sheila Mchenry 28 Jun, 2017
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is prevalent in our society. The causes are many. Clinically, in order to develop PTSD one must be exposed to a life threatening situation, directly experiencing the threat or being a witness to it. Common causes range from serious car accidents, physical or sexual abuse, assault, domestic violence, or combat. Secondary PTSD occurs when people vicariously experience trauma through another. Family members, friends, law enforcement, first responders and mental health providers may be susceptible.
When a person experiences a “normal” memory, the brain processes all the sensory and cognitive information from the event. During sleep, this information is “sorted” in the brain, with essential information stored, and non-essential information released. In life threatening situations, the chemistry of the brain, and brain functions change dramatically. Most people are familiar with the term “fight or flight”, a brain and body condition related to the body and brain processing a significant threat. This state of “fight or flight” actually changes how information is processed by the brain.

In these situations, the brain records all the sensory data related to the threat in extreme detail: all the information related to sound, smell, visuals, taste and touch is stored. Due to the change in the way this information is handled in the brain, it does not process like other information. Instead it is stored, in the brain and body, in the way it was experienced. All the sensory information is stored with the memory of the event.

Because of how those traumatic exposures are stored in the brain and body, people with PTSD are triggered by things that reactive the memories associated with the trauma they experienced. Sounds, smells, things seen--can all reactivate the original memory. This can show up in unexpected ways. For instance, while the rest of us are enjoying fireworks, some of our veterans are sitting in their homes with headphones on trying not to hear the concussions of their neighbors’ celebrations. For them, fireworks may no longer be a pleasurable experience. For some, it takes them back to dangerous, life threatening situations.

This example can be seen by the person involved with a traumatizing car accident. Driving can, after an accident, be very challenging. People can find themselves very anxious, with constant triggering possible from other drivers driving recklessly, to coming “too close”, or just the fear of being hit again.

These PTSD cues can play out over and over again because the brain learns to scan for danger in the current environment. Ask anyone with law enforcement or war experience where they want to sit in a restaurant! They typically want the wall behind them so they can watch the room and not have a blind spot behind them. This hypervigilance is part of the world of dealing with PTSD. And the triggers can be as varied as the people experiencing them.

There are real concerns for the wellbeing of our veterans, law enforcement and first responders. They have been exposed on a regular basis to incomprehensible dangers and the aftermath of human tragedy. Many friends in law enforcement have told me that they are not allowed to disclose their PTSD for fear of being stigmatized or face reassignment.

Medication can be a great help to those dealing with PTSD. I believe that trauma counseling and medication combined is the most effective means of assisting those with this condition actually process their exposures. Many advances have been made, and are continuing to be made in assisting people in recovering from the impact of experiencing traumatic events. As a society and a community, we must remember to treat those with PTSD with respect and care as they work to process the difficult, if not overwhelming, things they were exposed to. They have been there for us; we need to be able to lend support and be there for them as they seek to heal.

A specific therapy, discovered in the late eighties, is EMDR. Dr. McHenry was trained in EMDR by the originator, Dr. Francine Shapiro, in 1994 and has successfully worked with people with PTSD to fully resolve or improve their PTSD symptoms.

For more information on EMDR, please see the EMDRIA.org website. I will write more on EMDR in another post.
By Sheila Mchenry 20 Jan, 2017
We are excited to begin this blog as an easy way to share information with visitors. Dr. Sheila is starting to write articles for a local magazine and we welcome your feedback or questions. Check back for updates!
By Sheila Mchenry 20 Jan, 2017
Anyone can make one:
For better or worse, anyone can write a blog post about anything they want. Everyone has a voice and the best voices will rise to the top.

The writer can show their personality:
In blog posts, the writer has more leeway to add in their voice and personality than other types of writing.

Blogs are a great form of mass communication:
You can help people, learn new things, entertain your audience—the possibilities are endless and amazing. Blogging opens up all of these to a very wide audience.

You can make money:

Get the right blog going and you can make a lot of money through advertising and sponsored posts.

It allows people to craft better thoughts:
Instead of reading haphazard, uneducated Facebook statuses, it’s much better to see people’s thought process in a well-written blog post.

You can establish a community:
Blogging allows you to connect with other individuals who share the same interests. Sharing ideas and opinions within your community helps establish yourself as a thought leader.

Good for SEO:
Keeping content on your site fresh and relevant, you can use your blog to boost the search engine ranking (SEO) of your site and your business.

It brings people back to your site:

If your blog is strong enough and updated regularly, people will come back looking for more and bring traffic back to your site as well.

It’s free:
It costs you a grand total of zero dollars to post to the blog, so if you have something to say, there’s nothing to stop you.

You can establish yourself as a thought leader:

A blog is a great place for your original thoughts, and it can be a wonderful way to show off your individuality. If people like your ideas, you can become a thought leader in your industry!

What else do you love about blogs? Let me know!
Share by: