PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Join Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc, former Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for an informative session on naturopathic approaches to PTSD. Hear about his firsthand journey as a doctor and veteran in navigating traumatic issues with patients.

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PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Join Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc, former Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for an informative session on naturopathic approaches to PTSD. Hear about his firsthand journey as a doctor and veteran in navigating traumatic issues with patients.

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

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To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.


About the Presenter

Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc completed his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Barry University in Miami, Florida. He earned his Master of Science in Acupuncture and Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine (UBSNM) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. While pursuing his studies, he served as a Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for six years. It was through his military experience that he developed a special interest in working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients, and as a result completed his thesis on understanding and treating PTSD using a naturopathic approach. Dr. Radley served one deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait and Iraq.

He has co-authored two articles published by Naturopathic Doctor News and Review :

PTSD: Using a Naturopathic Approach to Understand & Treat the Disorder
Traumatic Brain Injury: Clinical Applications & Plausible Interventions

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*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 06/12/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss naturopathic approaches to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • PTSD statistics
  • No “statute of limitations” on trauma
  • Different ways symptoms may be presented
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Resiliency
  • Creating your safe space
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. I’m so pleased to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the Executive Director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care and public health. As AANMC’s Executive Director, Dr. Yanez oversees research, advocacy efforts and the joint academic endeavors of the Accredited Colleges of Naturopathic Medicine. Additionally, she helps spread awareness of naturopathic medicine as a viable and satisfying career path. Dr. Yanez, welcome back to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning. Hi. How are you?

Erin Brinker: I’m good. Are you surviving this heat?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: In the pool.

Erin Brinker: Yeah, because that’s really the only place where you can be comfortable.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is, it is. California problems. I can’t complain too much.

Erin Brinker: No. You know, anywhere you live, there’s going to be a season that’s uncomfortable. It’ll be too cold or too hot or too sticky or too whatever. This is our uncomfortable season. But for nine months out of the year or eight months out of the year, it’s pretty awesome here, so we can’t complain.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. Agreed.

Erin Brinker: So, one of the challenges that we’ve been talking about, the 9/11 responders and some of these diseases of despair that we’re seeing, so, depression and suicide and drug addiction and alcoholism. For many people, PTSD is the driver. So, some sort of trauma is the driver behind this. From a naturopathic standpoint, how do you treat PTSD?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is so complex and comprehensive, Erin. It’s estimated that about 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some sort of traumatic event at least once in their lives, which… Just swallow that for a moment. 70% of adults.

Erin Brinker: 70%.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, and when you look at the military, PTSD is a huge issue. And one, actually, that unequally impacts, women over men. 17% of the combat troops are women. However, 71% of female military personnel develop PTSD, commonly including because of the sexual assault as well as combat. And so, when you look at those numbers overall, it’s a military issue, it’s a civilian issue. And from the naturopathic approach, like we’ve talked about before, we take a whole-person approach. And oftentimes these traumatic events… Sometimes people will register that something as traumatic and sometimes they won’t even necessarily have processed fully, the event until much later.

Many, many times I’ve heard from people while we’re getting a history and we’re developing a relationship in that process of the naturopathic interview, which is extremely comprehensive, we will hear that folks may not have fully put the pieces together on a traumatic event. “Oh, man. You know, I had this teacher in college 30 years ago who was touching my thigh inappropriately. And ever since I’ve felt X,” and they may not have fully, in the moment, realized what was happening, but later on it starts to come to them. So, there’s no statute of limitations on trauma.

Erin Brinker: No.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, I think that what happens is… And that event, in and of itself, can become traumatizing and re-living things and thinking about it and processing it and what could I have done differently or what do I do about this? And so, with the ND approach, we take a very whole-person approach. We look to address the root cause.

I remember a patient I had had many years ago. She had chronic insomnia, she was in her 60s and had tried everything. Acupuncture, medication, counselors. You name it. And we did an approach, kind of modified cognitive behavioral therapy, that addressed the root of the issue, which for her, involved her parents… Her dad was in a cult and she had to not only watch things, but she would also stay hyper-alert at night to make sure her younger sister didn’t get taken. And so-

Erin Brinker: Oh my gosh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Awful. Absolutely awful. And she had been to counselors and she’d worked through things, but the cognitive behavioral therapy helps people reframe and take the emotion and the fear out of the actual event. And she followed up the following week and shared that she had slept for the first time through the night. And this is a woman in her 60s who experienced this in childhood. And so, some of the mind-body approaches can be very helpful.

The other thing about PTSD, like you were alluding to earlier, is that the symptoms can manifest in a lot of different ways. There can be cardiac symptoms like heart palpitations. There can be anxiety and depression. Folks may self-medicate with pharmaceuticals or prescription-

Erin Brinker: Or food.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … or nonprescription drugs or food or sex. And so, they will use, sometimes we call maladaptive coping mechanisms, to deal with the stressors and ultimately suicide as that last-ditch maladaptive coping mechanism, if you want to even call it that.

At the end of the day we really look to the whole-person approach and care. So, there may be supplementation and maybe addressing some of the other things that are manifesting while we’re getting to the root cause of the post-traumatic stress and working on some of the issues that way.

Erin Brinker: So, one of the challenges in low-income communities, communities of poverty, is that there very often are traumatic events, one on top of the other. You have incarceration, you have people who frequently have to move around because they have unstable housing. There may have been homelessness, there may have been addiction. And so, the kids who grow up in that environment-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Food insecurity.

Erin Brinker: Oh yeah, food instability, lack of healthcare. Very often, unstable family situations. There may be parental figures that move in and out of the child’s life or not there at all. There could be kids going into foster care. And so, how is a child who grows up in that environment? That’s got to impact them forever. And how do you overcome that from a naturopathic standpoint?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Again, it is so complex and it’s so individual. There are people… Some of this, and I hate to… Nobody is at fault here. I don’t want for one minute for any of this to be construed that, you know, a child who’s being bounced in and out of foster care or someone who has been placed in circumstances that they have no control over is at any way at fault. There is a resiliency. And I had a mentor years ago. There are a lot of euphemisms in this, but when you lose, “don’t lose the lesson” or when you fall, “it’s not about the fall, it’s about the get-up.” And so, the resiliency piece and fostering a spirit of resiliency is not… We’ve talked about positivity before, and not that any of those types of things are positive, but folks who are able to find their personal happiness and who are able to create some sort of a positive out of the situation are more resilient and less able to see the negative impact.

Resiliency has been studied quite a bit, and the types of personalities and traits that foster resiliency. And in and of itself, if a person is coming to see a naturopathic doctor for conditions like this, they’re obviously exhibiting that they want help.

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Or any other practitioner for that matter. They’re saying that they want help. So, the first step is acknowledgement. The first step is saying, “Something not so great happened and I want to get help for this. I’m worth the help. I want to get better.” And so, that is the first step, is just identifying it and recognizing the need for care and committing to that. So, with naturopathic medicine, we will focus on mind-body medicine, there may be botanical medicine. Other types of therapies like acupuncture have been used.

I remember seeing a patient. You want to talk multiple traumas? He was a military vet who fell on homelessness, he got involved in some illegal activities, he was incarcerated. During his incarceration, he contracted hepatitis and HIV.

Erin Brinker: Oh, my gosh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, he was homeless and he was surviving. And when he first came in, there was a huge bravado about him. He was talking about all the people he’d killed and how tough he was. And he was homeless, dirty. I laid him down. I said, “This is a safe place for you.” I was, honestly, a little scared myself.

Erin Brinker:  I bet.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I kept the door open, just a crack. But I sat with him and I listened and I did some acupuncture and I left. And came back to check on him, took the needles out. Didn’t see him again. And I figured, with his housing situation, maybe he’s moved or not able to get to the clinic or what have you. And I really didn’t give it too much more thought.

And then a few months later, my front desk person says, “Hey, Dr. Yanez, there’s somebody here to see you. They don’t have an appointment.” And I said, “Hold on a minute. I’m running in between, checking on patients.” And so, I went to the front and I didn’t recognize anybody in the waiting room.

And my front desk person said, “No, no, no. Come over here. This gentleman wants to talk to you.” And it turns out this was the homeless man. He was clean-shaven, he got into a halfway house and he had started counseling boys at risk and he wanted to come back and tell me thank you.

Erin Brinker: Oh, my goodness.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, it’s the type of thing that you never know. Sometimes you could see a patient for years and not get that kind of reaction or maybe all somebody needed was someone caring and showing that they cared. Very often in these types of situations when you’re dealing with homelessness or abuse, people feel un-cared for. They don’t feel safe. Creating a safe space is a very important.

I’ve learned a lot of different guided imagery/hypnosis therapies over the year. And one of the first things that I used to do with folks was to create a mental image of a safe place. Because as you’re going to ask them to go to those places that were not safe, you want to give them a tool to be able to feel safe when they start to feel scared.

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, we would create this mental safe place. Some people would bring in Jesus, some people would bring in their teddy bear or some people will bring in their dog. It varied and there was no judgment. Your safe place is your safe place. And whatever it was that made you feel safe and secure.

And so, I think that there are so many different ways to approach it. Each patient’s going to be different. Each patient’s going to need something different. And the great thing about a naturopathic doctor’s education is that we learned so many tools and we can pull from those to find the appropriate ones for the patient at that moment in time.

Erin Brinker: Wow. Wow. So, we are just about out of time. How do people find and follow you and learn more about the AANMC?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh boy, we’re all over the interwebs! You can find AANMC all over social media. Just Google AANMC and we will pop up. We have a webinar next week led by a veteran, Dr. Radley Ramdhan, who’s going to be talking about his work with PTSD and veterans, and his own journey with PTSD. And so, he’s a naturopathic doctor. He’s a recent grad and wonderful guy, and is going to be leading our webinar next week on PTSD.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. Yanez, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, it’s always a treat to have you on the show. Thank you so much for joining us today. For those of you all who are interested in being a naturopathic doctor, maybe you’re kind of thinking, “Huh, that might be interesting,” you can go to AANMC.org for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges to get more information. Dr. Yanez, thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you for having me. Have a great day.

Erin Brinker: Thank you. You too. All right, so with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We will be right back.

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Dr. Radley Ramdhan – UBSNM

“The experience of serving in the military has provided me with a deeper appreciation for life, a stronger desire to help others, the flexibility of thinking outside the box, and has shown me the importance of patience and humility, all of which helped me through medical school and now in practice. Often times, I am able to draw on military experiences to relate to patients, and as a result, I can help them more effectively. Resiliency, flexibility, and adaptability are some qualities from the military that have made me a stronger naturopathic doctor.”

Laying the groundwork to become an ND

Radley Ramdhan’s childhood dreams were to be a pilot and serve in the United States Army – never did he dream of becoming a doctor. It wasn’t until later in high school when his grandfather was dying, that Dr. Ramdhan recognized his calling, “I saw how the health care system in Trinidad and Tobago was lacking, and decided I wanted to pursue a career in medicine to help fill that void and make a difference.” Dr. Ramdhan describes his grandfather’s treatment as “a pill for every ill.” At last it was determined that his continuous decline was due to the amount of medication he was on. Unfortunately, by that point, his kidneys and liver were damaged, and he was addicted to sleep medication. Dr. Ramdhan was determined to become a doctor who could offer patients pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical options, educate them on both and then make a mutual decision on the best course of treatment for their unique case.

Balancing the military and naturopathic medical school

Recognizing that the principles of naturopathic medicine aligned with his personal beliefs, Dr. Ramdhan pursued his naturopathic medical education at the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine. Following his childhood dream of serving in the US Army, he completed Army Basic Training during his first summer break.

When school started up again, he struggled to balance military duty and school. “It wasn’t always easy to balance both, sometimes between weekend classes, clinic, seminars, and military obligations I would go a month without having any days off. It boiled down to some of our military teachings of adapting and overcoming, never quitting, and Army values being applied to my daily life.” As a result, he decreased his course load to part-time. “After some time and hard work, I was able to balance both, returned to being a full-time student and decided to push myself to complete a dual-degree in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture. Support from family, and friends both in school and the military helped with motivation especially when I felt overwhelmed.”

Dr. Ramdhan and his unit were deployed to the Middle East during what was supposed to be his final year of medical school. With prior knowledge of the possibility of deployment, he worked ahead to complete courses and exams prior to his deployment and leave of absence.

“The experience of serving in the military has provided me with a deeper appreciation for life, a stronger desire to help others, the flexibility of thinking outside the box, and has shown me the importance of patience and humility, all of which helped me through medical school and now in practice. Often times, I am able to draw on military experiences to relate to patients, and as a result, I can help them more effectively. Resiliency, flexibility, and adaptability are some qualities from the military that have made me a stronger naturopathic doctor.”

Finding fulfillment as an ND

Following graduation, Dr. Ramdhan returned to Trinidad and started a naturopathic medicine and acupuncture practice. “I network and integrate with other health care providers to ensure the best options, care, and results for my patients.” Dr. Ramdhan describes his passion as uncovering the root cause with his patients and teaching them to become independent.

Dr. Ramdhan also presents free lectures and workshops on various topics in health. In his free time, he enjoys playing cricket and being involved in the community.

Advice for aspiring NDs

“People are becoming more aware of their health and are trying to take control of it, so now more than ever naturopathic medicine has its time to shine. There are several career opportunities in naturopathic medicine and the future career outlook is great, but we need more people to join the profession and spread the knowledge. I would advise anyone with an interest in naturopathic medicine to not only talk to NDs and patients, but also attend events such as Lobby Day or DC Federal Legislative Initiative (FLI) as they give you a different perspective and inspiration about the potential for our medicine. Like all great things in life, it is not an easy road, but if you have the passion, drive, and a why for choosing naturopathic medicine, you will be successful.”

Dr. Ramdhan continues, “There shouldn’t be any us versus them mentality; we are in a paradigm that allows medicine to be integrated to provide the best patient care. Start building your network from day one as a student and support your classmates along the way. Remember the principles of naturopathic medicine as you go along your path of growth, for the deeper rooted a tree, the stronger it can withstand any storm.”

CLICK HERE to watch Dr. Ramdhan’s PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine webinar on demand!

Learn more about Dr. Ramdhan

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

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University of Bridgeport Shares New and Upcoming Developments

Faculty Research Day

University of Bridgeport presented the 3rd annual Faculty Research Day, an all-day event showcasing the work of faculty, students from all of the graduate and undergraduate schools at UB, and even a few talented area high school students. UBCNM had our strongest showing yet, with students from every cohort presenting posters! 4 members of the graduating class (Lauren Hawkins, Hannibal Miles, Kali Olsen, Radley Ramdhan) each presented posters based on their doctoral thesis. In addition, Dr. Kimberly Sanders prepared a poster based on her clinical outcomes research in the UBCNM Clinics, and five of the students who worked on the project co-presented the poster during the event.

Collaborative research

UBCNM will participate in a collaborative clinical research project, along with other members of the Division of Health Sciences. The study is led by Dr. Cheryl Lyon, an alumna of UBCNM who is on faculty at the UB College of Chiropractic. Dr. Lyon and a group of chiropractic students will be investigating the role of polymorphisms in fatty acid desaturase in patients with chronic pain. Study participants will be recruited from all of the UB Clinics, including the naturopathic, chiropractic, and acupuncture rotations.

Clinic

We continue to expand our clinical offerings in the community. The newest addition is a naturopathic clinic shift at the YMCA here in Bridgeport. We’ve also expanded our selection of specialty clinics. These are one-day-only events which focus on specific conditions or populations and allow potential patients to use our services without worry about finances.

Faculty Accomplishments

Dr. Flo McPherson, long-time adjunct clinical professor, presented in April at the Joint American Homeopathic Conference in Phoenix on the use of homeopathy rotations at UB Clinics to treat low-income and limited-resource populations.

Dr. John Furlong, Associate Clinical Professor, will travel to Belem, Brazil, this summer for the 16th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology. He is leading a workshop on “Indigenous knowledge in human learning of medicine/ towards a sustainable future”.