Coping With PTSD


You grit your teeth and try to move past it, as you flash back to That Thing, the bad, bad THING that happened just a few days ago.

Or was it a long time ago? Years? It’s hard to tell right this moment. It still feels so fresh.

You have an appointment with your therapist tomorrow, but you don’t look forward to it.

Talking about the event, examining it, examining how you can’t stop reliving it right now … It’s exhausting. Your heart rate goes up every session, and you leave feeling drained.

Even in between sessions, you are still feeling anxious, paranoid, tired, and lonely.

You’re never really sure if the counseling is helping.

But if you don’t go, you might be accused of not trying to get better.

Worse, you might start to believe the accusations. You know it’s not true. No one wants to feel like this. Especially not you.

Learning to live with your post-traumatic stress disorder feels strange. Even the label is weird. You’d heard it before, but never thought it would apply to yourself.

When you’re not even used to it yourself, of course, other people don’t know how to react.

They just don’t understand. Lately, it’s just been easier to avoid people, even if does mean feeling lonelier. It takes so much effort to figure out what to say or do, if you should explain yourself or not.

You get to work, and it’s busy. You can push disturbing recollections of The Event back for a while. Today, anyway.

Yesterday you lost a few minutes of time, just standing there, trying so hard not see those old, but still raw, images again, until a coworker poked your shoulder.

“Where IS your head today?” He asked it playfully, but you still feel guilty that you can’t focus on your job.

The last two medication switches have you in a fog anyway. Am I getting any better? Am I giving the meds enough time?  

You jump inside your skin a little bit, as you realize you’ve drifted off again. It’s probably just the lack of sleep. You hope it’s not a bad side effect of the new medication.

When you get home, you try to relax.

Eventually, it’s time for bed. You’re tired to the bone. Hopefully, you won’t dream about The Thing, that horrible EVENT tonight.

You get out of bed only twice on this particular night to make sure the door is locked.

It is. You always lock the door.  If only there had been a locked door between me and That Thing.

There’s no use asking “what if,” but you do it anyway.

You sigh. You have an appointment tomorrow. Maybe it’ll really help this time.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Every person experiences Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) differently, but one thing is certain: many people diagnosed with PTSD are not fully satisfied with their current therapy routine.

Things can get better though. There are many options out there.

And no matter what anyone might say, being unhappy with your current treatment DOES NOT mean that you don’t want to get better, or that treatment just won’t work for you.

The key is to go with the best method for your needs.


What is PTSD?

PTSD sometimes develops after exposure to a traumatic event, specifically, that was beyond a typical stressor.

Events that may lead to PTSD could be violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat, other forms of violence, and other disturbing or unexpected events.

Signs and symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance (often described as paranoia)
  • Insomnia or poor quality of sleep
  • Night terrors and/or disturbing dreams
  • Social isolation, feelings of loneliness
  • Avoidance of people, places, and things that remind someone of the trauma
  • Risky or self-destructive behaviors
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Markedly lowered self-esteem or opinions of self-worth
  • Irritability, and in some cases, hostility

These symptoms vary between individuals in both range and severity. One person may have a severe lack of sleep, but no nightmares. Another person may experience both, but only sporadically.

PTSD also has high rates of co-existing conditions like anxiety and depression.


You are not alone in dealing with PTSD 

PTSD is common in the United States. An estimated 5% of U.S. adults currently live with it.

That may not sound like a lot, but when you look at the United State’s population, you realize that that number represents over 13 million people.

If you’re among those 13 million or think you might be, you are also not alone if you’re unhappy with the treatments you’ve tried.

Traditional treatments usually involve intensive psychotherapy and have a high drop-out rate.

This is most likely part of the avoidance pattern that citizens suffering from PTSD exhibit.

Therapy is centered around talking about the event, its effects on your behavior, and your opinions about yourself in light of the traumatic event. So naturally, it is difficult for people with this disorder to continue with therapy.

However, there are many parts to therapy, ways to supplement it, and different techniques to try.


What are all of my treatment options? 

The most common treatments are therapy (usually of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, variety) and medication.

The main goals of therapy are to improve on symptoms, learn coping skills, and regain any lost self-esteem. The primary goal of medication is the manage or eradicate symptoms.

The two are often used together.

Cognitive Processing Therapy 

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) usually involves several 60-90 minute counseling sessions.

You talk through your trauma with your therapist, write out what happened, and then examine all of your thoughts and feelings.

Your therapist will help guide you through your reflections and ways that you’re processing the event. For instance, if you’re blaming yourself for something, your counselor will point out elements that were beyond your control, to help ease feelings of guilt.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy 

Prolonged Exposure Therapy usually involves eight to 15 sessions, running about 90 minutes per session.

First, your therapist teaches you breathing techniques to ease or lessen anxiety in the moment.

Then, they’ll ask you to make a list of the things you’ve been avoiding. One at a time, you’ll do exercises to face each one.

After that, you’ll retell your traumatic experience to the therapist, then go home and listen to a recording of yourself.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing 

Using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) might not require you to talk in-depth about your trauma with a therapist.

However, you will still need to think and reflect on it.

EMDR involves thinking about the event(s) that caused the condition while being exposed to a visual or auditory stimulus, like a flashing light or a recording.

Over time, you use visual or auditory cues to associate something more positive when you remember your trauma.

Stress Inoculation Training 

Stress Inoculation Training usually takes about three months and is done either by yourself or in a group.

What’s different about stress inoculation therapy is that you don’t have to go into detail about what happened, or focus on the event. Instead, you are learning ways avoid the stress you feel as a result of the trauma.

The training includes learning things like massage, breathing techniques, meditation, and other ways to get your body to release any of the effects it is feeling as a result of your PTSD.

Medication for PTSD Symptoms 

The only FDA-approved medications for PTSD are paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft).

However, many other medications are used off-label by licensed physicians, like antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta blockers, etc.

Because the goal of medication is to manage symptoms, and those with PTSD experience different symptoms on a case-by-case basis, medication regimens need to be personally tailored for each patient.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine 

Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs) are considered to be less conventional but have wide uses, methods, and applications. For instance, most holistic healing methods are CAMs.

CAMs methods for PTSD do not usually involve trauma recall, so they are becoming more attractive to people who jump ship from the regular therapy regimen.

At least 38% of those with PTSD who were polled have tried CAMs methods, including deep breathing, meditation, chiropractic, massage, yoga, diet-based therapies, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, and homeopathic treatment.


Our role in Complementary and Alternative Medicine for PTSD 

Here at True North Wellness, we use holistic treatments for PTSD, primarily involving the use of ketamine.

Like other, more common, PTSD drugs, ketamine use for PTSD is off-label, putting it in the alternative medicine group.

We combine safe, low-dosage ketamine infusions with positive affirmations, music, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and other relaxing treatments, under the supervision of a licensed physician.

“How does ketamine treatment work?”

Ketamine is a dissociative drug, which means that it changes the way you perceive things.

Our patients usually experience dissociation that allows them to view their traumas and burdens in a more unbiased light.

Therefore they are able to take more immediate action to rebuild their lives.

True North Wellness supports this process and practices a technique called Partial Sensory Deprivation to maximize the effectiveness of this experience.

This treatment can also be used alone or in addition to other therapy and treatment techniques.


True North Wellness Center provides individualized care for PTSD 

Remember when we explained how PTSD medications need to be individually tailored for each person’s symptoms?

We go beyond that here at True North Wellness Center.

Because we are a holistic treatment center, we treat the person as a whole and do more than symptoms management.

Every person, regardless of which condition they see us for, gets a personally tailored plan.

If you’re seeing us for BOTH PTSD and depression, we can tailor a plan for you that helps with both conditions.

If you’d like a loved one to be present, we can accommodate that, or if you’d prefer for a professional life coach to be with you, you can do things that way too.

Our very first patient sought out Dr. Sortino of True North Wellness because traditional treatments weren’t working for him, and helping that person turn his life around spurred us on in a mission to get alternative treatment to those who aren’t seeing the results they so desperately need in their mental health treatment.

If any part of this article applies to you, go ahead and call us. Consultations are always free, and we are here and ready to listen to YOUR NEEDS.


(561) 258-9030


Or, you can learn more about us here.

Thinking About Working With An Alternative Medicine Practitioner?

science brain


After years of use, many Americans with depression, anxiety, or PTSD are dissatisfied with mainstream treatment.

Many people struggle balancing the long list of unwanted side-effects that come with SSRIs like Prozac and similar antidepressants. Some patients eventually even find themselves more depressed.

Those struggling with PTSD sometimes opt for traditional therapy, but find talking through their traumas over and over exhausting, and are never truly sure if it helps.

These are just two examples from the many reasons people looking to improve their mental health turn to ketamine holistic healing practices.


The Key To Trying Alternative Medicine Is Finding The Right Doctor

There are a lot of people, especially on the internet, who are still trying to sell snake-oil cure-alls with no science behind them. The reality is that 30% of all people experience a placebo effect with a given treatment.

So you could give people sugar pills and 30% of them would still find it effective, which is why snake oil methods may have adherents online. It’s important to find treatments that have a greater than 30% effect, showing that they are more effective than just a sugar pill.

This is why it’s essential to check the credibility of a new treatment method.

But many doctors who develop alternative solutions have a great background and use tried and true methods that just haven’t been mainstream in the United States yet, like aromatherapy.

Other times, a holistic view of treatment leads doctors use mainstream medications in new ways.

Take ketamine treatment, for instance.

While ketamine has been deemed safe by the FDA for anesthesia in children’s surgeries battle wound care for a long time now, its use for mental health treatment is fairly new.

Dr. Sortino of True North Wellness Center was the first to bring this use of ketamine to Florida.  

Dr. Sortino studied in both the U.S. and Rome, was an E.R. doctor in New York, and is still the Medical Director of the Nurse’s Guild Home Health Agency and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine for Nova Southeastern University.

But he opened True North Wellness Center after performing ketamine treatment on a friend who was not seeing any progress using more traditional medicine.

Seeing a way to do some good for those who have been trying to work their way out of a rut, Dr. Sortino has seen great success using ketamine to supplement other therapy measures for mental health treatment.


Alternative Healing Is Comprehensive By Nature

Holistic treatment means doctors look at the patient as a whole person, and treat root causes of health problems, rather than diagnosing a specific illness and treating only that.

Some of the most well-known holistic healing methods are massage, aromatherapy, and acupuncture, all of which we incorporate here at True North Wellness.

If this is something you want to try out, contact us on the web ( or call us at (561) 264-8207.

Almost 40% of Americans use alternative medicine to supplement traditional medicine, in just the way that True Wellness uses ketamine to supplement other therapy methods.

Holistic and alternative medicine methods are usually non-invasive, and practitioners usually focus on getting to know their patients to ensure they come up with the most comprehensive treatment plans, as well as teaching patients preventative methods for the future.

Whereas traditional doctors see patients when they are sick, diagnose the illness, and prescribe medications as needed, alternative medicine professionals develop a relationship with patients to prevent illnesses, treat root causes of diseases, and improve their patients’ lifestyles.


The Patient Comes First In Holistic Medicine

Obviously, no one can build a relationship with their patients without taking the time to get to know them.

Holistic treatment centers need this especially, because it takes a lot more time to get to the root of a problem, or find an intersection of problems than it takes to listen to a list of symptoms and match that to a possible cause and medicine.

Naturopathic and alternative medicine doctors are looking for more than a cure to the reason a patient came in.

They are looking for ways to improve their patients’ lives CONTINUOUSLY.


Practitioners of Holistic Medicine Often Work Together

Just like traditional medicine, alternative medicine has many specialists.

Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and aromatherapy advisors recognize when they can help with a problem, and when they can help a problem, and when their focus can only supplement a different procedure.

Ketamine treatment is often combined with both acupuncture and aromatherapy, for instance.

It can ALSO complement traditional medicine, going alongside psychotherapy, or with a physician’s clearance, be administered in addition to traditional medications.

Complementary alternative medicine is all part of the holistic approach of treating the whole person.


True North Has The Winning Holistic Medicine Model

True North Wellness Center has a tried and true approach to holistic treatment.

A lot of this is due to Dr. Sortino, and his dedication to doing the best for his patients.

Remember when we mentioned that Dr. Sortino first performed this treatment on a close, personal friend?

Well that friend saw a huge improvement, and after that, Dr. Sortino just couldn’t stand the thought that ketamine was not readily available for anyone else who was struggling with ineffective treatments.

Dr. Sortino has the education and medical knowledge expected of traditional doctors, the courage to try new things when his patients need it and it is safe to do so, and the patient-forward mindset to deliver the full benefits of holistic medicine.

No one is more passionate about getting to know patients, following up with them, individually tailoring their treatment plan, and following up.

This trait is shared with his wife, who also works at the center, and all of their caring staff.

If this sounds like a better treatment environment for you than the ones you’ve tried before, or like the environment you want to start with, contact True North Wellness.

(561) 264-8207

Consultations are always free, and we are ready to listen to your needs.

Is Ketamine-Based Treatment Approved By The FDA?

You have probably heard the street terms, like “Special K,” and maybe a few horror stories about ketamine.

But did you know ketamine also helps children? Or soldiers?

The drug has been used in radiation and burn therapy. It is used on the battlefield when injuries have to be treated on the spot.  And for children who have adverse reactions to other anesthetics, ketamine is the best way to get a kid through surgery or a medical procedure that requires dulling pain.

The FDA approved ketamine for these uses in 1962.

In the late 80’s, some groups on the West Coast began to add ketamine to ecstasy, and other illicit uses of “Special K” began to spread, which led the federal government to classify it as a Schedule III drug and gave the substance a bad name in the media and many circles of concerned citizens.

However, ketamine is a very useful substance, whose potential is only beginning to be unlocked.


What does ketamine actually do?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug, meaning it changes the way users perceive things, with anesthetic properties.

It has an incredibly low side effect profile compared to other painkillers and sedatives, and symptoms from use fade quickly as soon as use stops.

Recent discoveries even indicate that ketamine can help repair the neural pathways responsible for the transmission of Glutamate, the most important neurotransmitter for normal brain function.

These benefits have led medical professionals to begin “off-label” uses of this substance to explore its possibilities and to better help patients.


What is “off-label” medication use?

Getting FDA approval for a specific drug generally costs about $1.2 BILLION over a decade of testing and trials.

So physicians and patients often decide together to use a drug for a purpose not approved by the FDA. This is “off-label” use.

Using medications off label is a normal and vital practice in medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies fund studies to get medications approved for specific purposes, and over time, some of these compounds prove to have use outside of their intended effect.

Many common medication uses were discovered this way, from blood pressure medicine being used to also treat ADHD to birth control lessening symptoms of endometriosis, migraines, and even acne.

So mental health treatment for ketamine is not yet FDA approved.

However, that does not mean that methods using ketamine to treat anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction are not tried and true. They are.


True North Wellness Center has seen success using ketamine to treat depression and more

Dr. Sortino, of True North Wellness Center, has been instrumental in developing safe and effective ways to apply ketamine to treatment of mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD, and addiction withdrawal.

He spends a lot of time with each individual patient, evaluating when ketamine can supplement treatment for mental health conditions. The entire process is overseen by a doctor, and ketamine is administered in very low doses.

Reviewers report they can sleep when they couldn’t before, ended suicidal thoughts, safely stopped taking daily depression medication, and had a better life quality overall.

To see if ketamine treatment is right for you, give us a call at (561) 264-8169.

True North Wellness: So Homey, You’ll Forget You’re At A Mental Health Clinic


What comes to mind when you think of a clinic or a doctor’s office?

Is it a cold, sterile, white space? Bright lights and metal instruments everywhere?

Well that’s NOT what True North Wellness looks like. In fact, imagine the opposite of that.

luxury waiting room

Taking care of your mental health in comfort

At True North, you won’t be coming in and sitting on crinkly paper on an uncomfortable table.

Our whole space is designed to put you at ease. Best of all, you can get your treatments while sitting in a massage chair.

You can listen to music or positive affirmations (self-empowering sayings) during treatment, and we have supplementary services like aromatherapy and acupuncture, to help you achieve peak relaxation.

It just seems natural to us that people seeking relief from the discomfort associated with mental health issues need a comfortable place to get treatment.


Healthcare providers that make you feel at home

True North Wellness specializes in ketamine treatments to alleviate symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression, as well as to lessen cravings for people struggling with addiction recovery.

This treatment is serious business, carried out in-office, by our licensed doctor, the wonderful Dr. Sortino.

But your time here won’t feel like any other visit to a doctor’s office.

The key to this difference is our supportive staff, and healthcare providers who take pride in getting to know every person who comes in for treatment AS A PERSON, not just a patient.

Dr. Sortino, one of our founding healthcare providers, is very passionate about treating the person as a whole, not just looking at someone as the disorder they came in with.


A mental health center that follows your progress

True North Wellness staff and Dr. Sortino will always follow up with you.

Treatment here is geared toward making YOU feel better, addressing the root causes of your symptoms, and getting results.

Your treatment plan will be tailored to you, and we encourage your feedback and thoughts every step of the way.

Treatment is really a running dialogue between you and our doctors and staff.

It’s so comfortable, you can almost forget that these are technically “doctor visits.”

We have the only facility of its kind in Boca Raton, but even if there were others, you would still want to come here even there were others, because we care about our patients and keep the atmosphere as friendly and relaxing as possible.

Give us a call today. (561) 264-8207

Consultations are always FREE.

Or learn more here:

True North Wellness Ketamine Treatment Is A Mental Health Service You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

The scenario is familiar to so many:

It’s hard to get out of bed because you tossed and turned all night.

Even when you do get sleep, you still feel exhausted the next day. Waking up immediately triggers a feeling of dread.

It’s hard to look forward to any of the upcoming day’s events.

Distracted, you notice that you forgot to check your blind spot before changing lanes, or you get closer to a curb than you normally would.

The adrenaline spike you get as you implore yourself to focus leaves you feeling even more tired just a moment later.

Some days you appear to have it all together, even though it doesn’t feel like it. Other days even your friends and family can see that something isn’t right.

It’s time to make a change.


There Is No Shame In Seeking Mental Health Treatment

Your mental well-being cannot be ignored. While many worry that they will face a stigma for seeking mental health treatment, it’s really no different than seeing a doctor for a physical ailment.

In fact, mental health and physical health are intimately linked.

Poor mental health puts us at risk for poor physical health. And poor physical health then goes on to worsen your mental health.

Anxiety has been known to cause and/or worsen heart, respiratory, and gastrointestinal conditions.

Depression can lead to over or undereating, lowered immune response, and a myriad of other physical complications.

On the other hand, improving your mental health lessens the impact of physical conditions and improves your body’s response.

Improving your mental health can help you sleep better, which is proven to strengthen the body in many ways, and reduce other physical symptoms like high blood pressure.

In other words, seeking professional mental health is the same thing as seeing a doctor for a physical ailment. The two are linked, and both are highly important for living a good life.


What Is Ketamine’s Role In Holistic Mental Treatment?

True North Wellness Center is a holistic mental health center, meaning that we believe in treating your mind and body as a whole.

We use ketamine treatments to supplement (not replace) existing therapies and counseling techniques.

Ketamine is an FDA approved anesthetic whose safety and low side effect profile has stood the test of time. Over 50 years of observation in the medical community have supported its high benefits and low risks.

In off-label uses, ketamine has been shown to help repair the neural pathways that are responsible for the transmission of Glutamate,  the most important neurotransmitter for normal brain function.

Once ketamine is administered and metabolized, the brain is essentially rewired to not only more easily process events of the past, but better handle new stress factors in the future.

This allows other therapies and health care measures to take hold more securely and work more effectively.


Which Mental Conditions Are Treated With Ketamine?

We have seen the best success with ketamine treatments for depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and suicidal ideation.

Ketamine is also often a helpful part of addiction recovery, as the ketamine treatments reduce cravings related to withdrawal.


What Does True North’s Treatment Process Look Like?

Ketamine treatments are given in low doses, by a licensed physician, at our relaxing facility, which has plush massage chairs, adjustable lights, and all kinds of elements designed to put patients at ease.

Calming exercises beforehand, coupled with Partial Sensory Deprivation with music and/or affirmations during your treatment allow you to enter a new level of understanding and peace throughout your infusion.

With additional services such as aromatherapy, acupuncture or low-dose facilitated therapy services, we can fine-tailor a treatment plan for every client.

Doctors and counselors follow up with patients, continuing to customize your experience as needed.


Why Should I Choose True North For My Mental Health Provider?

True North is one of only three facilities in Florida currently using ketamine treatments as a form of mental wellness treatment.

But those who are serious about healing mentally and improving their emotional state in a long-term way will want to go to True North for more reasons than that.

We stand out for our quality of care.

True North Wellness Center has a strong set of core beliefs that aid us in our mission to help those dealing with depression, PTSD, and other debilitating conditions.

We believe in the potential of every patient we have. We are committed to giving each and every one of them custom, individualized care.

Our holistic approach enlists both physical and mental health professionals, looking to foster LIFELONG wellness, not just temporary alleviation of symptoms.

Our lead doctor, Dr. Sortino is the first doctor to provide ketamine treatments in South Florida, has extensive experience administering ketamine treatments as well as treating depression and anxiety in general.

His personal philosophy is to get to know each person who comes to us for help as an individual and evaluating their needs over the entire course of their time with us.

You won’t find more sincere and empathetic care in any other mental health facility.

If you aren’t 100% satisfied, you can always talk to our staff face-to-face, or if you’re more comfortable making suggestions from a distance, we have a “Make It Right” initiative that can be done online.

True North’s commitment to each individual patient cannot be understated, because we understand the importance of mental health.

We want to give people who are feeling exhausted by their anxiety or depression a set of long-term solutions to help them enjoy life again.

The first consultation is always free. Give us a call at (561) 264-8207 and set up your free consultation today.


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