Many people will experience trauma in their lifetime whether it’s a car accident, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, exposure to the violence of war, or a natural disaster. Trauma encompasses a wide range of experiences, but can be defined as an experience in which one was exposed to a threat to one’s physical or psychological safety or witnessed this threat to another person. Traumatic experiences are outside the realm of what our brains can process normally, and can have lasting psychological and neurological impact.
While some people can recover from trauma over time with the love and support of family and friends and bounce back with resiliency, others may discover effects of lasting trauma, which can cause a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed. Generally, this is known as PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
In these circumstances, the support, guidance, and assistance of a compassionate therapist is fundamental to healing from trauma.
According to the four types of symptoms listed in the DSM-5
- Avoiding specific locations, sights, situations, and sounds (“triggers”) that serve as reminders of the event
- Refusal to discuss the traumatic event
- Substance use with drugs or alcohol to avoid thoughts and feelings about event
- Intrusive thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks
- Emotional reaction as if the traumatic event is currently happening
- Anger, irritability, and hypervigilance or always being “on the lookout” for danger
- Difficulty trusting in others
- Aggressive, reckless behavior, including self-harm
- Feeling nervous or “on edge,” unable to relax or calm down
- Sleep disturbances
Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms
- Loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
- Feeling depressed, lethargic, sad, angry, or numb
- Emotional shut-down
- Believing the world is a dangerous, evil place
- Difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
- Change in habits or behavior since the trauma
Research has repeatedly shown psychotherapy is an effective treatment for PTSD and acute stress. Working through trauma can be hard work, but with a compassionate helper, can release you from the throes of living with post-traumatic stress. When trauma is left unprocessed it goes underground, never completely away, until it is dealt with. Don’t wait to face this challenge head on.
It’s time to talk about it.
If you or someone you know is living with post-traumatic stress, contact me today for a free consultation.