What is Trauma?
Whether it stems from personal tragedy, natural disaster, violence, childhood abuse, or any other life disturbing event, trauma can take a huge emotional toll, and seeking help can feel like an uphill battle.
Trauma describes an event or multiple events that causes a person to feel severely threatened emotionally, psychologically, or physically or an event that causes harm in any of these ways. Not all people react to trauma in the same way, and different types of trauma may provoke significantly different reactions. For some, effects may be lasting and can cause deep emotional pain, fear, confusion and can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What Defines a Traumatic Experience?
Trauma can be anything from a single incident to multiple events (large or small) over course of time that overwhelms the mind and body. Trauma can also be defined as a disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.
Some of the most common traumatic experiences that I work with are:
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Witnessing or experiencing violence
- Natural disasters -such as a hurricane or tornado
- Bullying or harassment
- Death of a loved one
- Car accidents
- Childhood neglect
- Childhood physical abuse
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Attachment trauma
- Developmental trauma
- …just to name a few
Overview of PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a trauma and stress related disorder that may develop after exposure to a terrifying traumatic event or multiple events-either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Many people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time, support from others and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, it may be PTSD.
Common Symptoms of PTSD
- Nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts
- Avoiding thoughts, feelings, people or places that remind you of the traumatic event
- Loss of interest in activities you enjoyed before the trauma(s) ever happened
- Anxiety disorders resulting in chronic physical pain, body tensions and teeth grinding
- Feeling rejected, threatened or distant for most people most of the time
- Inability to relax the mind and the body
- Feeling consistently pessimistic about the future
- Extreme state of alertness or being on guard
- Problems falling asleep or staying asleep
- Being easily angered or upset
- Problems with concentration
- Irritable or aggressive behavior
- Self-destructive or reckless behavior
Treatment for PTSD
Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is powerful modality to access the source of distress and can effectively treat the symptoms and underlying source of PTSD. To learn more about EMDR, click here.
If you have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event, there is hope. Take the first step to healing by submitting a request for a new client appointment.Request New Appointment