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Understanding Trauma and PTSD:
Signs, Impact, And Treatment Options

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is a distressing event that causes an emotional and physiological response that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, leading to feelings of helplessness and affecting their emotional well-being. This response often involves the body activating the "fight or flight" system,

heightening alertness and stress. Traumatic events can range from natural disasters and accidents to interpersonal experiences like physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. According to the DSM-V, trauma can also occur through repeatedly hearing about aversive details of traumatic

events or by learning of traumatic events happening to a close family member or friend (vicarious trauma).

man in corner blocking his face and body

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific adverse response to a traumatic event requiring several elements to be diagnosed: a stressor of death, threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence; intrusive re-experiencing of the event (flashbacks, nightmares); avoidance of thoughts, feelings, or reminders of the event; negative changes to thoughts or feelings after the event; and hypervigilance and reactivity. These symptoms must occur for longer than one month and cause significant distress or impairment.

Signs Of Trauma

1. Emotional Symptoms: Experiencing intense mood swings, irritability, and anxiety.

2. Physical Symptoms: Sudden onset of headaches, stomach problems, or fatigue. Some may even experience or relive physical pain from the event.

3. Behavioural Changes: Withdrawal from social activities, difficulty maintaining relationships, and substance abuse.

4. Psychological Symptoms: Re-experiencing the traumatic event, nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts.

What Trauma Is Not

Trauma is not just feeling upset or distressed; it's an emotional and physiological response that significantly impacts daily functioning and well-being. It's not a sign of weakness or something that can be "shaken off."

Impact Of Trauma 

Untreated trauma can have serious consequences, both physically and emotionally, including:

  • Increased risk of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

  • Detrimental effects on relationships and career.

  • Heightened risk for physical health issues like chronic pain and heart disease.

Current Treatments

  • Medical Treatments: Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications can be effective for managing symptoms, especially for severe PTSD.

  • Psychological Therapies: Evidence-based therapies include CognitiveBehavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Narrative Exposure Therapy, and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).

Tips For Managing Trauma

1. Mindfulness Techniques: Practicing mindfulness can help you become aware of your thoughts and feelings and make it easier to control your reactions.
2. Physica
l Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, which naturally elevate your mood and can help you cope with stress.

Take Action

If you or someone you know is struggling with trauma or PTSD, consider seeking professional help. Remember, healing is possible, and you don't have to go through it alone. Contact us today to work further on overcoming trauma-related challenges.

Invest In Your Mental Wellness Today

Take the first step towards positive change and book your appointment today.  Don't wait any longer – schedule your session now and embark on a journey towards a happier and more fulfilling life.

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