Trauma/P.T.S.D.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Trauma
P.T.S.D.
(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) 


Trauma 

 

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.

 

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

 

Causes of emotional or psychological trauma

 

An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:

 

  • It happened unexpectedly.

  • You were unprepared for it.

  • You felt powerless to prevent it.

  • It happened repeatedly.

  • Someone was intentionally cruel.

  • It happened in childhood.

 

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood or struggling with cancer.

Overlooked causes of emotional and psychological trauma:

 

  • Falls or sports injuries

  • Surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life)

  • The sudden death of someone close

  • A car accident

  • The breakup of a significant relationship

  • A humiliating or deeply disappointing experience

  • The discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition

 

Risk factors that Increase your vulnerability to trauma 

Not all potentially traumatic events lead to lasting emotional and psychological damage. Some people rebound quickly from even the most tragic and shocking experiences. Others are devastated by experiences that, on the surface, appear to be less upsetting.

 

A number of risk factors make people susceptible to emotional and psychological trauma. People are more likely to be traumatized by a stressful experience if they’re already under a heavy stress load or have recently suffered a series of losses.

 

People are also more likely to be traumatized by a new situation if they’ve been traumatized before – especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood.

 

Childhood trauma increases the risk of future trauma

 

Experiencing trauma in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. Children who have been traumatized see the world as a frightening and dangerous place. When childhood trauma is not resolved, this fundamental sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.

Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety and security, including:

 

  • An unstable or unsafe environment

  • Separation from a parent

  • Serious illness

  • Intrusive medical procedures

  • Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse 

  • Domestic violence

  • Neglect

  • Bullying 

 

Following a traumatic event, or repeated trauma, people react in different ways, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond to trauma, so don’t judge your own reactions or those of other people. Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.

 

Emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma:

 

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief

  • Anger, irritability, mood swings

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

  • Feeling sad or hopeless

  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating

  • Anxiety and fear

  • Withdrawing from others

  • Feeling disconnected or numb

 

Physical symptoms of trauma:

 

  • Insomnia or nightmares

  • Being startled easily

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Aches and pains

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Edginess and agitation

  • Muscle tension

 

These symptoms and feelings typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the trauma. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumaticWhen to seek professional help. 

 

Recovering from a traumatic event takes time, and everyone heals at his or her own pace. But if months have passed and your symptoms aren’t letting up, you may need professional help from a trauma expert.

Seek help for emotional or psychological trauma if you're:

 

  • Having trouble functioning at home or work

  • Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression

  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships

  • Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks

  • Avoiding more and more things that remind you of the trauma

  • Emotionally numb and disconnected from others

  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better 

 

Finding a trauma therapist/specialist

 

Working through trauma can be scary, painful, and potentially retraumatizing. Because of the risk of retraumatization, this healing work is best done with the help of an experienced trauma specialist.

Finding the right therapist may take some time. It’s very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating trauma. But the quality of the relationship with your therapist is equally important. Choose a trauma specialist you feel comfortable with. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, respected, or understood, find another therapist. There should be a sense of trust and warmth between you and your trauma therapist.

After meeting a potential trauma therapist, ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Did you feel comfortable discussing your problems with the therapist?

  • Did you feel like the therapist understood what you were talking about?

  • Were your concerns taken seriously or were they minimized or dismissed?

  • Were you treated with compassion and respect?

  • Do you believe that you could grow to trust the therapist?

 

Treatment for psychological/emotional trauma

 

In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, you must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories you’ve long avoided. Otherwise they will return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable.

Trauma treatment and healing involves:

 

  • Processing trauma-related memories and feelings

  • Discharging pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy

  • Learning how to regulate strong emotions

  • Building or rebuilding the ability to trust other people

 

Trauma therapy treatment approaches

 

Trauma disrupts the body’s natural equilibrium, freezing you in a state of hyperarousal and fear. In essence, your nervous system gets stuck in overdrive. Successful trauma treatment must address this imbalance and reestablish your physical sense of safety. The following therapies are commonly used in the treatment of emotional and psychological trauma:

 

  • E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. These back-and-forth eye movements are thought to work by letting go of the extra emotional charge of traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them.

 

  • Brainspotting - incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy and actually works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access via eye position to the autonomic and limbic systems and the body's central nervous system which are out of the reach of the conscious mind and traditional talk therapy. Brainspotting not only pinpoints where this traumatic material in being held in our systems, it also "unfreezes" and RELEASES this traumatic material so it no longer interferes with or blocks our healthy perceptions of life.

 

  • Somatic experiencing takes advantage of the body’s unique ability to heal itself. The focus of therapy is on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what’s happening in your body, you gradually get in touch with trauma-related energy and tension. From there, your natural survival instincts take over, safely releasing this pent-up energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.

 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma. While cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn’t treat the physiological effects of trauma, it can be helpful when used in addition to a body-based therapy such as Brainspotting, EMDR or somatic experiencing.

 

Source: Sidran Institute - a highly respected online source for Trauma

 

______________________________________________________________________


I Use All the Treatment Approaches

Mentioned Above and more. 
I Will Help You
Let Go of the Negative Effects
Of Your TRAUMA


ONCE AND FOR ALL!  


Give me a call!

 

I CAN HELP YOU
TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE!

(914) 242-3484 

 

 

______________________ 

P.T.S.D. (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) 

 

After a traumatic experience, it's normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected. But if the upset doesn't fade and you feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can seem like you'll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But by seeking treatment, reaching out for support, and developing new coping skills, you can overcome PTSD and move on with your life. 
 

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? 
 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.

 

Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers—and military combat is the most common cause in men—but any seemingly life-threatening event—or series of events—that overwhelms you with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable.

PTSD can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma. 
 

Veterans with PTSD 
 

If you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD or combat stress, there are steps you can take to begin the recovery process and deal with your symptoms. See PTSD in Military Veterans.


Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:
 

  • War

  • Natural disasters

  • Car or plane crashes

  • Terrorist attacks

  • Sudden death of a loved one

  • Rape

  • Kidnapping

  • Assault

  • Sexual or physical abuse

  • Childhood neglect


Or any shattering, disabling event that leaves you feeling helpless and hopeless


Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
 

PTSD develops differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear. There are three main types of symptoms and they can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time:


     - Re-experiencing the traumatic event
 

     - Avoiding reminders of the trauma
 

     - Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

 

 

Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event


     - Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
     - Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
     - Nightmares (either of the event or other frightening things)
     - Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
     - Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding 
       heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

 

 

Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing


     - Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of 
       the trauma

     - Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
     - Loss of interest in activities and life in general
     - Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
     - Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, 
       get married, have a career)

 

 

Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal


     - Difficulty falling or staying asleep
     - Irritability or outbursts of anger
     - Difficulty concentrating
     - Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
     - Feeling jumpy and easily startled

 

 

Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

 

  • Guilt, shame, or self-blame

  • Substance abuse

  • Feelings of mistrust and betrayal

  • Depression and hopelessness

  • Suicidal thoughts and feelings

  • Physical aches and pains

  • Symptoms of PTSD in children and adolescents 

 

In children—especially those who are very young—the symptoms of PTSD can be different than those in adults. Symptoms in children include:


     - Fear of being separated from parent
     - Losing previously-acquired skills (such as toilet training)
     - Sleep problems and nightmares without recognizable content
     - Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma 
       are repeated

     - New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such 
       as a fear of monsters)

     - Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings
     - Aches and pains with no apparent cause
     - Irritability and aggression
 

PTSD Causes and Risk Factors 
 

Traumatic events are more likely to cause PTSD when they involve a severe threat to your life or personal safety: the more extreme and prolonged the threat, the greater the risk of developing PTSD. Intentional, human-inflicted harm—such as rape, assault, and torture—also tends to be more traumatic than “acts of God” or more impersonal accidents and disasters. The extent to which the traumatic event was unexpected, uncontrollable, and inescapable also plays a role.


Other risk factors for PTSD include: 
 

  • Previous traumatic experiences especially in early life

  • Family history of PTSD or depression

  • History of physical or sexual abuse

  • History of substance abuse

  • History of depression, anxiety or other mental illness

  • High level of stress in everyday life

  • Lack of support after the trauma

  • Lack of coping skills

 

Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
 

Recovering from PTSD involves helping your nervous system return to its pre-trauma state of balance. As discussed above, the best way to regulate your nervous system is through social engagement—interacting with another human being—be it a loved one, a friend, or a professional therapist. However, as someone with PTSD, you need to first become “unstuck” and move out of the immobilization stress response.

 

While this process is easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor, you don’t need to wait for a medical appointment to start feeling better. There are plenty of things you can do now to help yourself cope with symptoms, reduce anxiety and fear, and take back control of your life.

 

Professional treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Treatment for PTSD relieves symptoms by helping you deal with the trauma you’ve experienced. Rather than avoiding the trauma and any reminder of it, a doctor or therapist will encourage you to recall and process the emotions you felt during the original event in order to reduce the powerful hold the memory has on your life.


You’ll also:

 

  • Explore your thoughts and feelings about the trauma

  • Work through feelings of guilt, self-blame, and mistrust

  • Learn how to cope with and control intrusive memories

  • Address problems PTSD has caused in your life and relationships

 

 

Types of treatment for PTSD

 

  • E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. These back-and-forth eye movements are thought to work by letting go of the extra emotional charge of traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them.

 

  • Brainspotting - incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy and actually works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access via eye position to the autonomic and limbic systems and the body's central nervous system which are out of the reach of the conscious mind and traditional talk therapy. Brainspotting not only pinpoints where this traumatic material in being held in our systems, it also "unfreezes" and RELEASES this traumatic material so it no longer interferes with or blocks our healthy perceptions of life. 

 

  • Somatic experiencing takes advantage of the body’s unique ability to heal itself. The focus of therapy is on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what’s happening in your body, you gradually get in touch with trauma-related energy and tension. From there, your natural survival instincts take over, safely releasing this pent-up energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.

 

  • Medication is sometimes prescribed to people with PTSD to relieve secondary symptoms of depression or anxiety. While antidepressants may help you feel less sad, worried, or on edge, they do not treat the causes of PTSD.

 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma. While cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn’t treat the physiological effects of trauma, it can be helpful when used in addition to a body-based therapy such as Brainspotting, EMDR or somatic experiencing.

 

  • Family therapy can help your loved ones understand what you’re going through. It can also help everyone in the family communicate better and work through relationship problems caused by PTSD symptoms.

(Source: Sidran Institute - a highly respected online source for Trauma)

 

Finding a therapist for PTSD 
 

When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, or call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.

 

Beyond credentials and experience, it’s important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe, so there is no additional anxiety about the treatment itself. Trust your gut; if a therapist doesn’t feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel understood. To find a trauma therapist, see the Resources and References section below.
 

 

I Use All of the Therapeutic Methods

listed above and    
I will help you RELEASE your P.T.S.D.

 

ONCE AND FOR ALL!

 


Give me a call!

I CAN HELP YOU
TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE!

(914) 242-3484
 

___________________________________________



More help for PTSD and Trauma


PTSD in Military Veterans: Helping Yourself Recover from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Helping Someone with PTSD: Helping a Loved One or Family Member with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

Traumatic Stress: How to Recover From Disasters and Other Traumatic Events

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief: Finding the Relaxation Exercises That Work for You

Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone who is Suicidal

Coping with a Breakup or Divorce: Moving on After a Relationship Ends


Related issues:

  • Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs: How to Recognize Depression Symptoms and Get Effective Help

  • Anger Management: Tips and Techniques for Getting Anger Under Control

  • Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drinking Problems

  • Overcoming Drug Addiction: Drug or Substance Abuse Treatment, Recovery, and Help


Resources and references

 

  • General information about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder News & Research – Overview of the latest research on PTSD, including its causes, risk factors, and promising new treatments. (National Institute of Mental Health)

  • Myths and Facts About PTSD – Learn the truth behind common misconceptions about PTSD. (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Alliance)

  • Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Self-Test – Online self-test for PTSD to help you evaluate your symptoms. (Anxiety Disorders Association of America)

  • The Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Chronic and/or Delayed – Description of PTSD’s many symptoms, including withdrawal, avoidance, isolation, and flashbacks. (PTSD Support Services)

  • Common Reactions – Find information on some common reactions to trauma, including anger, nightmares, sleep problems, avoidance, and depression. (National Center for PTSD)

  • Treatment and self-help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Treatment of PTSD – Guide to the treatments for PTSD, including cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, Brainspotting and EMDR. (National Center for PTSD)

  • Self-Help and Coping – Series of articles on how to cope with PTSD in healthy ways that promote healing and recovery. (National Center for PTSD)

  • Helping a loved one with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Returning from the War Zone: A Guide – Advice for service members and their families on what to expect and how to adapt after returning home from war. (National Center for PTSD)

  • Partners with PTSD – Article for the friends and family members of people with PTSD. Includes an explanation of symptoms and what you can do to help. (Gift from Within)

 

Finding help and support for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Find a good Trauma Therapist

 

  • Finding a Therapist – Advice on how to find a therapist for PTSD treatment. Includes questions to ask a potential therapist. (National Center for PTSD)

  • How to Choose a Therapist for Post-Traumatic Stress and Dissociative Conditions – Tips on choosing a therapist and treatments for PTSD. Includes a phone number for referrals. (The Sidran Institute)
     

Help for U.S. veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
 

  • Vet Centers offer free counseling to combat veterans and their families. To find out more about the resources and benefits available to you, you can also call the VA Health Benefits Service Center at 1-877-222-VETS.

  • Click here for a nationwide directory of facilities for veterans, including VA hospitals and Vet Centers, provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • VVA’s Guide on PTSD – Advice for combat veterans on how to get help and claim military benefits. (Vietnam Veterans of America)

  • VA Aid & Attendance Pension – Often overlooked benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature.


Help for other nations’ veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

 

  • Canadian veterans: visit Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) or call 1-800-883-6094 to talk to a peer who has been through similar experiences.

  • UK veterans: visit Combat Stress or call the 24-hour helpline 0800 138 1619.

  • Australian veterans: visit Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) or call 1800 011 046.


Trauma therapist referral

 

In Canada, visit Canadian Mental Health Association

 

  • In the UK, visit UK Trauma Group

  • In Australia, contact Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

  • In other countries, visit International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for more resources.

GIVE ME A CALL!

 

I WILL HELP YOU

TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE!

 

(914) 242-3484

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Dave Dodge, L.C.S.W.
Mt. Kisco, N.Y.
(914) 242-3484
Skype and telephone sessions are also available
Skype name - dave.dodge11

Please also visit my other website for more information on how I can help you.

I am a therapist with over 40 years of experience working with people to help them resolve the issues that are creating problems in their life. I am Certified and trained in a number of alternative therapies that are quicker, easier and much more effective than talk therapy in releasing one's issues.