Trauma

Stop Phobia In Its Tracks

Frightened girl over isolated white background

In this continuing series on Anxiety Disorders, we’ve talked about general anxiety, negative imagination, and worry. Now let’s talk about phobia.

What Is Phobia?

A phobia is an excessive, persistent fear of a situation, activity, or thing that makes you want to avoid it. It is a based on a survival tool called pattern matching where the brain is able to associate one dangerous thing with another to save time in choosing safety. Phobia ranges from fairly mild and humorous to severe and debilitating.

Some conservative estimates indicate that more than 6 million Americans suffer with phobia. People who experience phobia often also experience other anxiety issues such as panic disorder, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or others.

All Shapes And Sizes

There are many varieties of phobia. Some experts say there are as many phobias as there are situations. So what does it look like to have a phobia. The following is one woman’s experience of phobia:

Marci walked into the office with moist eyes. Even before she sat on the couch her tears were streaming down her cheeks. Handing her a tissue, I said, “Tell me what’s going on.”

“I’m a terrible mother!” Marci cried. The words then tumbled out in a torrent, a story of her son’s 3rd birthday party where a close friend had brought balloons and a beautiful cake for little Jason.

The party was held poolside in Marci’s back yard. Marci’s friend and neighbor walked through the living room, out the patio door and onto the pool deck balancing the cake in one hand and holding balloons in the other. Jason was so excited that he ran laughing to his mother to tell her that he had a cake.

Marci turned around and saw her friend coming toward her. What happened next took everyone by surprise. She began to shriek “like a crazy person”, threw her hands up in front of her face, thrashing, and pushed the cake out of her friend’s hands and into the pool. Marci then ran into the house and sat trembling and rocking on the couch in the front room.

Marci’s friend got Jason and the other party guests settled playing a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. She then went in to check on Marci. Marci was cowering in a corner of the couch, rocking. Slowly sitting down near her friend, she said softly, “Marci, what just happened?”

Marci looked up from telling her story, and as her soft brown eyes met mine, she said in a whisper, “I don’t know what happened? I can’t stand…. balloons. I’m afraid of…balloons. They scare the crap out of me. Not just a little. They terrify me. What’s the matter with me?”

The more I learned of Marci’s history the more convinced I was that she suffered with globophobia, or fear of balloons. I learned that Marci had been afraid of balloons since she was a pre-teen. Over time she had developed panic symptoms (racing heart, shortness of breath, trembling, etc.) when around balloons or if she believed she was going to be near balloons. Other than her phobia, she had very few other anxiety symptoms.

Coping With Phobia

Marci had learned to cope with her phobia by avoiding anything, and everything, associated with balloons, such as children’s parties. She had trained her family members to help run interference for her by having them check out certain venues where balloons might be, such as the Labour & Delivery unit at the hospital when Jason was born. Marci struggled to discuss balloons but unlike some people who suffer with this phobia, at least she was able to say the word without developing panic. Yet it clearly made her very uncomfortable to talk about it.

Highly Treatable

Alert woman sitting with her therapist talking to her in a private session

We used hypnotherapy to break-up Marci’s globophobia. That gave her immediate relief. Then some cognitive-behavioral therapy helped her to change the thinking patterns that had grown her fear and kept it alive in her imagination. Marci chose to pursue the source of her phobia in therapy but many people have no desire to know where the phobia comes from. And it isn’t always necessary to know that in order to let go of the phobia.

Phobia is just one more place where anxiety shows up in life. For those who experience phobias it can feel like they are being controlled by unreasonable forces. Many people feel a great deal of shame when they cannot force themselves to ignore the anxiety and panic that arise from their phobia.

Phobias are another example of sloppy pattern matching, a survival tool gone wrong. But phobias don’t have to rule your life. If you struggle with a phobia, call today to take back the control.

            Call 801-494-7612

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Trauma Treatment: Many Forms of Healing

Beautiful Healing Words

In this final piece on trauma treatment I will share some essential aspects of several trauma therapies. While the list of therapies that are used to treat trauma is extensive, I’ll only be covering a few.

In a previous article I explained some about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. Brain Spotting grew out of EMDR. It is based on the idea that as a person focuses on elements of their trauma, whether on specific symptoms, beliefs, memories, fears, etc, the eyes naturally find a gaze point and if encouraged to remain focused at that specific spot, the brain will naturally process the trauma. Working with many brain spots may be required to fully process the entire trauma.

Breath Work and Yoga

Breath work and Yoga may be combined to help a client work through trauma. Both breath work and yoga are the means to increase a state of relaxation, which is often absent in those living in the aftermath of trauma.

Hakomi

Hakomi techniques follow the body tensions, feelings, and sensations to find the unconscious beliefs and attitudes that are stored in a fragmented way after trauma.

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a highly effective tool that uses a trance state (a deeply relaxed yet highly focused form of attention) to quickly work through trauma.

Somatic Experiencing/Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy are both ways of helping the body to discharge the pain and physical tension left in the body following trauma.

These are but a few of the many forms of therapy used by counselors to help victims of trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). No one form of therapy works all the time for 100% of trauma victims.

meditation

You may find it helpful and reassuring to do a little research on whatever form of therapy your counselor chooses. A good trauma counselor will be comfortable with several forms of therapy to treat trauma.

When it comes to choosing a therapist to work with to heal your trauma, more important than the particular form of therapy she uses is a sense of trust and non-judgmental acceptance between the two of you. Whatever form of therapy your counselor uses will be far more effective if you trust and are comfortable working with her.

There are no overnight cures or magic bullets to treat trauma. Trauma work is work, but in the hands of a skilled counselor your trauma can be healed, peace restored or felt for the first time.

Please don’t wait. If you’ve suffered with symptoms of a traumatic experience or repeated trauma, call me for an appointment today. You deserve to enjoy your life.

Make the call and find the peace you deserve.  801-494-7612

EMDR as Trauma Treatment

Depressed Young Man Talking To Counsellor

Traumatic events in your life may cause high anxiety, depression, flash backs or traumatic and intrusive memories, fears, excessive guilt or shame, problems with trusting others, and relationship problems. Sometimes self-help strategies are enough to help you heal from trauma, but some people who experience trauma need professional help to heal the damage. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR is a highly effective professional therapy used to treat symptoms of trauma.

EMDR operates from a position of Adaptive Information Processing, meaning that the human organism is inherently oriented toward positive healing outcomes. When the body is injured by a splinter and the splinter is removed, the body knows what to do in order to heal the resultant wound. The brain, in the same way, knows how to heal once the trauma is “removed” by the processes of EMDR.

people, technology and leisure concept - happy african american young woman sitting on sofa with headphones listening to music at home

Sooner or later car accidents, fires, assault, injury or illness, crimes, military experience, all of these and more are apt to come up in your life or the life of someone you know. And for many people any one of these experiences may be traumatizing.

When you work with an EMDR therapist, the two of you agree what the target for therapy will be. EMDR doesn’t require talking endlessly about what traumatized you in the first place. In a calm and relaxing way the therapist will guide you to develop many resources that help to support you during the work. Some guided imagery may be used to develop an imaginary calm, peaceful place, and support figures that you may use to feel nurtured or protected, or who can offer you greater wisdom.

The therapist will offer you some form of bilateral stimulation. Musical sounds that alternate tones from one ear to the other, or vibratory paddles that alternate a buzz from one hand to the other may be used. Some therapists prefer to use a light bar that uses lights in alternating patterns or physically tapping on your knees or the tops of your hands. Although we don’t have a clear understanding of how the bilateral stimulation works in the brain, it appears to effectively help your brain sort out the painful parts of trauma and release it. The effect leaves behind a clearer story of the traumatic event with a beginning, a middle, and an end. What actually happened has not changed but how you feel about it and about yourself has.

EMDR has more than 25 years of research demonstrating how effective it is in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. While there are many other forms of professional therapies for treating trauma, EMDR is at the top of the list. The final chapter in this series on trauma and trauma treatment will cover some of the other many forms of treatment available.

If you are struggling as a result of trauma, call today for an appointment.

You don’t need to suffer alone . Call 801-494-7612.

Professional Trauma Therapy: CBT

Depressed Young Man Talking To Counsellor

We’ve looked at the self-help ways to treat trauma. Now let’s consider the professional forms of trauma treatment.

At the heart of most therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. Simply understanding the parts of the title for this therapy will give you a fair understanding of what this therapy is like.

Cognitive is the part that has to do with thoughts and patterns of thinking. Behavioral is the part that has to do with behaviors and patterns of interaction. CBT is the root of most talk therapies. With CBT it is most often necessary for you to relate the details of the traumatizing event. With the help of a good counselor you can then challenge the beliefs you developed in reaction to what happen.

Many therapists tell clients that CBT treatment of trauma usually takes somewhere between 20-25 sessions to adequately overcome the effects of trauma. If the trauma is from repetitive childhood experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, treatment may take longer.

Twenty-five sessions may seem like a long time to be talking about such a painful and disruptive experience, but many people find significant relief after the very first session. Sharing the burden of trauma with a counselor who doesn’t judge you and who is able to help carry the weight of your pain gives you a sense that you are no longer alone on this difficult journey.

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CBT can help you untangle many of the false beliefs that came into being at the time of the traumatic event.

  •             It’s my fault.
  •             I deserve this.
  •             This happened because I am bad.
  •             I’m a victim.
  •             I should have been stronger (smarter, better).

These and many other negative self-beliefs are at the heart of the thinking and actions of many people who suffer with trauma. Thoughts and actions can limit you in many ways and rob you of your life’s daily joy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective and proven treatment to challenge and overcome such beliefs. CBT can help you over turn the effects of trauma.

Although CBT is a proven therapy for healing trauma, it’s not for everyone. Fortunately, there are several other professional therapies to heal trauma.

In the next issue we will delve into Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR as a trauma therapy. EMDR was developed specifically to heal trauma and requires much less talking about the traumatic event(s) than CBT.

If you’ve been traumatized and your own management skills haven’t been enough to bring you peace, call for an appointment today.

Find the peace you deserve; call 801-494-7612.

Trauma Treatment: Self-help Strategies

The words Hello I Am A Survivor on a nametag sticker to symbolize your perseverance or dedication to surviving a disease or other difficult period in life

This is a continuation of the series on trauma. We’ve covered the symptoms of trauma. Now let’s look at treatment for trauma. In this article I cover self-help strategies for trauma. In another article, I will cover some of the most common professional therapies to deal with trauma.

The first thing I would suggest to anyone recovering from a traumatic experience is to be patient with yourself, your reactions, and the amount of time it takes to heal. Everyone heals in their own time and it can take quite a bit of time to recover from trauma, with or without help. There are many losses that occur second to trauma so you need to take time to process and heal those losses. They may manifest as a loss in your sense of safety, competence, or confidence, etc.

Support on Red Button Enter on Black Computer Keyboard.

Support

Beware of a tendency to isolate. It is normal to spend some time alone thinking through the experience of trauma but isolation is rarely, if ever, helpful and can lead to worsening of problems. Reaching out for support, on the other hand, is helpful. A trusted friend, family member, counselor, or clergyman may be very effective in helping you to feel safe and to talk about the disturbing event. For some people a support group may be helpful.

Take Care of Your Health

Following a daily routine helps to create a sense of continuity and safety. Regular sleep, nutritious meals at regular times, and exercise help maintain the immune system, promote healing, and foster safety.

Seek out activities that make you feel better. If you are unable to think of anything that might make you feel better following a trauma, recall and try out past activities that you enjoyed. And consider activities with others. Reduce stress wherever possible.

For The Support person

If you are a support person for someone who has experienced trauma, it can be difficult to know how to help. However, your support can be crucial in their recovery. Suggestions for you include:

  • Be patient and understanding. Don’t judge or compare their reactions to the trauma.
  • Offer practical support such as grocery shopping, help with housework, and just being available to listen if they are ready to talk.
  • Encourage but don’t push social activities.
  • Don’t personalize their trauma reactions. Since anger and withdrawal are common trauma reactions, try to not assume their behavior has anything to do with you or the relationship.

Trauma leaves its victims feeling very vulnerable and often they don’t see that they need extra support to recover. Don’t hesitate to gently suggest a counselor might be helpful. This could be the best help you can offer if your loved one is drowning in their own pain.

Many people get through their trauma with the support of family and friends, but sometimes professional help is needed to work through the chaotic feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. If your loved one is struggling with the aftermath of a trauma, seek help today. No one should have to feel overwhelmed in the misery that often follows trauma.

Call me today at 801-494-7612.

More Trauma Symptoms

First let me apologize to my readers for no posts over the last two weeks. My computer is down and I have had to do my writing at work. Since I usually do my writing on my computer at home in the early morning hours when I can’t sleep, using the computer at work has really slowed me down. However, I hope to have my computer back and right as rain soon. In the meantime, let’s finish up the discussion of trauma symptoms in this post.

Anxiety on Warning Road Sign on Sunset Sky Background.The remaining symptoms fall under the categories of avoidance and altered arousal, also viewed as avoidance and physical symptoms. To understand these symptoms, it is worth remembering the basic nature of trauma: Trauma results from an experience, which is unexpected, sudden, and which leaves you feeling powerless and out of control. It may be caused by a one-time experience or from repeated exposure and is most apt to lead to symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if it occurs in childhood.

With this in mind, it is very reasonable that you would avoid places, people, and experiences reminiscent of the trauma experience. If you cannot avoid them, anxiety or panic attack may result. Such anxiety and panic attacks can eventually lead to an inability to leave your home, known as agoraphobia. Another way of dealing with the anxiety may be developing flashbacks or very disturbing intrusive memories, nightmares, or other forms of feeling stuck in the trauma.

The physical symptoms such as muscle tension, aches, pains, and fatigue that may result from trauma may represent another form of distraction to keep you separated from the trauma.

Other physical symptoms of trauma may feel beyond your control too, symptoms such as a racing heart, increased startle reflect that leaves you very jumpy, and edginess and agitation. These are purely biological responses that come from the split-off part of the trauma, which resides deep in the brain. Although the thinking part of your brain may realize that the trauma is over, survival takes priority and all those symptoms are the result of your body and brain doing the best they can to protect you from further trauma.

Once you recognize that the symptoms make sense, it is easier to accept the need to seek out some help. Everyone heals from trauma at their own pace. So try to not judge yourself by another person’s experience. However, if months have passed and your symptoms aren’t easing or are evening worsening, it may be time to get professional help.

Lifebuoy for drowning man's hand in open sea or ocean water.

As a rule of thumb, if any of the following are a problem consider getting professional help now:

  • Excessive fear, anxiety, or depression
  • Difficulty forming close satisfying relationships, or feeling emotionally numb or disconnected from others
  • Scary or painful memories, nightmares, or flashbacks
  • Inability to function at home or work
  • Using substances, sex, or other activities to feel better

Now that you have a good idea of what symptoms may result from trauma and understand why they occur, it’s time to decide if you need to reach out for some help to deal with your trauma.

Next week, I’ll share a few self-help strategies to try, as well as offer some ideas of the ways a professional counselor can be helpful.

As always, if you or someone you love is suffering from a traumatic experience, consider seeing a counselor. You don’t need to suffer alone.

Call me now! Find the peace you deserve.

               801-494-7612

 

Do You Have These Trauma Symptoms?

Depressed 3d man sitting with red question marks on whiteIn this series on trauma, I’ve talked about the difference between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a specific diagnosis of symptoms, and trauma, which is determined by the individual’s perception of an experience rather than the actual experience itself. We discussed the risk factors that may predispose you to developing trauma too. Now let’s look at what trauma might actually look like if you do develop it.

You may recall from the first part of this series that I mentioned how trauma symptoms are categorized into three different areas:

1-Altered cognitions and/or mood symptoms

2-Altered levels of arousal

3-Avoidance symptoms

Although some people and some organizations categorize the symptoms differently, they still contain the same symptoms. So if you know of symptoms that are ordered a little differently, that’s OK. Just look in any of the categories to find symptoms about which you are curious or that you are familiar with. I’m going to look at the symptoms one category at a time.

Not Everyone Develops PTSD

Remember that not everyone who feels traumatized develops PTSD or needs treatment. There are many symptoms associated with trauma and few people develop all of them. It is also helpful to remember that these are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events. Your symptoms may last a few days, weeks, months, or years- especially without treatment. If your symptoms are very distressing, last a long time, or seem to be getting worse, please consider getting some treatment.

1st up-Altered cognitions and/or mood symptoms

I’ll start with shock, denial, or disbelief first because that is most often the first mood or thought state that people become aware of or that others can observe in the behavior of trauma victims. This makes sense since one of the criteria of trauma is that it is sudden and unexpected. This may leave a person looking dazed and non-reactive. They may also feel disconnected and numb.

From here I list symptoms in no particular order and again it is important to remember that you may have some of these symptoms in varying degrees,  but few people have them all or have the same symptoms all of the time.

Many people experience intense anger, irritability and mood swings. This can be confusing to both the traumatized individual and their support people but do keep in mind that it is the result of the traumatic experience. Experiences that hit suddenly and without warning do not permit planning and leave one feeling powerless. Such powerlessness is a set-up for feeling like you have no control in your life. Most of us react to those kinds of feelings with anger.

Some people experience guilt and shame following a trauma. They may blame themselves at not being able to predict or prevent the experience even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The trauma may leave you feeling like something precious has been taken from you (and some define that something as your sense of safety.) The sense of loss often results in sadness or hopelessness.

When an event is experienced as unexpected and sudden leaving you feeling traumatized, anxiety and fear are the natural consequence. This mental state can make it difficult to concentrate and the resulting confusion may reinforce a sense of embarrassment, which leads to withdrawing from others.

Need Help Colorful Comment SymbolAs you can see, all these trauma symptoms make sense when you look at them individually relative to the types of events, which lead to trauma. Taking this direct and deeper look at the symptoms can help us all to realize that given the right circumstances anyone could be the victim of trauma.

This week I only covered the emotional and altered cognitive symptoms. Taking this closer looks makes sense of how people behave following trauma. Next week I’ll delve into a different category of trauma symptoms.

Understanding what the trauma symptoms are and why they occur can help you cope with the symptoms better whether you are the one experiencing them or the support person of a trauma victim. Learning and understanding give us power. And I believe that understanding that anyone can be traumatized along with the concept that these are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events can be very empowering indeed.

Check in next week for more about the symptoms of trauma. If you recognize any of these symptoms as part of your own experience or that of one you love, please consider talking to someone about your experience. You don’t have to suffer in silence or alone.

It’s time to heal and find your peace

     so give me a call at

          801-949-7612.

Are You At Risk of Trauma?

sick teddy bear

Why are some people are traumatized by an event and others are not? It’s a really good question. Unfortunately the answers are neither simple nor easy. As I indicated over the last two weeks, a trauma is not defined by the nature of the event itself but rather by the individual’s perception of the event, thus making the answers more dependent on personal characteristics. Let’s tease this apart a little.

Little “t” and big “T”

First, let me say that there are two essential types of traumas: what we call little “t” traumas and big “T” traumas. Big “T” traumas are the things most people would expect to be traumatic like earthquakes, the destruction of the World Trade Centers on 9/11, or being raped. Little “t” traumas, on the other hand, are circumstances, which, when added to certain specific vulnerabilities of an individual, add up to a traumatic experience. Examples might include the experience of an 8th grade boy having his pants pulled down in the lunch line at school, or being fired from your job in front of your peers, or perhaps having your figure, sexual performance, or other attributes criticized by a thoughtless spouse at a dinner party. So, what determines who will be traumatized and who will bounce back with greater ease?

Here are three specific circumstances that impact the risk of developing symptoms in response to possibly traumatic experiences.

1-One of the most significant risk factors is trauma in childhood.

Anything in childhood that disrupts a child’s sense of safety and security may cause childhood trauma. If the trauma is not detected, treated, and resolved, the vulnerability remains with the child as he or she continues to mature. The risk is increased when the traumatic experience occurs near times of critical development, such as birth through the first 3 months, around the one year mark, the period of 18 months to roughly 2 years of age when children are noticing and reacting to strangers and beginning to explore on their own, and again from ages 3 to 5 when they typically begin to develop enough autonomy to attend preschool and kindergarten and start developing social skills. Children traumatized around these critical developmental times often learn to see the world as a dangerous and scary place.

These are a few events likely to create risk during these critical developmental times:

  • A chaotic or unsafe living environment
  • Serious illness or separation from primary care-givers
  • Invasive medical procedures
  • Domestic violence, neglect, or abuse (sexual, physical, or emotional)
  • Bullying, frequent moves, or challenges to family well-being, such as poverty

2-A person already affected by one traumatic experience

is at even higher risk of further traumatization by experiences which might not pose a risk if they happened in otherwise non-traumatizing circumstances (multiple stressors). Consider that the system that handles the stress is already on over-load.

3-Dependency plus few coping skills or supports also increases risk.

This one risk factor is actually the good news, because it is the one we can easily do something to change in a positive direction. Anytime you see someone under stressful circumstances, you can decrease the risk of their trauma by increasing the number of support people who are able and willing to be of help, step up to help the victims learn to help themselves, or simply be with them to offer encouragement and emotional support. This may not prevent all trauma from occurring but it will reduce the potential risk every time.

Now you know some of the risk factors that increase the likelihood of an experience becoming a “traumatic event”. Knowing what to look for in yourself and those you care about may give you the time and allow you to shore up skills, offer support, and plan ahead.

Bear toys. Friendship support concept | Isolated

Next week, I’ll explore some of the symptoms of trauma. Some you may know about and others may come as a surprise to you. Knowing what to look for will make it easier to help yourself and those you love to get help and prevent a traumatic event from leading to a soul-destroying period of time, or a life-threatening condition.

If you believe that you or someone you care about is experiencing symptoms of trauma, please see a professional for help. Traumatic symptoms can ruin lives and make it extremely difficult for a person to enjoy living, but remember trauma is treatable. Get the help you need and find your peace again.

                 Pick up the phone now and call me at

                   801 494-7612 or email at

             lura.juracancenter@gmail.com.

 

A Deeper Understanding of Trauma

Puzzle Head Last week, I explained the difference between trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) simply: Trauma is the emotional, physical, and psychological ways a person is impacted by their experience whereas Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific disorder as defined in the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Anyone with PTSD has had some traumatic experience but not all who have been traumatized develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Your doctor or therapist can help you determine if you meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, but only you can determine for certain if you have been traumatized by some experience.

What Trauma Looks Like

What does trauma look like? Different people experience trauma in differing ways. Some people develop high anxiety and even panic attacks, a fear of leaving their home or of going to specific places. Many have bad dreams and nightmares, or a sense of doom that doesn’t seem to have a specific cause. Others are unable to trust and find intimacy very scary. There are probably as many different faces to traumatic response as there are people who have been traumatized. One thing all traumatized people share is a significant disruption in their normal life functioning following the experience of trauma.

CAUSES of Trauma

So what actually causes trauma? For some people, trauma may result from a one-time event such as an automobile accident, a vicious attack, or even being the witness to one of these experiences. Other times trauma follows ongoing, repeated experiences of high stress such as living in a home of extreme control, anger, and conflict, especially if there is abuse present. Other examples of relentless stress that may result in trauma are struggling with a life threatening illness, living or working in a high crime area, or involvement in an emotionally destructive relationship. Remember that it is the subjective emotional experience, which determines the trauma, not the objective event.

Trauma Events/Experience

You are more likely to have a traumatic experience if the event happens unexpectedly and you are not prepared for it, if it occurs repeatedly and leaves you feeling powerless, and if it happened in childhood.

Here are a few experiences that have been reported by traumatized clients:

  • Surgery, especially early in life or for life-threatening conditions
  • The violent, unexpected death of a loved one
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Emotional abuse by a spouse or parent over several years
  • A humiliating, deeply disappointing experience in front of others

As you can see trauma does not always require the events many of us have come to think of as the types of things that cause trauma and the majority of people weather these events without being traumatized. However, many people do experience trauma following these and other experiences and when they do, it can leave them feeling isolated, alone, and defeated. It can put them at high risk of health problems, work and relationships issues, and even at risk for suicide.

Treatment For Trauma

Puzzle Head Solution

Trauma if often a destroyer of happiness and life, but it is treatable. Over the next few weeks, I will go deeper into aspects of trauma. We’ll take a look at the risk factors for developing trauma, specific symptoms that many experience, when to seek help for trauma. And we’ll explore treatment options for trauma and how to help someone you love, or yourself.

Join me next time for more on understanding trauma. If you or someone you love is ready to start working to overcome the effects of trauma with the help of a counselor, please

       give me a call at 801-494-7612.

Dealing With Trauma And PTSD?

PTSD signsTrauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are in the news a lot. News stories abound with details of frightening events reported to have caused both trauma and PTSD for a variety of people from combatants in the military to survivors of natural disasters. Some stories provide hints at the definition of these problems but rarely do they offer solutions for the devastation left in the lives of those who suffer from either trauma or PTSD. I’d like to offer a more complete picture. In the next few weeks, I plan to take a more organized approach to understanding the definitions, the causes, and the treatments to deal with trauma and PTSD.

Today I want to share a little more specific information about what trauma and PTSD actually are. First of all, they are not synonymous. You can have trauma without also having PTSD but it is unlikely that you will have PTSD without having experienced some traumatic event(s). There are many different types of traumas, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First Trauma

Since trauma tends to come first, let’s start there. Psychological and emotional trauma is the result of an experience, which leaves you feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and in some way horrified. The experience is often sudden and unexpected, a threat to life or your security. Even without a threat of physical harm, some events may be perceived as traumatic by some people. The determination of trauma is based on the subjective experience of the individual, not the event itself. According to resources of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), only about 8.7% of the population in America experiences PTSD in a lifetime.

PTSD Is Next

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific collection of symptoms listed in the DSM 5 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition), a sort of “bible” of mental disorders organized by the APA used for the purpose of diagnosing mental health issues, determining treatment needs, and billing third party payers (insurances).

PTSD symptoms are gathered into three basic categories, as follows:

1-Altered cognitions and/or mood symptoms

2-Altered levels of arousal

3-Avoidance symptoms

PTSD is further defined by when it develops relative to the causal event and how long it lasts. Although there is a diagnosis of PTSD for children, I will be dealing with only adult and adolescent issues in my blog.

As you can see trauma is summed up in the emotional and psychological ways a person is impacted by their experience whereas Post traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific disorder. Anyone with PTSD has had some traumatic experience but not all who have been traumatized develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

[Some compare understanding trauma and PTSD to the difference between having “flu-like” symptoms and having THE flu. We all get symptoms from time to time of muscle aches, head ache, and respiratory symptoms such as congestion or runny nose. These symptoms may be allergy or actual flu, which only a viral test can determine. Whichever it may truly be, we still explain our dis-ease process as having the flu.]

Pain concept.

Treat The “Pain”

The DSM is intended to help practitioners identify disorders and syndromes with some level of accuracy and consistency. Despite the intention for the DSM, some interpretation of symptoms remains a persistent criticism within and outside of the mental health community. Like many practitioners, I favor helping my clients whether or not they meet diagnoses. All pain deserves treatment.

Next week, I will explain more about trauma, the causes, and symptoms. In the following weeks, I will offer up strategies for self-help, medical and psychological treatment.

Both trauma and PTSD can be very debilitating. If you suffer with symptoms of either trauma or PTSD and are ready to take back your life, please give me a call at (801) 494-7612 or send me a message on my contact page. Help is available and no one should have to suffer alone.