It may be difficult to know when an event or experience has had a traumatizing affect. Trauma is any experience in which a person feels their own life or the life of another has been threatened physically, emotionally or psychologically. The fear is a loss of life or witnessing the loss of the life of another person. So even if you have just witnessed a car wreck where someone was injured, killed or could have been killed- this event would likely be experienced as trauma to your brain.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
-      * Severe Anxiety
-      * Agitation/Irritable mood
-      * Difficulty Sleeping
-      * Nightmares
-      * Flashbacks
-      * Feeling Guilty
-      * Hyper-vigilance
-      * Self-Destructive Behavior
-      * Loneliness
-      * Loss of interest in usual activities
-      * Distrust of others
-      * Excessive Fear
-      * Social Isolation
-      * Hostility
WHAT PTSD FEELS LIKE
When this happens, you may find your mind will replay the memories and images of the incident over in our minds as a means of processing and creating meaning out of the event. For a small period of time usually days or weeks, we may experience emotional distress with an increased in anxiety, worry and flashbacks. All of this is a normal reaction to trauma and is the minds natural way of healing. With time, the memories and images will lose the emotional impact they once had and we will slowly return to our normal functioning where thoughts of the event no longer cause emotional distress. Depending on the severity of the traumatic event, some people recover with time and through the support of family and friends, bouncing back with great resiliency, but for others, the effects of trauma are lasting, causing a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or post-traumatic stress far after the event has passed. In this case, a person may become stuck in the traumatic and develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) are affected with symptoms on a daily basis long after the event has subsided. PTSD sufferers can experience flashbacks of the events, recurring nightmares, extreme irritability, difficulty focusing and constant anxiety. Social situations and crowds can be extremely overwhelming causing panic and intense fears to be triggered. Many people find they become more and isolated. PTSD is an extremely distressing experience for sufferers and their loved ones.
HOW TRAUMA THERAPY CAN HELP
Psychotherapy is the most effective form of treatment for trauma. The types of therapy most effective with trauma sufferers are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Our therapist are able to work with both clients who have experience traumatic experiences using by helping clients using both of these modalities. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) enables trauma sufferers to connect thoughts, feelings and reactions so that they can be more aware of their experience and feel more in control. This awareness helps to integrate their physical and emotional experience thus reducing many of the symptoms and making sense of the traumatic experience. Another leading therapy for trauma is EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is designed to help process through troubling memories that have gotten “stuck,” and are causing distressing symptoms of PTSD. Often these memories are interfering with an individual’s quality of life, and ability to function. Even though the person may have good insight and understand what is taking place on a logical/intellectual level, often the memory still has an emotional “charge,” and can affect the way they relate to the world. Trauma often affects us on a level deeper than words can reach; which is why the mind/body connection is so important, and why many people find relief through EMDR. If someone has experienced a traumatic event, they might feel as if they are a slave to their multiple triggers, and may spend the majority of their time in a hyper vigilant state. If they are out shopping and hear a loud noise, or smell a certain food, then suddenly they’re involuntarily pulled back into the past as if attached to a bungee cord. EMDR helps to “cut the cord,” and can allow individuals to become fully engaged in their lives again, instead of putting so much of their energy into avoiding potential triggers. They will still be able to access the memory, but can operate from a place of emotional neutrality when doing so. Basically the event will move from the forefront of their mind, to the peripheral thus reducing the distressing symptoms of person has been experiencing.
BENEFITS OF EMDR THERAPY
One benefit of EMDR is that clients do not have to go into detail about the distressing memory. This is great news for people who are not ready to share what took place, or those that struggle to articulate it. In some situations verbalizing a traumatic event can actually re-traumatize individuals, and delay their treatment progress. Another reason people are drawn to EMDR is how quickly clients feel notice it “working.” In fact, many report an improvement in symptoms after just one session. This helps to keep them motivated and engaged in treatment, which greatly improves outcomes.
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