Each of us faces situations, challenges, grief, loss, and trauma differently. Each of us has a different tolerance and capacity. One can be traumatic for one individual may not be for another. A single event can result in several traumatic experiences for one person and nothing for another.
Yet, unresolved trauma can impair one’s functioning or can lead to a condition called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. If you have recently experienced divorce, an illness, accident, or are experiencing bereavement; you may be exhibiting symptoms of trauma. Yet others may be returning from serving our country and maybe have witnessed a tragic event or been threatened that leads to reoccurring nightmares and thinking about the event throughout the day.
When you are diagnosed with posttraumatic stress, you likely experienced a more severe event by which you felt helpless, fearful, and horror. There was likely a physical threat to integrity not only for yourself but likely others that may have been at the event. What makes trauma different for everyone is the degree to which they became overwhelmed psychologically and were no longer able to cope with the situation. Depending on the situation, an individual may begin experiencing trauma at or near the time of the event or later in life – a delayed event. Symptoms of trauma can be triggered by similar events.
Symptoms of trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can include reoccurring and distressing nightmares of the event, memories of the trauma, a feeling of numbness, flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of people and places that are associated with the traumatic event, and increased arousal. Not everyone who experiences a trauma will develop PTSD. The type of help and support an individual receives following trauma from friends, family, and professional will influence the severity of symptoms as well as the individual’s coping mechanisms.
Again, everyone is different in how they react to trauma. For example, research is showing that the more often a person is exposed to trauma (i.e., childhood trauma, domestic violence, physical abuse), the more likely they are to develop PTSD or symptoms consistent with repeated exposure to trauma. PTSD can develop at any age.
The goal of treatment is to reduce the emotional and physical symptoms of the individual, to improve daily functioning, and help the individual better deal with the event that triggered the symptoms. Treatment can involve individual, family, and/or group psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of them. It starts with scheduling an appointment to your primary care physician to ensure there are no medical reasons for your symptoms. Next, your physician will then refer you to an outpatient mental health facility where further assessment can be completed and treatment goals developed.
If you have experienced a recent loss, are grieving, been exposed to a traumatic events and are looking for support, understanding, and help reducing your symptoms then call our office today at 218-722-4880.