Trauma and PTSD Treatment
A significant symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is to “self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.” Trauma, because it is stored in the body, gives rise to somatic disturbances and upsetting body sensations such as heart-pounding, queasiness, sweating, tightness of muscles and shortness of breath.
The rise in disturbing body sensations can trigger the disturbing trauma imagery that is stored in the mind such as nightmares and flashbacks. (Van der Kolk 1994).
This can become a vicious circle in which the body and mind play off of each other causing a negative synergy in which the disturbing imagery triggers disturbing body sensations and visa versa, putting trauma survivors into a black hole that they can have trouble finding their way out of.
Drugs and alcohol, for the trauma survivor, can provide a way to quiet the mind and the body that they can have control over; a sort of self-administered trauma treatment or medication.
But sooner or later, these “medications” can morph into full-blown addictions whether the “medicator” is drugs, alcohol or prescription pills. As the body builds tolerance and both body and mind become addicted, greater amounts of the drug are needed to feel “okay.”
Thus the addiction takes hold, the PTSD symptoms become worse, not better and lives become unmanageable for all concerned. This is how the wheel of trauma and addiction makes its sinister turn through yet another generation.
Trauma is something that, while unfortunate, many people can relate to. When something traumatic occurs, individuals can react in a number of different ways. Some might adopt avoidance techniques so they do not need to face the effects that the trauma has produced, while others simply cannot stop ruminating about their traumatic experience.
There is no wrong way to react to trauma, however, continuing to live with the negative effects of it can be devastating and lead to even more trauma.
Within the United States, approximately 70 percent of adults have experienced one form of trauma within their lives. From that 70 percent, 20 percent end up developing posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It is reported that over 13 million American adults are currently struggling with PTSD.
And, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), 35 million children in the country have experienced one or more traumatic events. Many of these children will go on to grow into adults who may grapple with PTSD related to the traumatic situations they have endured as children.
There are several different types of trauma that are common throughout the majority of those struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder, including the following:
Even witnessing one of these common causes of trauma can lead to the development of a traumatic response.
Sadly, countless individuals have experienced at least one of these events, if not more. And, when trauma is experienced, an individual can quickly feel as though he or she is falling down the rabbit hole with no place to land.
Symptoms of Trauma
Some people who have experienced trauma might have a small period of time where they are sad, mad, or hurt, but in time, overcome those emotions. Others might find that they suffer from several different effects that continue to linger and become disruptive in their lives.
That is because trauma can cause emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms that are challenging to cope with. These symptoms include, however, are not limited to, the following:
Depending on the individual’s trauma and how he or she processes it, he or she may only experience a few of these symptoms, while someone else might experience many more. Either way, the best and most effective way to handle trauma is to seek trauma and PTSD treatment.
Trauma and PTSD Treatment
Trauma and its effects are usually touchy subjects and ones that those who are most affected typically do not want to discuss, as doing so can be painful. However, continuing to live with the impacts of trauma can cause more damage than possibly imagined.
For example, countless individuals who struggle with trauma turn to alcohol and drugs to cope. Before they know it, they are still dealing with trauma, but also in the thick of a substance abuse problem. However, that does not need to happen. Trauma and PTSD treatment can help individuals manage their trauma in healthy ways.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reports that the trauma therapies with the “strongest evidence” for success include prolonged exposure (PE), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
When someone experiences trauma, he or she might want to completely avoid talking or even thinking about that trauma. As a result, he or she avidly avoids it, however that does nothing but make the effects of that trauma fester and become more prominent.
Prolonged exposure, or PE, is a type of trauma and PTSD treatment that helps individuals face their emotions as they surround their trauma and work through them with a therapist. The goal of PE is to minimize the symptoms of PTSD by finally addressing the effects of the trauma.
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
It is very common for a trauma survivor to internalize their trauma in ways that make them feel as though they are responsible for it. Consistent thoughts of guilt, shame, and fault can become overwhelming, however cognitive processing therapy, or CPT, can help.
CPT helps individuals manage these self-beliefs by comparing them against whether or not they are factual. For example, a sexual assault survivor might feel as though he or she gave the attacker the wrong message. But, when looking at the facts that someone behaved in a way that is unacceptable, the person can start to change that self-belief and adjust it to reflect the facts.
Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
Many psychiatric professionals still do not know exactly how eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing works, however, it is one of the most revered trauma treatments today.
In an EMDR session, an individual will choose part of their trauma that is upsetting to them. He or she will be asked to think about that trauma while following an object, set of lights, or even the therapist’s finger. When done (usually within 30 seconds), the individual will speak to the client about his or her thoughts and start to talk through them and develop applicable coping skills to help decrease the presence of PTSD.
Each individual person who is dealing with PTSD and the effects of trauma will be examined to help determine which kind of trauma and PTSD treatment is best suited for his or her needs.
Do you need Help?
Living with the damage that traumatic experiences have caused can be more than overwhelming. It can be so upsetting that your entire life and how you live it has been completely altered in a negative way. You do not need to let the effects of trauma, complex trauma or PTSD invade the way in which you want to live your life.
Trauma and PTSD treatment can help you clear out the trauma so that you feel like the fog has finally been lifted. Do not wait. Call us right now. We can help.