A startling fact, 1 in 13 Americans develop PTSD according to the Sidran Institute. In fact, 20% of Americans, who experience trauma end up developing PTSD in their lifetime (The British Journal of Psychiatry). Many individuals that are currently living with PTSD have symptoms that are chronic in nature and considered severe.
It’s estimated that half of all individuals will end up being exposed to a traumatic event during their life. This means that treatment for trauma is overwhelmingly necessary to help people understand and absorb the experience before it manifests into something worse. Finding the right treatment to work through trauma disorders can help you recover and live a much more fulfilling life.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines trauma as “an emotional wound or shock that creates lasting negative effects”. Basically, trauma is an emotional reaction to a stressful event or situation that causes you to lose your sense of security. Trauma is always thought of in reference to traumatic experiences, however, trauma can occur as a result of anything that causes a person to feel like there is a direct threat to their safety.
A one-time, big event can cause trauma like a car accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. However, trauma can also come from ongoing experiences like living in an abusive household or being in combat. Even living with someone who directly experienced the trauma can cause loved ones to feel traumatized.
No matter the source of trauma, it can lead to serious long-term mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. It’s important to seek professional help if you think you might be struggling with trauma.
The effects of trauma can manifest in many different ways. Some people may experience physical symptoms like headaches or chest pain. Others may have trouble sleeping, feel on edge, or have flashbacks of the trauma.
Common signs and symptoms of trauma include:
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
- Flashbacks of the trauma
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Angry outbursts
- Avoiding people or places that remind you of the trauma
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Irritability or mood swings
- Chest pain
It’s important to understand that trauma affects everyone differently. How it will affect the person will depend on a variety of factors. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to reach out for help. A mental health professional can help you understand your symptoms and develop a treatment plan.
Emotional vs. Psychological Trauma
It’s important to understand the difference between emotional and psychological trauma. Emotional trauma is a type of damage that affects your emotions. Psychological trauma is a type of damage that affects your thoughts, feelings, and mental health.
Trauma can be caused by a variety of events, including:
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Witnessing violence
- Natural disasters
- Car accidents
- War or combat
- The death of a loved one
If you’ve been through any of these experiences, you may be struggling with trauma. But there is hope. With treatment, you can heal the emotional and psychological damage caused by trauma.
Trauma vs. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Most people associate trauma with a single, life-altering event. However, trauma can also refer to the long-term effects of exposure to stressful or dangerous situations. This could include things like growing up in a war zone, being the victim of abuse or neglect, or witnessing violence.
PTSD is one type of trauma disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. PTSD can have a profound effect on someone’s ability to live a normal life.
What is Complex Trauma?
Complex trauma refers to the exposure to multiple trauma events, usually over a prolonged period of time. This could include things like being raised in an abusive home or serving in a war zone. Complex trauma can lead to a variety of mental health issues including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
What is Developmental Trauma?
Developmental trauma is a type of trauma that occurs during childhood. It is often the result of abuse, neglect, or other forms of violence. Developmental trauma can lead to a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you think you may be suffering from a trauma disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. There are a variety of effective treatment programs and therapy types available for trauma disorders. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Many people benefit from well-rounded programs that are structured specifically to address the signs and symptoms related to the trauma. Depending on the type of trauma you or a loved one may be experiencing you could benefit from either an inpatient program or outpatient program.
Inpatient programs for trauma disorders require that patients stay at the facility for a specific period of time, usually around 30 days. During this time, patients receive 24-hour care and treatment. This type of program is often best for those who have complex trauma or multiple trauma disorders.
Outpatient programs offer more flexibility as patients are not required to stay at the facility overnight. These programs typically last anywhere from 12 weeks to 6 months. Outpatient programs can be just as effective as inpatient programs, depending on the severity of the trauma disorder.
Both inpatient and outpatient programs offer a variety of therapies that have been proven to be effective in treating trauma disorders.
Therapy helps individuals work through issues and symptoms surrounding their trauma. Through a variety of evidence-based therapy types you can learn to cope with your trauma to minimize the impact it’s having on your life.
Common types of therapy include the following:
This type of therapy helps you to understand how your thoughts and beliefs are affecting your behaviors. You’ll work with a therapist to identify negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive, productive ones.
EMDR is a trauma-focused therapy that uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to help you process trauma memories. This can help reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to trauma-related thoughts, feelings, and situations in a safe and controlled environment. This can help you learn to manage your reactions and cope with trauma triggers.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to treat the symptoms of trauma disorders. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers can all be helpful in managing the symptoms of trauma disorders.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a trauma disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. Treatment can make a big difference in helping people manage their symptoms and live productive, fulfilling lives.
Adler Health in California offers well-rounded treatment programs to target specific symptoms related to trauma disorders. We can help you find peace and recover today!