Not long ago, mentions of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) brought to mind war veterans being haunted by their war experiences. While it is true that post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event such as a war experience, it is not limited to these types of encounters. Events such as a sexual or physical assault, being a victim of a serious crime, a near death experience, or a natural disaster can also trigger symptoms including lingering, frightening thoughts and memories of the event, emotional numbness, avoidance of particular situations, and recurring flashbacks and/or recurrent dreams.
PTSD can be difficult for the individual as well as those around him/her. The symptoms can be hard to understand and cope with and coping is often achieved through self-medicating with alcohol and/or drugs. It can be a difficult disorder to treat especially since we are generally wired to avoid dealing with painful experiences. For some it can be complicated by the fact the triggering event is not entirely clear. A therapist trained in trauma work is a valuable tool to helping set free some of those locked away secrets.
There are also other traumas that we experience that can have significant effects on us as well. Things such as the sudden or unexpected death of a loved one, feeling abandoned, childhood experiences of being bullied or rejected by peers or family, being neglected or not feeling the love or approval of primary care givers, households with great unpredictability, and a host of other situations. While not as significant as events that cause PTSD, they do create problems in many areas of our lives and are often the reasons behind anxiety, low self esteem, anger, difficulty forming close bonds with others, and depression.
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) are both recognized treatments for treating trauma. Contact one of our therapists today to find the approach that works best for you. We will work with you and your physician if medication is a necessary adjunct to treatment.
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