Have you experienced a traumatic event in your life? Perhaps it was a car accident or witnessing the serious injury or death of someone else? Trauma is something that very few of us really understand unless and until we experience it ourselves.
And while it's often predictable to have some form of PTSD after sexual injury like rape or being in a war, other people experience traumatic memories and reactions after more common experiences like miscarriage, bullying or illness.
On some level, it's less important to judge something as "worthy" of a traumatic response and more important to pay attention to the symptoms or reactions after a stressful incident occurs. How you process your experience weighs heavily on what kind of support you need to get past it.
If you have something from your past that continually lingers in your mind or body that you can't seem to "get over", you may need the support of a therapist to help you. For many, trauma treatment is the key to letting the past go and finally getting on with your life. Let's look at the most common symptoms to understand what's really involved:
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
If you have endured a painful, violent, or dangerous situation, you may warrant treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Here are some common symptoms associated with this disorder according to the DSM-5:
- Experiencing the traumatic event again in the form of nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive memories
- Undergoing an intense emotional and/or physical reaction after exposure to stimuli related to the event
- Careful and persistent avoidance of people, place, and things that make you remember or think about what happened
- Forceful suppression of thoughts and feeling related to the traumatic event
- Irrational and negative beliefs about yourself and/or the world (e.g. "Everyone is bad." "I can't trust anyone.")
- Purposeful isolation or feeling alienated from those around you, even spouses, family, and friends
- Problems remembering certain parts of what happened during the traumatic event
- Repeatedly blaming yourself or someone else for what happened
- Inability to feel positive emotions
- Feeling like the event did not happen to you or like it was happening in a movie rather than in real life (i.e. dissociation)
These symptoms must exist for at least one month after the traumatic event and cause marked impairment in functioning.
About half of all living people endure some form of trauma such as witnessing a death or serious injury, being in a serious accident, surviving natural disaster, sexual assault, child abuse, physical assault or combat. Everyone who survives an event such as these will not experience the symptoms of PTSD or warrant a diagnosis.
But, a diagnosis is more common if you meet the following demographic:
- experienced childhood abuse
- experienced a traumatic event early in life
- poorly education
- poor social support
- recent loss of a loved one
- recent life stressors
- alcoholic/drug addicted
On their own, none of these symptoms guarantees that you will experience PTSD from the traumatic events that have occurred in your life, they just make you more susceptible to it.
If you see yourself in the words on this page, and you're in Jupiter Florida or West Palm Beach, I would be happy to explore working together. The good news is that the new trauma treatments, like EMDR, are very helpful in moving past your pain and getting on with your life.
Don't let your past stop you from living a life you love. I can help. Reach out today.
To begin the healing process, I can be reached for a free 30-minute consultation at (201) 621-2160 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.