Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Stressful life events can result in trauma when your sense of security has been broken, and you are left feeling helpless. The more fearful and helpless you are, the more likely you are to suffer long-lasting trauma. This type of distress overwhelms you with upsetting emotions, memories, and persistent anxiety. It can also leave you feeling disconnected and numb.
Trauma usually involves a threat to your life or physical safety. However, any situation that makes you feel isolated emotionally can cause a traumatic impact regardless of residual physical harm. Your subjective emotions to singular events (rather than the objective circumstances) are what determine the actual impact of a traumatic event.
Any accident, injury, or violent attack, especially if unexpected or something that occurred in childhood, can cause significant trauma. Major lifestyle changes such as natural disasters, life-threatening illnesses, or repeated incidents of bullying, domestic violence, or child neglect also apply. Additional examples of overlooked causes of trauma might include surgery (especially within the first three years of life), the sudden death of a relative, or the end of a significant relationship. Any incident where someone was cruel can leave traces of trauma.
Mental Health Disorders
Symptoms of Trauma
The category of Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) discusses how different trauma exposure levels can result in various symptoms. Trauma survivors may experience physical symptoms such as:
- Changes in eating patterns
- Socialization issues
- Relationship problems
- Compulsive behaviors
- Panic attacks
- Memory loss
- Extreme stress
Types of Trauma Treatment
Trauma treatment designed to get to the core of each patient’s struggle is part of every Headwaters at Origins program. Headwaters’ trauma therapies include:
- Individual and group therapy
- Meditation training
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
We incorporate clinical and therapeutic approaches to help resolve issues and manage healthy responses to feelings of distress. We teach patients new skills to regulate their emotions and work on effective ways to avoid using alcohol or drugs if panicked feelings return.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that may result after a person experiences a sexual or physical assault, natural disaster, combat, or more.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome can include:
- Unwanted, intrusive, and recurrent thoughts
- Nightmares or distressing dreams
- Unwarranted anger
- Negative changes in feelings and beliefs
- Fluctuating mood, anxiety, or depression
- Dissociative mental experiences
- Inability to function day-to-day
- Exaggerated reaction to events or panic
- Inability to concentrate
- Emotional responses to traumatic reminders
- Social withdrawal
- Isolation from loved ones
- Continuous hypervigilance
The person battling post-traumatic stress disorder is constantly on the lookout for cues that could indicate additional danger. When any of these symptoms listed above last longer than three months or disrupt work, social, or home life, PTSD is generally suspected. The sooner treatment for PTSD can begin, the better.
Co-Occurring Addiction and PTSD
The misuse of alcoholic beverages and drugs is a common practice for the individual with post-traumatic stress syndrome. This practice is so common that it is estimated that half of all individuals in treatment for the disease of addiction also suffer simultaneously from PTSD. Alcohol and drugs often aggravate existing PTSD symptoms. And intoxication from substance use may also lead to additional distress.
For example, if a person was involved in an accident or became the victim of physical violence or sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol would impair a person’s judgment and decision-making capabilities and could lead to further damage. The misuse of substances may trigger a new case of PTSD or aggravate an existing condition.
Gender Considerations and PTSD Treatment
When an individual is experiencing both post-traumatic stress syndrome and active addiction, treatment should include a trauma-informed, evidence-based approach, including programming that attends to gender issues while also treating co-occurring disorders.
We are fully equipped to treat trauma, PTSD, and other stress-related disorders for men and women. Our multi-disciplinary Headwaters team of healthcare professionals has extensive experience in trauma-informed treatment. We are committed to helping our patients overcome addiction while offering high-quality services to anyone struggling with co-occurring mental disorders.
PTSD Treatment Modalities
Trauma-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress syndrome require specialized therapies designed to help reprocess memories and all the associated reactions that continue to follow the traumatic experience. The goal is to develop healthier coping mechanisms while empowering patients with the independent living skills needed to thrive without relying on substances.
Center for Brain Recovery
At our Headwaters Center for Brain Recovery (CBR), specialists work with each patient’s multi-disciplinary treatment team to review the patient’s progress and identify any other psychological difficulties. Our licensed therapists and master’s-level clinicians offer custom treatment plans for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Based on the unique circumstances of each individual, Headwaters may offer evidence-based treatments proven to be effective for PTSD symptoms, including anticipating triggers, reducing anxiety and fear responses, managing mood swings and anger, and processing traumatic memories. These approaches are successfully used to treat a variety of other mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.
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