PTSD & Trauma Counseling
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What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a psychological, emotional response to a deeply distressing event that can impact how well you can cope and function afterwards. It is normal to experience shock and denial after a traumatic event, but some people struggle to move on with their lives. The therapists at Ogden Psychological Services can help you find healthy coping mechanisms and how to manage your emotions so that you can build a healthier, happier life.
Many people experience trauma at some point in their life. There are many different types of trauma, but some of the most common traumatic events include:
- Car accidents
- Physical injury
- Life-threatening/altering illness
- Death of a loved one
- Witnessing a traumatic event, such as a crime, a death, or an accident
- Natural disasters
Some traumas are isolated, one-time events, while others are repeated and on-going. Some people develop PTSD after having experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Everyone processes trauma differently and what is traumatic can vary from something upsetting to severely damaging experiences.
Signs And Symptoms Of Trauma
Everyone’s reactions to a traumatic event is different, but there are some common signs and symptoms of trauma that people can experience. These include:
- Feeling unsafe
- Feeling isolated
- Intrusive thoughts and memories
Many symptoms of trauma are also symptoms of PTSD, however, having these symptoms does not mean that you have PTSD, and many people who experience trauma do not develop PTSD. PTSD can develop following a trauma, and typically has more severe, intense symptoms than your body’s natural response to trauma.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health condition that is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. You do not need to have been directly involved in the event in order to develop PTSD. PTSD can be seriously debilitating and seriously impact your life. For some people, PTSD symptoms can start soon after the traumatic event, while for others, it may take months or years.
It is normal for anyone to have nightmares and other stress and anxiety reactions after going through or seeing something traumatic. However, most people start to feel better within weeks or months. If you develop PTSD, it can cause your feelings about the trauma and cause issues in your life to last for months or years after.
Anyone can develop PTSD. Some people are at higher risk for developing PTSD, such as experiencing certain types of trauma, like sexual assault and combat, as well as if the traumatic event was long-lasting or you were hurt during it.
Signs And Symptoms Of PTSD
The majority of people who go through or witness a traumatic event experience short-term symptoms of PTSD, however, in most cases, they recover naturally. When the symptoms persist and disrupt your life, it is likely that you have developed PTSD. PTSD symptoms can start within a month of the event, although in some cases, they may not appear until years later. The signs and symptoms of PTSD can cause significant problems in your day-to-day life, your relationships, and your social or work situations.
Some people can recover from PTSD within a few months, while for others, it can become a chronic issue. Symptoms vary in intensity. They may worsen when you are generally stressed or when you are reminded of what happened, such as how fireworks remind combat veterans of gunfire.
There are four types of PTSD symptoms: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, adults need to have experienced the following symptoms for at least a month:
- 1 intrusive memory symptom, at least
- 1 avoidance symptom, at least
- 2 changes in thinking and mood, at least
- 2 changes in physical and emotional reactions, at least
- Flashbacks (reliving the event)
- Recurrent, unwanted memories about the event
- Several emotional or physical reactions to things that remind you of the event
- Avoiding thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event
- Avoiding places, people or activities that remind you of the traumatic event
Negative Changes In Thinking And Mood
- Trouble remembering aspects of the traumatic event
- Emotional numbness
- Trouble experiencing positive emotions
- Negative thoughts about yourself, others, and/or the world
- Trouble maintaining relationships
- Losing interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Distorted feelings of guilt and/or blame
Changes In Physical And Emotional Reactions
- Being easily startled
- Angry outbursts
- Aggressive behavior
- Difficulty sleeping
- Being perpetually on guard
- Self-destructive behaviors
- Difficulty concentrating
For children who experience PTSD, they may also show signs and symptoms of PTSD by having scary dreams, wetting the bed, being unable to speak, clinging to a parent or adult, and re-enacting the traumatic event or parts of it during play.
What Does Trauma And PTSD Treatment Look Like?
Here at Ogden Psychological Services, we offer CBT, EMDR, and Neurofeedback to treat trauma and PTSD.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
CBT helps people recognize irrational thought patterns that result in negative behaviors and to build new, helpful thought patterns that are rational.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
EMDR uses eye movements and bilateral stimulation, such as hand-tapping, while briefly focusing on the traumatic memory. This helps to alleviate the stress, vividness, and emotion the memory brings with it.
Neurofeedback helps your brainwaves regulate themselves in a series of monitoring and rewards when they regulate. This allows your body to calm down and your brain to relax and form more positive thought patterns.
Begin Your Healing Journey
If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, Ogden Psychological Services is here to help you process what happened, form healthy coping mechanisms, and manage your symptoms so that you can go on to live your life. Contact us today for more information or to set up an appointment for trauma counseling.