Experiencing a threat to the physical and psychological survival of oneself or a loved one may result in trauma. Trauma occurs when a person’s ability to respond with resilience is overwhelmed by the intensity of a situation that includes feelings of intense helplessness, shame, and terror. In response to trauma, as an attempt to reestablish safety, our bodies remain on high alert and continue to respond to threat after the danger has passed. When a traumatic event continues to cause significant distress or dysfunction in an individual’s social, occupational, or family functioning Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be an appropriate diagnosis.
Types of trauma
- Developmental Trauma- childhood trauma such as chronic abuse, neglect or other harsh adversity in their own homes
- Shock Trauma– a shock reaction to a specific event
- Relational Trauma– experience of threat from someone on a position of trust or power
- Sustained Community Based Trauma– repeated traumatic events within a community like civil war, multiple suicides, or cultural or faith-based conflicts
- Intergenerational/Historic Trauma– “the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding across generations, including the lifespan, which emanates from a massive group trauma.” (Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, 2011)
- Secondary Trauma– current personal or family experiences may replicate parts of past trauma
- Vicarious Trauma– hearing and seeing other’s experiences of trauma
- Women are at higher risk of developing PTSD than men especially in relation to sexual trauma
- PTSD symptoms may take years to develop
- Talk therapy is considered more effective than medication in treating PTSD symptoms
- Children can develop PTSD
Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) are effective in addressing the symptoms of PTSD.
Medication can be used in conjunction with talk therapy to treat PTSD. For some people SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) may be helpful in adressing brain cell communication problems that may be related to PTSD symptoms.
When PTSD is identified and treated appropriately people can begin enjoying their lives again.
If you are concerned about your own or your child's mental health Edgar Psychological can help.
Psychologists that Specialize in PTSD
Scarlett Eyben – has extensive experience providing treatment for PTSD using Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE) and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute. (2016). Trauma – Strategies for resolving the impact of post-traumatic stress. Winnipeg: Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute.
PTSD Journal. (2018). 10 Surprising Facts About PTSD. Retrieved from PTSD Journal: http://www.ptsdjournal.com/posts/10-surprising-facts-about-ptsd/
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2017). Treatment of PTSD. Retrieved from PTSD: National Center for PTSD: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/therapy-med/treatment-ptsd.asp