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Neurofeedback Registered Therapist

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PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

What Are the Main Sources of Psychological Trauma?

Trauma can be caused by an overwhelmingly negative event that causes a lasting impact on the survivor’s mental and emotional stability. While many sources of trauma are physically violent in nature, others are psychological. Some common sources of trauma include:

  • Rape

  • Domestic violence

  • Natural disasters

  • Severe illness or injury

  • The death of a loved one

  • Witnessing an act of violence

Trauma is often but not always associated with being present at the site of a trauma-inducing event. It is also possible to sustain trauma after witnessing something from a distance.

 

Young children are especially vulnerable to trauma and should be psychologically examined after a traumatic event has occurred to ensure their emotional well-being.

What Are the Signs of a Person Suffering from Trauma?

While the causes and symptoms of trauma are various, there are some basic signs of trauma that you can look out for. People who have endured traumatic events will often appear shaken and disoriented. They may not respond to conversation as they normally would and will often appear withdrawn or not present even when speaking.

Another tell tale sign of  trauma  is anxiety. Anxiety due to trauma can manifest in problems such as night terrors, edginess, irritability, poor concentration and mood swings. While these symptoms of trauma are common, they are not exhaustive. Individuals respond to trauma in different ways. Sometimes trauma is virtually unnoticeable even to the survivor’s closest friends and family. These cases illustrate the importance of talking to someone after a traumatic event has occurred, even if they show no initial signs of disturbance. Trauma can manifest days, months or even years after the actual event.

Emotional Symptoms of Trauma

Emotion is one of the most common ways in which trauma manifests. Some common emotional symptoms of trauma include denial, anger, sadness and emotional outbursts. Survivors of trauma may redirect the overwhelming emotions they experience toward other sources, such as friends or family members. This is one of the reasons why trauma is difficult for loved ones as well. It is hard to help someone who pushes you away, but understanding the emotional symptoms that come after a traumatic event can help ease the process.

Physical Symptoms of Trauma

Trauma often manifests physically as well as emotionally. Some common physical signs of trauma include paleness, lethargy, fatigue, poor concentration and a racing heartbeat. The survivor may have anxiety or panic attacks and be unable to cope in certain circumstances. The physical symptoms of trauma can be as real and alarming as those of physical injury or illness, and care should be taken to manage stress levels after a traumatic event.

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Trauma

All effects of trauma can take place either over a short period of time or over the course of weeks or even years. Any effects of trauma should be addressed soon as they manifest to prevent long term effects. The sooner the trauma is addressed, the better chance a survivor has of recovering successfully and fully. Short-term and long-term effects of trauma can be similar, but long-term effects are generally more severe. Short-term mood changes are fairly normal after trauma, but if the shifts in mood last for longer than a few weeks, a long-term effect can occur.

 

 

 

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs in some cases when people are exposed to a very stressful event, which is known as an extreme stress trigger. To be diagnosed with PTSD, they must continue to experience symptoms of PTSD, for at least one month after exposure to this trigger.

Who Experiences PTSD?

Although women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, anyone who experiences an extremely traumatic event may develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

Examples of extreme stress triggers include:

  • Criminal assault or rape

  • Natural disasters

  • Serious accidents

  • Combat exposure

  • Child physical or sexual abuse or severe neglect

  • Witnessing traumatic events

  • Imprisonment/hostage/displacement as refugees

  • Torture

  • The sudden unexpected death of loved ones

Although other types of stress may be severe and can be quite upsetting, they typically do not result in PTSD. Such events might include the death of an elderly parent, divorce, or job loss.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

People living with PTSD typically experience three main types of symptoms.

 

First, they may re-experience the traumatic event that led to developing PTSD. 

This can include:

  • Flashbacks in which they feel that the triggering event is recurring even while they are awake

  • Distressing recollections of the traumatic event

  • Nightmares of the event

  • Exaggerated physical and emotional reactions to triggers that remind them of the event

 

The second type of symptom involves emotional numbing or even avoidance.

It may include the following symptoms or behaviours:

  • Avoidance of places, thoughts, activities, conversations, and feelings related to the event or trauma

  • Feelings of detachment

  • Loss of interest

  • Restricted emotions

 

The third symptom type relates to increased arousal related to the event and may be indicated by:

  • Outbursts of anger

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Hypervigilance

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Exaggerated startle responses

Related Conditions and Problems

In addition to the symptoms listed above, people with PTSD may face an array of other symptoms. With successful treatment, many of these symptoms will improve.

The person with PTSD may require extra treatment to address the full scope of conditions related to PTSD.

Panic Attacks

People who have experienced a significant trauma may have panic attacks when they are exposed to a trigger that reminds them of the inciting trauma. For instance, someone who develops PTSD as a result of combat exposure may have a panic attack upon hearing a loud noise that reminds them of an explosion.

During a panic attack, the person will commonly experience intense discomfort or fear. This may be accompanied by psychological or physical symptoms, which might include:

  • Sweating

  • Racing or pounding heart

  • Shortness of breath

  • Shaking or trembling

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Chest pain

  • Numbness

  • Hot flushes

  • Tingling

People may experience a sense of detachment or may even feel as though they are dying, going crazy, or having heart attacks.

PTSD can develop following exposure to an extremely threatening or horrific event or series of events in which the individual perceived their life was under threat