Trauma survivors have a difficult time with the effects of the distressing event or experience they went through. It can be exhausting to be so hypervigilant all the time, have symptoms of depression, and just a general lack of trust in the world around you. Many may often ask themselves, “Will I feel this way forever?” The answer to this is both simple and complex. The effects of trauma that evolve into ost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will never entirely go away. However, they can be managed with proper treatment to make them less severe to live a normal life. Here is a look at the effects of trauma and ways of treating them for a healthier, happier life.
The Effects of Trauma
According to current literature, trauma can cause initial reactions of confusion, sadness, exhaustion, dissociation, numbness, agitation, and more. Even after years have passed, trauma can cause a person to have night terrors, fatigue, rage, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, dissociation, isolation, panic, difficulty concentrating, and possibly cause the development of a chronic disease related to stress. Flashbacks are also prevalent.
Due to the symptoms of PTSD caused by trauma being so intense, it can cause many individuals to turn to substances to numb the effects. While this may work as a coping strategy for a little while, drugs or alcohol can actually worsen the symptoms over time. This can cause a person to want to use more to further numb the symptoms, and the cycle will continue until it develops into a full-blown addiction. This takes its toll on an individual’s life. They may lose their house, file bankruptcy, be cut off from family, get into legal trouble, live in isolation, or experience severe health consequences.
Treatments for Trauma
There are a variety of treatments that are used to treat the effects of trauma, namely PTSD. These include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and sensorimotor therapy. Each has its own way of helping trauma survivors heal and teaching them coping methods to assist in the future.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EMDR helps individuals suffering from PTSD recall memories of the experience in a more positive way. This is especially helpful because many individuals are unable to recall the traumatic experience because their brain has blocked it out as a coping mechanism. During these sessions, the therapist will help the client identify a “target memory.” Then, they help them explore it as sounds and movements are used to distract the person to help them relax and make the memory less painful to remember. Clients are then asked to discuss what they saw, heard, and felt to hopefully not associate the memory with distressing feelings. The goal is for clients to recall traumatic memories without having a stress response.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is used by therapists to help identify a client’s negative thought and behavior patterns to challenge them and change them into healthier ones. The clients are asked to recall the traumatic event, why they believe it happened and how it affects them now. From there, the therapist can begin challenging the client’s negative beliefs towards the traumatic event and themselves, so they understand it wasn’t their fault. This also helps release anxiety because it teaches individuals that they have the power to cope with what happened to them.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT utilizes four different strategies to help clients cope with distressing emotions and manage conflict within interpersonal relationships. These four strategies are mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Each step creates a building block to prepare the client for what is to come, so by the end of the sessions, the client can better cope with the traumatic memories of what happened to them. Clients learn to be present in the moment, be more tolerant of negative emotions, regulate negative emotions, and bolster their interpersonal communication in ways that are assertive and maintain the client’s self-respect while building the relationship.
Preparing for Trauma Therapy
Going to treatment for trauma will be one of the best things you can do for yourself because you are taking an active role in your healing. However, it is understandable to be wary of what is to come as talking about what happened can be distressing. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for therapy.
Start by determining what kind of therapy you need. This will be determined by the type of trauma you went through and what specialists are in your area. Browse specialists and find one that seems like a good fit. Get in touch and book an appointment. When getting ready to go to that appointment, do your homework in the meantime. This involves identifying your symptoms, such as flashbacks, trouble sleeping, etc. This will help the therapist determine what approach to take for your treatment. Be prepared to discuss difficult subjects, having your mind ready for what is to come. Therapy is there to help you heal, and it is essential to remember that.
When you have gone through a traumatic experience, it can seem like the effects of that time will never go away. It can be difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel. However, through proper treatment, you can learn to cope with and conquer your trauma. At Choice House, we believe in treating trauma with the most modern approaches possible. The effects of trauma are long-lasting without proper treatment. Fortunately, we offer therapeutic modalities that will give our clients the best chance of healing and coping later in life. Our friendly staff is always here to answer questions regarding treatment, so you need not stress about your time with us. The effects of trauma may never completely go away, but we can help make them more manageable. For more information regarding trauma care at Choice House, call us at (720) 577-4422.