Psychological trauma is any event that is distressing to a person. It may be a physical, emotional or psychological threat and most people experience some form of psychological trauma at some point in their lives. Examples can include the sudden death of a loved one, a violent criminal act, being exposed to a war or natural disaster, or different kinds of abuse. Most people recover with time and with adequate social support. But for some people, the emotional and psychological scarring lasts much longer. These people may benefit from the help of a mental health professional trained to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The National Institute of Mental Health cites that post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects about 3.5% of
Americans in any given year. To be clinically diagnosed with PTSD, a person needs to have experienced or witnessed a traumatic, physically threatening event or have learned that a traumatic event happened to a close friend or family member, and display specific symptoms for at least one month. These symptoms can include:
- Avoiding specific things or places that remind them of the event
- Anxiety, depression, numbness, or guilt
- Having nightmares or flashbacks
- Feeling angry, irritable and hyper vigilant
- Demonstrating aggressive or reckless behavior, including thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Suffering from sleep disturbances
- Losing interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable
- Having difficulty remembering details of the distressing event
- Experiencing a change in habit or behavior since the trauma
Psychotherapy has been shown to be very effective for the treatment of PTSD. Counseling can help victims make sense of the event and learn coping mechanisms for their symptoms. It also provides support and helps them connect with other available resources in their community. People suffering from PTSD need not only seek help immediately after the event to benefit from psychotherapy. A qualified therapist can access unresolved feelings long after the trauma has occurred.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization are common methods employed by counselors. Others have found success using group therapy, expression through art and using certain medications, in the more severe cases.
At RingWell, our therapists do not force you to push your feelings aside or forget about the event. We encourage post-traumatic growth in spite of them. Rediscover your personal strength, learn to appreciate life again and its endless new possibilities with RingWell.