Trauma

 

Definition

 

Trauma is a real occurrence that many people have experienced whether it is realized or not. Something is considered traumatic based on its level of unpredictability and its potential to be life-threatening. Car accidents, war trauma, rape and sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters can all be traumatic experiences. In addition, being the witness to or hearing about a traumatic event that occurs to a loved one can cause symptoms for a person.

 

Symptoms:

 

In many cases, traumatic incidents leave lasting symptoms of paralyzing anxiety, grief, and hopelessness, as well as flashbacks, night terrors, and intrusive memories. These extremely debilitating and disempowering symptoms often impede ones' ability to properly manage their every day life responsibilities. 

 

Symptoms of trauma generally fall into three categories:

 

  • Re-experiencing symptoms include nightmares, night terrors, intrusive memories, and flashbacks. 
  • Hyperarousal symptoms include anxiety, panic attacks, and other physical symptoms that can vary. Common physical symptoms include headaches, sweating, clamminess, and rapid breathing or heartbeat. In addition, an individual may have symptoms of depression and depressed physical functioning. 
  • Avoidance symptoms include expending much energy and effort in trying to forget the traumatic event, avoidance of people, places, and things that remind one of the event, and avoiding certain activities where one is reminded of the event.

 

Treatment:

 

Treatment aimed at helping people who have experienced traumatic events has grown rapidly in the past twenty years. There are specific methods of psychotherapy that can be used to alleviate symptoms in all three categories mentioned above. At the St. Louis Wellness Center, because we understand the mind, the body, and the spirit have undergone injury, we offer care for all of these simultaneously. If you or someone you know is experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, please call us to talk about ways providers at the St. Louis Wellness Center can tailor care to meet your individual needs.


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