dealing with trauma

dealing with trauma
Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists

What is trauma? Following a deeply disturbing or threatening event, or trauma, it is normal to feel distressed and overwhelmed. Traumatic events include actual or threatened death, serious injury to oneself or another person, or a threat to the personal beliefs of oneself or others. Examples include violent assaults (e.g. sexual or physical assault, or mugging), torture, and severe car accidents. Refugees who are fleeing their homes because of war and political problems may suffer from stress related to trauma.

Response to trauma may be embodied by an acute stress reaction, which is a short-lived condition that develops following a traumatic event. The symptoms begin within minutes of the traumatic event and can disappear within hours, days, or weeks.

Alternatively, they may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a long-lasting anxiety response following a traumatic or catastrophic event.

PTSD usually develops within six months of the traumatic event. About half of all adults report experiencing a PTSD candidate event sometime in their lives, but only 10% will develop PTSD as a result, with 3.7% of the population being diagnosed with PTSD in a given year.

The median age at onset is 22 years, which reflects the age at which traumatic experiences tend to occur. Once begun, PTSD is often a chronic disorder associated with significant disability and handicap, affecting relationships, work, and physical health. Half recover within five years, the speed of recovery being greater for individuals who have received professional treatment.

Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists

what are the signs of trauma?

It is common for people to continue to have distressing thoughts, images, and feelings for some days, or even weeks, following the trauma. These reactions are common, and are a sign that the body is recovering from a severe stress.

the most commonly reported reactions to trauma are:

- Anxiety or fear of danger to self or loved ones, being alone, being in other frightening situations, having a similar event happen again.
- Avoidance of situations or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event.
- Being easily startled by loud noises or sudden movements.
- Flashbacks where images of the traumatic event come into your mind suddenly for no apparent reason, or where you mentally re-experience the event.
- Physical symptoms such as tense muscles, trembling or shaking, nausea, headaches, sweating, and tiredness.
- Lack of interest in usual activities, including loss of appetite or interest in sex.
- Sadness, feelings of loss, or aloneness.
- Sleep problems, including getting to sleep, waking in the middle of the night, dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event.
- Problems with thinking, concentration, or remembering things (especially aspects of the traumatic event).
- Preoccupation with thinking about the trauma.
- Guilt and self-doubt for not having acted in some other way during the trauma, or for being better off than others, or feeling responsible for another person's death or injury.
- Anger or irritability at what has happened, at the senselessness of it all, at what caused the event to happen, often asking "Why me?".

Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists

what treatments work for PTSD?

Getting better means that remembering the trauma stops terrifying you. For this to happen you will have to face your fears, and be able to talk about what happened. You don't have to do this all at once. You need to talk about what happened briefly at first and then in increasing detail, and to deal with the upsetting feelings, so that you can get on with your life. The aim is to face the fears and the terrible memories so that they no longer intrude in your life.

The video to the right is presented by the wonderful Carolyn Cowan. Carolyn is a London-based psychosexual and relationship therapist. Prior to her career as a therapist, she was a fashion designer and photographer. During the 1980s, she earned acclaim as a makeup artist in the pop music video industry.
- credit to wecoproduce and trauma matters for use of the video.

Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists
Andy Garland Therapies - Counselling Cardiff - Mental Health Services Cardiff - Cardiff Therapists

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