Unfortunately, trauma is a common experience for many people. Up to 70% of adults or 223.4 million adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, according to The National Council for Behavioral Health. Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing event and traumatic experiences can look different for everyone. No one experiences trauma in the same way. Some experiences that are known to cause trauma include sexual abuse, violence, car accidents, witnessing death or natural disasters. However these incidents do not account for other life experiences that can create trauma as well such as childhood abuse, community violence, family dynamics, unhealthy relationships, and sickness.
While there are different types of trauma, the way someone reacts to trauma is unique. The type of traumatic incident and how long it persisted (an isolated case vs. recurring instances) can also affect how someone responds and is treated. Acute trauma describes the experience of witnessing a singular traumatic case. Chronic trauma is trauma that repeats itself over a longer course of time like childhood abuse or an abusive relationship. Common symptoms of trauma include feeling very strong emotions, feeling nothing at all, experiencing shame, anxiety or depression. Other symptoms include flashbacks to the event, trouble connecting with loved ones, heightened awareness of noises and things going on around you, and trouble sleeping or oversleeping. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consider speaking to someone.
Trauma can sometimes lead to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which is a trauma-induced mental health disorder. If early symptoms of trauma doesn’t subside or continue to worsen, you may be experiencing PTSD. PTSD is marked by feelings of anxiety, restlessness and recurring, unstoppable memories of the traumatic incident. Symptoms of PTSD are sometimes grouped into four main categories: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking or mood and changes in physical and emotional reactions, according to WebMD. Intrusive memory symptoms can include flashbacks and unavoidable thoughts of the trauma. Avoidance can mean burying the memory and acting as if it didn’t happen or avoiding places or people that remind you of the incident. Negative changes in thinking or mood can include a sudden urge to avoid or be around others, hopelessness for the future, and feeling detached.
If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
At Resilience Lab, we take many approaches that have been proven effective including EMDR, somatic experiencing and exposure therapy. EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) is a therapy proven successful for the treatment of PTSD. Somatic experiencing includes bringing awareness to the mind and body while engaging in talk therapy. Exposure therapy targets areas of distress in a safe and controlled environment. When you meet with a Resilience Lab therapist, your unique experience will be evaluated for the best approach. You are not expected to know what you need. This is where we come in.