Often, when people hear the word ‘trauma,’ they think of something that happens to other people. They think of something specific and shocking and horrific, such as war or a shooting, or a severe and obvious from of child abuse. These are certainly things that cause trauma, but there are often other forms of trauma that can be overlooked, especially by those who grew up steeped in that experience. And often, we don’t want to see ourselves as having suffered such a painful experience. People generally tend to minimize what they’ve been through and push away the very experiences that are crying out to be healed; the very experiences that are often at the root of our suffering, many years after the traumatic events occurred.
Trauma comes in many forms such as…
– chronic or single incident trauma from things like:
chronic maltreatment during childhood, be it from physcial, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse or neglect. This results in developmental – trauma
– separation from caregivers
– traumatic loss
– medical procedure or illness
– accidents and injuries such as a car wreck
– single incident act of violence by someone known or a stranger
The responses we have to trauma are multifaceted. Remember that these symptoms are normal responses to an abnormal event.
People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experience the following…
1. Reliving of the traumatic memory
2. Avoidance of reminders of the trauma, emotional numbing and detachment
3. Increased arousal, such as hypervigilance, irritability, memory and contraption problems, sleep disturbances, exaggerated startle response
In Bessel Van der Kolk’s definition of Developmental Trauma Disorder people experience
chronic exposure to one or more forms of trauma and have a subjective experience such as rage, betrayal, fear, resignation, defeat or shame. There is a triggered pattern of repeated dysregulation (high or low) in response to the trauma cues that effect the person in multiple ways (affective, somatice, behavioral, cognitive, relational and self attribution). They have persistently altered attributions and expectancies and have functional impairments.
The symptoms of PTSD or Developmental Trauma Disorder are severe enough that they effect people’s ability to function well in their day to day lives and relationships to themselves and others. Often times people dealing with PTSD begin to self medicate with drugs and alcohol.
The Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) Study, conducted by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente, found that adverse childhood experiences (such as childhood abuse, neglect and family dysfunction) were linked with major problems 50 years later, including depression, suicide attempts, alcoholism, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, domestic violence, cigarette smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and sexually transmitted diseases. The more ace’s a person resported, the more likely a person was to develop heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, skeletal fracture, liver disease, and others.
This study really got the attention of the medical and psychological professions. It quantified some of what I see in my office each day – that childhood trauma can have deeply lasting impacts on physical and emotional health, lasting throughout the lifespan. While it can feel daunting to undertake work on trauma, there are effective treatments and I can help you heal from whatever it is that you’ve suffered.
To learn more about some of the types of methods I use to treat trauma, you can read more about EMDR and Brainspotting, and Individual therapy.
Feel free to contact me at 303-880-3619 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free phone chat to see if I feel like the right fit.