Trauma is the experience of severe psychological distress following any terrible or life-threatening event. Sufferers may develop emotional disturbances such as extreme anxiety, anger, sadness, survivor’s guilt, or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. However, that is not the case for everyone. Following a traumatic event, if your discover that your symptoms are getting worse or lasting for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD symptoms may start immediately after the traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms do not appear until months or even years after the event. These symptoms can cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.
Although the instigating traumatic event may have overpowered your coping resources at the time, it is entirely possible to develop healthy ways of coping with the experience and diminishing its effects going forward.
PTSD symptoms vary from person to person and can take different forms. The four most common symptoms include:
1. Intrusive Memories
Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event
Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event
3. Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood
Negative thoughts about yourself, other people or the world
Hopelessness about the future
Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Feeling detached from family and friends
Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
Feeling emotionally numb
4. Changes in physical and emotional reactions
Being easily startled or frightened
Always being on guard for danger
Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much, taking drugs or driving too fast
Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
Overwhelming guilt or shame
For children 6 years old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:
Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of the traumatic event through play
Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms from the categories above (from one category or a combination of categories), you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a not a failing on your part – and it is treatable.
The Lighthouse Bali offers a range of trauma specific therapies that are proven to bring deep, lasting relief to a range of traumas. Our team consists of psychologists and trauma professionals who are at the forefront of trauma treatments. EMDR and TRE (tension/trauma release exercises), for example, are unique modalities that are highly effective when combined with more traditional methods such as CBT.
Every trauma is unique and that is why your treatment will be carefully tailored to your individual circumstances with a thorough initial assessment. Whatever your trauma history and background, treatment is available, and you do not need to go through this alone.