What is Trauma?

What is Trauma and What Causes it?

Most of us won’t get through life without our own fair share of stress and heartache. But some people experience not just stress, sadness or grief, but actual trauma. For example, this can be from events like being involved in a bad car accident, rape, a natural disaster, war, or even after discovering the infidelity of a spouse.

The result of experiencing such events is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  PTSD a condition where the mind is unable to process the event as it processes ordinary life events. Therefore, the brain misfires information, causing the person to live much of their life distressed, as if the event were still happening to them.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are many symptoms associated with PTSD, but the most common ones are:

Psychological and physiological distress at reminders
Avoidance of internal and external reminders
Dissociative amnesia
Negative beliefs about oneself and the world
Distorted blaming of oneself
Negative persistent emotional states
Loss of interests
Detachment from loved ones
Hyper vigilance
Exaggerated startle response
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty sleeping
Irritability or outbursts of anger
Self-destructive or reckless behavior

Causes of PTSD

Researchers are not altogether clear on why some people experience PTSD and others don’t. For example, what makes one soldier come home from war with PTSD and another one not develop the disorder?

The best we can guess is that development of PTSD is likely from a combination of complex factors such as neurological, stress, life experiences, personality, and genetics. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that pre-traumatic psychological factors (low self-esteem, for example) may increase the risk factor for developing PTSD.

How Can Trauma be Treated?

The most common form of treatment for PTSD is something called cognitive behavioral therapy. This kind of therapy involves meeting with a specially-trained therapist over a number of sessions to learn strategies and techniques that will reduce and/or eliminate symptoms of PTSD such as recurring thoughts, emotional numbness, sleep issues, and concentration problems.  Consider finding a counselor who has special training and certification in trauma as well as training in using proven treatment modalities like Eye Movement Desentization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I will explain my approach to treating trauma symptoms and see how I may be able to help.  Please call (317) 754-0808 or click here and complete the contact form.

Mr. Lynch is credentialed as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) by the International Association of Trauma Professionals.