Trauma is an individual's emotional response to extreme events such as accidents, rape, or natural disasters. Immediate reactions will often include episodes of shock and denial. In the long-term, an individual may suffer flashbacks, physical symptoms, fluctuating emotion states and strained personal relationships with others. Traumatic response can be described as a normal reaction to an abnormal circumstance(s). People suffering from the effects of trauma (anxiety) often do not associate the symptoms with the traumatic event(s) because they do not always seem directly related. Trauma victims may blame themselves and become frustrated that they are unable to resume as they did prior to the trauma that occurred.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is classified as an anxiety disorder, and its symptoms are present before exposure to a stressor event. While it has been popularly associated in society with combat veterans facing life-threatening events, it may develop and effect someone that has been exposed to all different types of traumatic events. For example, following a car accident, someone may be afraid in certain driving situations and feel anxious and may even feel as if they relive the event at times in flashbacks or nightmares.
Typically, an individual with PTSD will avoid thoughts, emotions, and discussion about the trauma. The inability to willingly address and discuss the event in combination with recurrent recollections can lead to many stress-related physical symptoms like headaches, nausea and chest pain. Overall mental health, social interaction, and relationship may also begin to suffer.
How Can Counseling Help?
Increasing or prolonged feelings of hopelessness and interruptions to daily responsibilities are an indication that one should seek the help of a psychotherapist. My professional training in trauma counseling and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) gives me tools necessary to help clients alleviate the debilitating symptoms of trauma and/or PTSD. I am also able assist clients in developing and carrying out a long-term plan for making progress towards reestablishing a healthy routine.
If you've been experiencing intrusive memories or flashbacks of a traumatic event and have anxious feelings that disrupt your daily life, please contact me to set up an initial meeting to analyze your current situation.