Treatment for Trauma

Traumatic experiences are unfortunately common. These experiences can leave a lasting impression on a person. When a traumatic experience is overwhelming, it may leave a lasting emotional scar that makes life different from that point forward. Trauma can change the way a person sees the world; it can impact reactions, thoughts, and emotions. Sometimes, this leads to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

If exposure to a negative experience has left a person with feelings of extreme fear, anxiety, or the inability to manage their emotions, that person may be experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The following situations are examples of some of the possible causes of trauma:

  • Experiencing abuse, neglect or assault
  • Witnessing abuse or violence
  • Prisoner of war experience
  • Medical accidents, like waking up during surgery
  • Experiencing intense, ongoing, or frightening verbal abuse
  • War or combat exposure
  • Being inflicted or threatened with injury and/or assault
  • Witnessing or learning about the injury or threat to a loved one
  • Being kidnapped or held hostage
  • Being tortured
  • Experiencing rape, sex trafficking, or other sexual assault
  • Learning about, witnessing, or experiencing a terrorist attack
  • Contact with explosions, riots, or transportation disasters
  • Automobile accidents
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornados, or floods

Regardless of the cause of trauma or how long ago it happened, its effects can be devastating. However, with the right type of professional help, people who have struggled with unresolved trauma for years or even decades can overcome the impact of this trauma once again live a healthier and more satisfying life.

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Research indicates that about 70% of all adult Americans have had some type of traumatic experience. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 9% of the U.S. population will experience symptoms that are consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The prevalence of PTSD is higher among certain demographic groups, such as members of the military, police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. The highest rates of PTSD are found among individuals who have experienced rape, military combat and captivity, and ethnically or politically motivated genocide or internment.

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

Troubling reactions to trauma may not be immediately obvious, and can be confused with normal reactions to an adverse event. The following symptoms are signs of untreated trauma. If a person evidences any of these symptoms, he or she may need to get help to deal with his or her emotional experience in a healthy manner.

Physical symptoms:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Disturbed sleep cycle
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Frequent aches and pains
  • Lethargy
  • Heart rate increase
  • Easily startled

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Acting with poor behavior
  • Instigating poor behavior
  • Engaging in excessively risky behavior
  • Becoming restless
  • Avoiding people, objects, or places somehow related to the experience
  • Avoiding people in general
  • Avoiding activities that were once enjoyable
  • Behaving ritualistically to avoid negative emotions
  • Turning to alcohol and/or drugs to relax or escape negative thoughts and emotions

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confused thoughts
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory impairment regarding the experience
  • Derealization (detachment from reality)
  • Flashbacks
  • Disturbing memories
  • Disturbing dreams
  • Depersonalization

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear
  • Mood swings
  • Poor self-estimation
  • Lack of interest in anything
  • Anxiety
  • Anger and hostile behavior
  • Guilt
  • Self-blame
  • Shame
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Trauma

If the turmoil caused by the trauma itself is not properly addressed and treated, more negative experiences can happen as a result. The following negative results can come about, adding to further distress:

  • Development of mental health conditions
  • Self-injury
  • Deterioration of friendships
  • Deterioration of relationships with children
  • Deterioration of marriage
  • Deterioration of physical health
  • Job loss
  • Inability to obtain employment
  • Financial problems
  • Engagement in illegal activity resulting in punishment by law
  • Substance dependency, abuse, or addiction
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Attempts at suicide
  • Death by overdose or suicide

Co-Occurring Disorders

It is important that trauma sufferers get treated as soon as possible. The that trauma symptoms go untreated, the greater odds there are that the traumatized person will develop symptoms of one or more of the following mental health conditions:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance use disorder
  • Acute stress disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Why Seek Treatment for Trauma

Trauma can be processed and left in the past. Failing to address the effects of trauma will bring an onslaught of negative outcomes. Family members and those close to the trauma victim will be affected. If further trauma is experienced on a later occasion, the untreated person will experience exponential damage potential. Treatment can prevent and reverse these effects, saving the quality of life and possibly saving lives themselves.

One form of effective trauma treatment is inpatient care, which allows a safe environment for a person to work through mental and emotional upheaval. A trauma victim may not be able to see the correlation between strong negative reactions to an experience and the way that he or she perceives the world, so the compassionate mental health experts who are able to closely observe the actions within the inpatient care facility can provide invaluable insights.

The safety and around-the-clock support that inpatient care offers allows each patient a comfortable environment to explore their thinking and behavioral patterns in order to make healthy changes.

When they are able to expose certain thinking and emotional patterns for what they are, the patient is equipped to change behavior to a more functional emotional and behavioral pattern. Group and individual components are part of each person’s individualized treatment plan, and each patient learns how to balance his or her anxiety and reactions in a way that will help everyday life after treatment.

Psychiatrists and other professionals can monitor and treat any existing mental health symptoms that accompany trauma. Another positive perk to inpatient treatment is that it will simultaneously help a person recover physically and mentally from substance use disorders and addiction if they have also been present. Inpatient treatment provides the opportunity to truly heal, leaving distractions and further anxiety outside while sincere mental and emotional recovery is pursued and reached.

get confidential help now: (337) 616-8122 Email Us