Trauma & PTSD

PTSD is the re-experiencing of a highly traumatic event accompanied by symptoms of increased arousal and avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma. Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). You can take the Adverse Childhood Experience Questionaire here.

The traumatic event can be experienced directly or witnessed. Commonly experienced trauma includes

  • Military combat
  • Violent personal assault such as robbery or rape
  • Kidnapping or hostage situation
  • Terrorist attack
  • Torture
  • Prolonged sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
  • Natural or human-made disasters
  • Common witnessed trauma includes
  • Observing the death of or significant injury to another
  • Unexpectedly witnessing any of the above traumas
  • Learning of the sudden or unexpected death of or significant injury to a family member or close friend

Trauma may be acute, chronic, or delayed and can result in increased irritability, tachycardia, increased startle response, and insomnia.

Treatment is a two-pronged approach. Most often, medication can aid in managing symptoms, while psychotherapy will help heal the dysfunction in the nervous system.

Experiencing positive transformation after trauma is known as post-traumatic growth, and while it is work and an investment in you, you can be the butterfly. You can find a new appreciation for life and a newfound sense of personal strength.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that has consistently been the most effective treatment of PTSD in both the short term and the long term. 

EMDR is another treatment modality that helps you process upsetting memories, thoughts, and feelings related to the trauma