Trauma

Although the likelihood of a traumatic event is low, none of us are immune to trauma. In an instant, our lives can change significantly as a result of an event; whether it affects us alone, someone we love or our whole community. Trauma can take many different forms, including sexual abuse or assault, domestic violence, hate crimes, exposure to violence and war, car accidents, or physical injuries and illnesses. For trauma survivors, the road to healing may be long, but the path to recovery and healing is there.

Symptoms of Trauma

There are many different symptoms that can accompany trauma, which may be broken down into the following categories:

Re-Experiencing the Trauma

  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  • Flashbacks (re-experiencing the event all over again in your mind)
  • Nightmares
  • Strong feelings of distress when others mention the trauma
  • Physical reactions to thoughts or discussion of the event (racing heart, flushed face, sweating, cold sweat, muscle tension, heavy breathing)

Avoidance and Attempts to “Numb” Oneself From the Pain

  • Sense of a “limited future” – fear dying young, soon, or suddenly (difficulty contemplating long term goals like career, marriage, children)
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Difficulty or inability to recall large or small details of the trauma
  • Feel detached and isolated from others
  • Avoid people, places, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings which remind you of the trauma

Anxiety and Emotional Arousal

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating
  • Hypervigilant (feel as though you must always be “on guard”)
  • Easily startled – jump at loud noises or environmental changes
  • Irritability and angry outbursts

Additional Symptoms

  • Bed wetting
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt and shame
  • Blame
  • Heavy substance use or abuse
  • Physical symptoms – headaches, stomach aches, illness
  • Feeling isolated, alone, abandoned, and alienated – as though no one cares, no one understands, or no one is there for support
  • Difficulty trusting others – fear betrayal and dishonesty from others

Treatment for Trauma

All of the counselors at kp counseling are available to work with you through your healing process after a traumatic experience. Your counselor will take great care to build a relationship with you based on respect, trust, confidentiality, and compassion. The goal is to make you feel comfortable, safe, and supported, so you can begin to process your experiences, navigate the difficult emotions, and begin the healing process.

Resources:

National Child Traumatic Stress Network – http://www.nctsnet.org/

United States Department of Veteran Affairs – http://www.ptsd.va.gov

Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress – http://www.centerforthestudyoftraumaticstress.org

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – http://www.ncadv.org/

Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence – http://www.ilcadv.org/

RAINN: Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network http://www.rainn.org

The National Center for Victims of Crime – http://www.ncvc.org

kp counseling
×