Trauma and Anxiety
Trauma is incredibly painful and many people struggle with the lasting effects. Trauma can come in many different forms. It can be single events such as a car accident or a violent assault, or it can be repetitive negative experiences extending over a long period of time. Trauma can also come from witnessing an event, hearing of a traumatic event vicariously, or even be passed down from one generation to the next.
While some people will promote the idea of a "Big T" trauma versus a "Little t" trauma, as a certified trauma professional I understand that the human brain does not differentiate between the two. Trauma is trauma, no matter the source, and all people deserve to live a life without suffering from ongoing negative ramifications. Clinical trauma specialists such as myself can help reduce the negative symptoms of trauma and guide you on the path towards healing.
Symptoms of Trauma
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), there are 4 core symptoms that can warn you that trauma is affecting you or your loved one in a negative way. These symptoms include re-experiencing, avoidance, negative changes in thoughts and mood, and changes in arousal and reactivity.
Having intrusive thoughts, memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.
Experiencing a "running movie" of the incident in your mind and being unable to stop it.
Actively avoiding locations, situations, people, emotions, thoughts, sights, scents, or sounds that remind you of the trauma.
Negative Changes in Thoughts and Mood
Change in habits since the event occurred.
Loss of interest in former activities and hobbies.
Feeling detached from others.
Feeling guilt, shame, anxiety, numbness, or depression.
Inability to recall certain details of the event.
Inability to experience positive emotions.
Changes in Arousal and Reactivity
Hypervigilance or the feeling of being constantly "on guard."
Heightened startle response.
Change in sleep patterns.
Impulsive, irritable, aggressive, or destructive behavior.
Anxiety and stress are common feelings that everyone has felt at one point or another in their lives. In fact, anxiety and stress are both natural and helpful emotions at times. The problem is that anxiety becomes a consistent emotion or driving force for life choices and daily activity. When worry becomes excessive or intrusive thoughts disrupt your day, it may be time to seek help in treating the anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Feelings of fear, worry, panic, or dread.
Rapid breathing or hyperventilating.
Changes in sleep patterns or insomnia.
Obsessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors.
Obsessive thoughts about past or future events.
Mood swings or rapid changes in emotions.
Tremors or muscle twitches.
Lethargy or a noticeable decrease in level of energy over a period of time.
Treating Trauma and Anxiety
I use a variety of evidence-based treatment methods to help clients heal from trauma and anxiety. These include Somatic Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). Because trauma and anxiety reside not only in the mind but also in the body, I strive to use integrative techniques to address the issues from various directions in order to attain a more full level of healing.
While everyone varies in where they are on their wellness journey, my ultimate goal is to help clients move beyond management of symptoms and into true healing. This takes time and is not easy, but it is worth the effort and investment. You do not need to live life carrying the baggage of trauma or living with anxiety. Healing is possible and I can help. When you are ready to engage in the healing process, I invite you to contact me to schedule an appointment.