What is Trauma?
According to the DSM5…
Trauma or PTSD requires being exposed to a criterion A event, which is defined as an event that involves actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. This exposure can be direct personal experience; witnessing it happen to others; or learning about the violent or accidental or threatened death of a family member or friend. Exposure to details of a traumatic event hearing or dealing with the aftermath of the traumatic event.
What Trauma feels like, looks like, and how it has changed us
PTSD symptoms fall into four clusters…
Recurrent distressing images, nightmares and thoughts of the event
experienced as out of control and intense. These may come on by triggering stimuli or randomly out of the blue.
Effortful avoidance of thoughts, feelings and memories or reminders of people, places, or things associated with the trauma
Experienced as limiting their life functioning as you avoid more and more activities you use to enjoy. Family and friends do not understand why you are not engaging with social activities and may take this as you, rejecting them.
- Symptoms of Avoidance Include:
- feeling like you have to keep busy
- Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
- Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
- Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
- avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma
- being unable to remember details of what happened
- feeling emotionally numb or cut off from your feelings
- feeling physically numb or detached from your body
- being unable to express affection
- Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- doing things that could be self-destructive or reckless
- Using alcohol or drugs to avoid memories
- Sense of a foreshortened future (does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)
Thoughts and feelings of self-blame and guilt related to the trauma as well as a belief that the world is dangerous. These beliefs are unrealistic but yet persistent and exaggerated. You may experience feelings of detachment from others and difficulty experiencing positive emotions. Did you know that people who experience PTSD often feel sad, defeated, invisible, hopeless, and so has high comorbidity with depression.
Problems sleeping, outbursts with anger, self-destructive behaviour, feeling constantly on guard, problems with concentration, and hypersensitive startle response. Hyperarousal is experienced as a feeling of one’s life being in constant danger, that they need to constantly be searching for potential and real threats. This is because of a need to be ready to respond in any situation. The DSM5 emphasizes that PTSD not only involves fear but also other emotions such as self-blame, guilt, and anger.
How long do the symptoms last?
The duration and intensity of PTSD can vary greatly, lasting anywhere from several weeks to several years. 1 – 4 weeks is considered Acute Stress Disorder and does not necessarily develop into PTSD. 3 Months or more we recommend making an appointment see a Therapist or doctor to help assess what you may be experiencing and support you on your path to recovery. Around half of those who present with symptoms will get over them on their own or with a therapist within one to two years. Others may develop more chronic problems.
Prevalence of Trauma
How common is it to have a traumatic experience? It is estimated that 76% of Canadians report having experienced a traumatic event during their lifetime (Ameringen, Mancini & Boyle, 2008).
It is estimated that about 8% of Canadians who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2013).
In Canada, the estimated lifetime prevalence rate of PTSD is 9.2% (Ameringen, Mancini, Patterson, & Boyle, 2008). The proportion varies greatly according to the type of event and the individual.
Mountain Air Psychology confidently specializes in the treatment of trauma and PTSD with trauma treatments such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), prolonged exposure (PE) which is based off emotional processing theory; As well as narrative therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Coming 2025: 8 Day Intensive Trauma Therapy Retreats
Spend 8 Days in the beautiful remote wilderness in the breath taking West Coast of British Columbia.
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