Trauma and PTSD Counseling
Trauma and PTSD symptoms can develop following any traumatic event that makes one feel helpless or threatens one’s safety. PTSD affects people differently. Some people develop PTSD very soon after the traumatic event while others may not develop symptoms formonths or years (delayed onset). Some experience symptoms for several weeks or a few months (acute), while others’ symptoms last for many months or years (chronic). PTSD can affect those who experience a direct traumatic stressor as well as those who learn about or witness a severe or life threatening event that involves a close family member or associate.
Events that can lead to PTSD symptoms include severe car accidents, plane crashes, sudden death of a loved one, diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, rape, assault, sexual abuse and childhood neglect, terrorist attacks and military combat. After any traumatic experience, it is normal to experience some mild numbness of one’s emotions, feel more disconnected, have bad dreams or replay the event. In time, most people experience these symptoms lesson and eventually dissipate. However, some people have the opposite response and these symptoms do not improve and may increase in frequency.
It is important to recognize when to seek professional help and what treatment is available for those exposed to trauma and/or experiencing PTSD.
When to Seek Professional Help
A person who has experienced, witnessed or been confronted by an event involving actual or treat of death or serious injury and is who experiencing intense fear or helpless should be evaluated for PTSD. Symptoms include persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event, avoiding reminders of the event, a numbing of general responsiveness and experiencing increased emotional arousal. Having flashbacks of the event, nightmares or a pounding heartbeat when reminded of the event six weeks after the event may be a signal that professional help is needed. Having a loss of interest in previous enjoyed activities or a restricted range of affect may be signals of emotional numbing. Hyper-vigilance or feeling detached from others are often lingering symptoms of PTSD. When these symptoms begin to impact one’s life in a negative way, it is time to seek the help of a psychotherapist.
Treatment for Trauma and PTSD
Getting professional treatment from a trained therapist is the first step toward recovery. Instead of bottling-up the event, the therapist will help you explore your feelings about the event and encourage you to process the sensations and emotions of the experience. Your therapist will help you work though the many feelings associated with the trauma, including guilt, fear and self-blame. Therapy is a place where a person struggling with the aftermath of trauma can regain a sense of control and reduce the negative impact of the memory on his/her life.
Grace Weyrauch, at McDowell Mountain Counseling, has substantial experience helping those who are experiencing psychological and emotional struggles associated with trauma.
If you are experiencing a pattern of heightened stress, fear or worry that is impacting your life in a significant way, please feel free to contact Grace Weyrauch to learn more about treatment for anxiety and how counseling may be of assistance to you.