What Is Trauma?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describes trauma as “an event, or series of events, that causes moderate to severe stress reactions…[that are] characterized by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.” Trauma is subjective, as every individual is different, and an experience that one individual may perceive to be traumatic, another individual may not. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and is a mental disorder that could develop after an individual experiences trauma. It is important to note that not all individuals that experience trauma will go on to develop PTSD. Any individual that experiences trauma may benefit from professional mental health guidance. Further, if post traumatic stress disorder is left untreated it can increase one’s susceptibility for developing a plethora of adverse short and long-term effects.
Signs and Symptoms
There are many different signs and symptoms that can manifest as a result of exposure to trauma, which can make it difficult to diagnose. Some individuals may even be unaware that they are suffering from the aftermath of trauma. It is helpful to be aware of commonly exhibited signs and symptoms that could be indicative of trauma. These emotional and psychological responses could include, but are not limited to the following, as provided by Medical News Today:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive sweating
- Digestive symptoms
Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by ongoing stress (e.g. bullying, domestic violence, childhood neglect, etc.), one-time events (e.g. a violent attack, an accident, sudden injury, etc.), or life-changing events (e.g. sudden death of a loved one).
The Treatment Process
There are many different treatment routes for individuals dealing with trauma. Customized treatment plans are imperative so as to ensure all nuanced needs of the individual are properly addressed. There are a variety of distinct psychotherapeutic modalities that could be included in one’s treatment plan. Some of the treatment options that could be integrated into one’s treatment plan could combine any of the following, as provided by the American Psychological Association (APA):
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts and emotional associations in relation to the experienced trauma
- Creative arts therapy (play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding trauma
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): this can help correct irrational and/ or inaccurate thoughts a person may have regarding the trauma as well as help him or her develop skills and healthy coping mechanisms for reducing anxiety and stress
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): helps individuals learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to trauma
- Group therapy: participating in group therapy sessions can help an individual learn from peers that are navigating thoughts and emotions related to trauma
- Medications: there are four medications that are approved for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, which are paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
There are certain therapy methods that have been reported to be more successful in the treatment of trauma than others. Through working with the individual, mental health professionals are able to identify which therapeutic tactics are helpful to the treatment process and which may need to be altered during treatment. Every person is different and will require a somewhat unique treatment plan when it comes to navigating the healing process from trauma exposure.
Pasadena Trauma Therapy
Annandale Behavioral Health is a private wellness center located in the beautiful hills of Pasadena, CA. Our center provides the ideal environment for guests to reconnect with nature while receiving premium and personalized treatment. At Annandale, we honor each person’s individuality and have a core belief that everyone is capable of achieving true wellness. We understand that in order to heal, every person in recovery deeply benefits from a customized and tailored treatment plan, which we carefully develop for each of our guests. Our multidisciplinary clinical team is made up of highly regarded psychiatrists, physicians, therapists, nursing, and support staff.
Annandale Behavioral Health offers a full continuum of care, including medically supervised detox, stabilization, residential treatment, and aftercare services. We are here to support you every step of the way to help you learn how to lead a healthy, authentic, and fulfilling life that both promotes and supports true wellness.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding substance abuse, addiction, mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about our program here at Annandale Behavioral Health. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to help you or your loved one in the recovery process. Feel free to reach us by phone at 855-778-8668 or through our contact form. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.