What is Trauma?
It is normal to be affected by traumatic experiences. Victims of trauma might feel shocked, scared, guilty, ashamed, angry, or vulnerable. For people with PTSD, the effects of trauma last for much longer.
Potentially traumatic events can include:
- Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse
- Community or school violence
- Sexual exploitation
- Sudden or violent death of a loved one
- Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, disasters or terrorism
- Refugees or war experiences
- Serious accidents
- Life-threatening illness
If untreated, trauma can have long-lasting effects. Trauma can affect a person’s mood and their ability to regulate their emotions, they are 2 times more likely to develop depression and 3 times more likely to develop anxiety. The sooner the trauma is addressed through trauma counseling, the better the chance for the person to have a full and successful recovery.
What does childhood trauma look like in adults?
Childhood trauma in adults can impact experiences and relationships with others due to experienced feelings of shame, and guilt. Childhood trauma also results in feeling disconnected, and being unable to relate to others. Studies have shown that adults that experience childhood trauma were more likely to struggle controlling emotions, and had heightened anxiety, depression, and anger.
How does childhood trauma impact an adult’s current life?
Adults living with childhood trauma don’t necessarily mean they will be unable to have a full life. If, however, trauma starts affecting an individual’s day-to-day life. It is important to seek trauma counseling help. Many people have misconceptions when it comes to adults affected by childhood trauma.
Here are 3 common misconceptions related to childhood trauma
- An individual who was abused and/or neglected as a child will abuse and/or neglect their own children
- Abused and neglected children will become deviant adults, and
- The effect of abuse and/or neglect are irreparable, and the adult won’t live a full life of recovery.
This is false! Overcoming childhood trauma in adults is possible through therapy. The first step to healing is finding a trauma counselor who can help navigate the individual through the trauma and/or neglect.
What are the symptoms of trauma?
Re-experiencing symptoms: Re-experiencing memories of the trauma means that memories of the events play over and over in your mind. You might see images of what happened, sounds, smells, taste etc. Emotions can also be re-experienced and feel as if the events are happening again. Symptoms include:
Nightmare about the event
Feeling physical reactions in your body when you remember the event
Upsetting memories of the event intruding into your mind
Arousal symptoms: It is common to be ‘on edge’ or ‘on guard’ following a trauma. You might find it difficult to relax or find that your sleep is affected. Symptoms include:
Always looking out for danger (hypervigilance)
Feeling ‘on edge’ or easily startled
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Avoidance Symptoms: A normal human way of dealing with pain is to AVOID and distract ourselves. You might try to avoid people, places, or anything that might remind you of the event. Symptoms include:
Avoiding reminders of the trauma
Trying not to talk or think about what happened
Feeling ‘numb’ or like you have no feelings
Negative thoughts and mood: Trauma has a powerful effect on how we think. You might blame yourself for what happened, even if it was not your fault. Symptoms include:
Negative thoughts about yourself
A sense of guilt
Feeling depressed or withdrawn
Feelings that no one can be trusted
What might go through your mind:
Intrusive memories (flashbacks) of the trauma
Thoughts that the trauma is happening again right now
Thoughts that what happened was your fault or that you could have prevented it
Thoughts that you are going mad
Images in your mind of what happened or what might happen.
What you might feel:
Any emotions that you experienced at the time of the trauma
Dissociation (feeling separate or detached from what is happening)
Feelings in your body that are the same as those you experienced during the trauma
How you might act:
Avoid people or places that remind you of what happened
Avoid thinking or talking about what happened
Try to push memories away or try to forget what happened
Avoid going to sleep for fear of nightmares
Use alcohol or drugs to numb yourself
Keep yourself busy
How can EMDR and trauma counseling help?
Dealing with childhood trauma is a complex but necessary process. Through therapy, adults can overcome childhood trauma. They can raise happy and healthy families, be productive citizens, and have a fulfilling life.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy is form psychotherapy in which a subject will recall traumatic memories while moving their eyes from side to side in a rhythmic pattern. This treatment has shown success in decreasing negative effects associated with PTSD. EMDR typically lasts for 6-12 sessions.
EMDR is unique in that rather than discussing and reliving the trauma, its focus is on the emotions associated with that trauma in conjunction with bilateral sensory input.
Don’t let trauma dictate your life, there are multiple clinicians in Mandala Counseling and Trauma Therapy Center in Brownsville, Texas that specialize in diagnosing and treating childhood trauma. Our clinicians are committed to helping you and your loved ones!