Trauma Recovery Tip 1: Get Moving
Trauma disrupts your bodys natural equilibrium, freezing you in a state of hyperarousal and fear. As well as burning off adrenaline and releasing endorphins, exercise and movement can actually help repair your nervous system.
Try to exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days. Or if its easier, three 10-minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good.
Exercise that is rhythmic and engages both your arms and legssuch as walking, running, swimming, basketball, or even dancingworks best.
Add a mindfulness element. Instead of focusing on your thoughts or distracting yourself while you exercise, really focus on your body and how it feels as you move. Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin. Rock climbing, boxing, weight training, or martial arts can make this easierafter all, you need to focus on your body movements during these activities in order to avoid injury.
Understand The Child And Family Cultural Perspective Relating To The Trauma Reactions To The Trauma And The Need For And Type Of Intervention
Because every child reacts to traumatic events in his or her own way, it is important to listen and try to understand childrens unique perspectives and concerns, as well as those of the family. Culture plays an important role in the meaning we give to trauma and our expectations for recovery. Thus, trying to understand the childs experience , as well as that of the childs family and community, can help guide intervention efforts. Those unfamiliar with mental health care may be reluctant to seek help and may need time to convey their concerns about treatment before they are ready to seek it. Also, children and families from ethnic and racial minority groups may encounter additional barriers, including limited access to mental health services and insensitivity from the majority culture regarding the impact of racism and poverty on their experience of traumatic events.
In some communities in which trauma exposure is prevalent both currently and historically, particular attention must be paid to the context of the trauma. Engaging community leaders such as clergy and other spiritual leaders, school personnel, health professionals, and caregivers will help everyone to understand the problems faced and the ways in which the community is prepared to handle them.
Poorer Physical Health Outcomes
Research shows that any exposure to childhood trauma can dramatically elevate someones likelihood of developing issues related to:;
- High blood pressure.
- Premature death.;
Experts believe that compounded toxic stress may cause permanent changes in the hormonal system and the brain. While we all benefit from the fight-or-flight response, it can cause far more harm than good when its always activated.
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What Are The Best Treatments For Those With Complex Ptsd
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy
Trauma-focused CBT is an evidenced-based, NICE recommended talking therapy which has been developed from CBT to specifically help people who have experienced trauma. The recommendation is 8 to 12 individual weekly sessions for an hour with the same therapist each week.
Eye movement desensitisation and re-processing
EMDR is another NICE recommended treatment for people who have experienced trauma and often re-live the events as nightmares and flashbacks.
EMDR involves recalling the traumatic event whilst making rhythmic eye movements similar to the eye movements we make whilst we sleep and are processing memories. This helps the brain to process the traumatic experiences and reduce the emotional content so that rather than re-living the experience, the experience becomes a memory, so that distressing symptoms associated with the traumatic event are reduced.;
Five-day trauma programme
The five-day trauma programme is offered at Priory locations in the UK and is based on Pia Mellodys Post Induction Therapy a method that is widely used in the USA. The PIT approach utilises an eclectic mix of therapy and treatment models, bringing together elements of psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy , family systems therapy, transactional analysis therapy and rational emotive therapy.
Complex Ptsd And Emotional Flashbacks
If you have complex PTSD you may be particularly likely to experience what some people call an ’emotional flashback’, in which you have intense feelings that you originally felt during the trauma, such as fear, shame, sadness or despair. You might react to events in the present as if they are causing these feelings, without realising that you are having a flashback.
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Understanding The Definition Of Trauma
Trauma refers to the overarching definition of real or perceived life-threatening danger. Traumatic incidents vary in severity, but they may include experiences related to:
- Physical assault or abuse.
- Sexual assault, rape, molestation, or attempts to sexually coerce someone.
- The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one.
- Witnessing severe violence or abuse happening to another person.
- Surviving a natural disaster or act of terrorism.
- Chronic neglect or abandonment.
- Being diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.
- Surviving a severe event, like a massive car accident.;
No two people react to trauma the same. How one copes, reacts, and internalizes the trauma can have lasting consequences on their overall functioning.;
Respect Child And Family Readiness And Willingness For Treatment/keep Doors To Treatment Open
Children and families are not always ready for treatment when it is offered, and some may prefer not to engage in treatment at all. Whether in the immediate aftermath of an acute event or when ongoing trauma exposure or symptoms are initially identified by a professional, the help offered by mental health professionals may not come at the right time for that child or family. Particularly when traumatic events have led to other stressors or secondary traumas, the family may be focused on getting through these problems before they have the energy to turn to mental health needs. It is important to inform children and families about treatment options and let people know that treatment is available to them in the future, in case they are more receptive at a later time. Most important, keep doors to treatment open for the child and family.
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A Closer Look At Aces
ACEs are negative experiences that occur during the first 18 years of life. They can include various events like receiving or witnessing abuse, neglect, and various kinds of dysfunction within the home.
A Kaiser study published in 1998 found that, as the number of ACEs in a childs life increases, so does the likelihood of multiple risk factors for several of the leading causes of death in adults, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and liver disease.
Another study examining trauma-informed care for survivors of childhood trauma found that those with higher ACE scores may also be at higher risk for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as frequent headaches, insomnia, depression, and anxiety, among others. There is also evidence that exposure to traumatic toxic stress can trigger changes in the immune system.
The theory is that extreme emotional stress is a catalyst for a number of physical changes within the body.
For children, the stress of experiencing trauma causes very similar changes to those seen in PTSD. Trauma can switch the bodys stress response system into high gear for the rest of the childs life.
In turn, the increased inflammation from the heightened stress responses may cause or trigger autoimmune diseases and other conditions.
Most Children With Distress Related To Trauma Exposure And In Need Of Help Do Not Receive Psychological Treatment And Those Who Do Receive A Wide Variety Of Treatments
Although most return to baseline functioning, a substantial minority of children develop severe acute or ongoing psychological symptoms that bother them, interfere with their daily functioning, and warrant clinical attention. Some of these reactions can be quite severe and chronic. Most children and adolescents with traumatic exposure or trauma-related psychological symptoms are not identified and consequently do not receive any help. Even those who are identified as in need of help frequently do not obtain any services. This is especially true for children from ethnic and racial minority groups and for recent immigrants, who have less access to mental health services. Even when children are seen for mental health services, their trauma exposure may not be known or addressed. For those children who do receive services, evidence-based treatment is not the norm.
Many of the treatments that traumatized children and adolescents receive have not been empirically studied. Although it is possible that some of these unexamined treatments could be helpful, it is also possible that some pose a risk for those who receive them. Despite the fact that diverse samples are included in many studies, there has been little work to understand the way in which culture affects the experience of trauma and the impact of treatment.
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Q: Is There An Especially Sensitive Age Where Children Are More Subject To Or More Adversely Affected By Aces
When ACEs happen in early childhood, in the absence of protective buffers, theres a high, high risk of severe chronic health issues in adulthood and even risk of early death.
At the same time, early childhood is the most optimal time to intervene because the brain is so plastic it can still be molded, shaped, and changed. We can change the trajectory of those brain changes that become permanent in the absence of the buffers by recognizing ACEs early on, getting families the support that they need to prevent more ACEs from occurring, and mitigating the traumatic stresses that they may be currently experiencing.
You Form Unhealthy Attachments In Relationships
In the same vein, you might also notice adult attachment disorders if you had an ignorant parent or caregiver.;
Signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults caused by emotionally avoidant parents result in:
- Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: Abuse or trauma as a child makes some people fearful of deep emotions. This fosters distrust and lack of mutual connection in adult relationships.
- Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment: If a childs emotional needs were ignored, they grow up to be avoidant of emotions. If you can relate, you may be over-independent to avoid feeling vulnerable in front of another human again.
- Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment:On another extreme end of the spectrum, someone can be too clingy in relationships. This usually results from the lack of emotional security and validation as a child.;
In most cases, youll be able to relate to at least one of these attachment styles.
In that case, getting in touch with a therapist or cultivating a better understanding of your relationships will help.;
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Cognitive Processing Trauma Therapy
Cognitive processing therapy is a specialized type of cognitive trauma healing therapy used to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder . A typical 12-session period has been shown to reduce trauma in veterans, sexual assault victims, and children who have experienced abuse or trauma. The main focus of CPT is to recontextualize and help rationalize the traumatic events experienced by the victim.
What Are The Risk Factors For Ptsd
Three factors have been shown to raise the chances that children will get PTSD. These factors are:
- How severe the trauma is
- How the parents react to the trauma
- How close or far away the child is from the trauma
Children and teens that go through the most severe traumas tend to have the highest levels of PTSD symptoms. The PTSD symptoms may be less severe if the child has more family support and if the parents are less upset by the trauma. Lastly, children and teens who are farther away from the event report less distress.
Other factors can also affect PTSD. Events that involve people hurting other people, such as rape and assault, are more likely to result in PTSD than other types of traumas. Also, the more traumas a child goes through, the higher the risk of getting PTSD. Girls are more likely than boys to get PTSD.It is not clear whether a child’s ethnic group may affect PTSD. Some research shows that minorities have higher levels of PTSD symptoms. Other research suggests this may be because minorities may go through more traumas.
Another question is whether a child’s age at the time of the trauma has an effect on PTSD. Researchers think it may not be that the effects of trauma differ according to the child’s age. Rather, it may be that PTSD looks different in children of different ages.
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For Those Like Me With Cptsd The Diagnosis Is Different From Ptsd But That Doesnt Make It Any Less Difficult
People who have received a diagnosis of CPTSD have often experienced extreme violence and stress over an extended period of time, including childhood abuse or prolonged physical or emotional abuse.
While there are a lot of similarities with PTSD, the differences in symptoms include:
- periods of amnesia or dissociation
- difficulty in relationships
- feelings of guilt, shame, or lack of self-worth
This means that how we treat the two arent identical by any means.
While there are distinct differences between CPTSD and PTSD, there have been several symptoms, specifically emotional sensitivity, which can be mistaken as borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder. Since identified by researchers, the overlap has led to many folks being misdiagnosed.
When I sat down to meet with my trauma therapists, they made sure to acknowledge that the labeling of CPTSD was still fairly new. Many professionals in the industry were only just now beginning to recognize it.
And as I read through the symptoms, I felt a sense of relief.
For so long I felt like I was broken and as if I were the problem, thanks to a lot of shame or guilt. But with this diagnosis, I began to understand that what I was experiencing was a lot of big feelings that left me frightened, reactive, and hypervigilant all of which were very reasonable responses to prolonged trauma.
The Lasting Effects Of Childhood Trauma
If not addressed, childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on children. Exposure to traumatic experiences has a lifelong effect on learning and may have a negative impact on a childs short- and long-term academic achievement. The negative impact may manifest itself in various ways. Children may avoid school and schoolwork, exhibit inattentiveness, show a lack of respect for authority figures in the academic setting, and/or experience a general decline in overall academic performance.
As children get older and grow into adulthood, the ACE Study has shown that trauma symptoms can manifest physically as well. According to the Center for Disease Control , traumatic experiences can have lasting negative effects on health, well-being, and opportunity.5
According to the CDC, these adverse childhood experiences can increase the risks of physical health concerns such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and suicide. There are other risk factors associated with adverse childhood experiences that parents/caregivers must be mindful of, and ensure that protective factors are put in place to support children as preventative measures, and also additional supports, when a child is facing life changing events.
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The Emotional Component Of Ptsd
PTSD from emotional abuse is not distinguished as C-PTSD because of its emotional rather than physical nature. All PTSD, even from physical forms of trauma, is based on emotional and psychological reactions to trauma, which develop because of fear and distress.
Also, regular PTSD can happen because of any event the person finds disturbing or distressing, even when the person witnesses it or hears about it rather than experiencing it first-hand. PTSD can come from emotional responses to experiences such as:
- The sudden death of a loved one
- Witnessing a murder
- Hearing about a terrorist attack
- Going through a hurricane without experiencing any physical harm
The distinction between PTSD and C-PTSD is not because of a difference between physical and emotional trauma. The difference has to do with the ongoing nature of the trauma involved in C-PTSD.
We Resort To Addiction And Compulsions To Cope
Our brain is designed to protect us; when we come across a particularly difficult or traumatic situation, it will be stored in a way that is frozen in time.; We may not even remember it. We are not sure what triggers us, but our suppressed memories come out in the form of uncontrollable mood swings, persistent sadness, depression, and explosive anger.
Through addictive behaviors of any form, from drinking, spending, eating to compulsive sex, we try to either A) Numb away the pain that we try so hard not to feel, or B) Fill the inner void. However, this can escalate into a compulsive cycle, for the numbing/filling effect from these external agents never lasts long, and the moment their effect ceases, we reach for more. It is a dead-end escape route that never leads anywhere.
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How Trauma Manifests Into Adulthood
Our study that childhood trauma casts a long and wide-ranging shadow important domains of functioning. Copeland, W.E., Et. al
As the ACE study demonstrates, psychological trauma experienced during childhood continues to affect the victim. Here are seven of the many hidden ways that trauma affects you as an adult:
Helping A Loved One Deal With Trauma
When a loved one has suffered trauma, your support can play a crucial role in their recovery.
Be patient and understanding. Healing from trauma takes time. Be patient with the pace of recovery and remember that everyones response to trauma is different. Dont judge your loved ones reaction against your own response or anyone elses.
Offer practical support to help your loved one get back into a normal routine. That may mean helping with collecting groceries or doing housework, for example, or simply being available to talk or listen.
Dont pressure your loved one into talking but be available if they want to talk. Some trauma survivors find it difficult to talk about what happened. Dont force your loved one to open up but let them know you are there to listen if they want to talk, or available to just hang out if they dont.
Help your loved one to socialize and relax. Encourage them to participate in physical exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies and other activities that bring them pleasure. Take a fitness class together or set a regular lunch date with friends.
Dont take the trauma symptoms personally. Your loved one may become angry, irritable, withdrawn, or emotionally distant. Remember that this is a result of the trauma and may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.
How children react to emotional and psychological trauma
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