Trauma, PTSD, and Grief
A traumatic event occurs and it may be days, weeks, or even years before the impact is felt. Trauma prevents individuals from fully living in the present moment. Those who have suffered from an emotional or physical trauma may be afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD not only affects veterans, but anyone who has experienced a terrifying event. Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Intrusive memories, including flashbacks, nightmares, or recurrent thoughts of event
- Avoidance of people or activities which may trigger memories
- Changes in thinking and mood, including social isolation, negative feelings, hopelessness, emotional numbing, and inability to recall important aspects of event
- Mood disruptions which may include irritability, anger, changes in sleep, being startled easily, guarding oneself, or self-destructive behaviors like heavy drinking or drug use
Trauma responds to many effective treatments, including psychotherapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
EMDR is an effective and well-researched psychotherapy treatment for trauma, phobias, panic disorders, addiction, and other psychological conditions. Some individuals have trouble processing upsetting experiences, becoming “stuck” in a painful memory. EMDR works by helping the brain process information. By using bilateral stimulation while targeting painful memories, individuals are able to process their emotions, helping to remove painful blocks that prevent them from fully living their lives. Several sessions of EMDR may be needed to address an individual’s condition.
To read more about EMDR’s history and eight-phase process, please visit: http://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/.
Grief & Loss
Grief and loss are complicated processes – each individual has a unique experience and reaction to their loss. Some people may throw themselves into projects and tasks, avoiding painful feelings associated with bereavement. Others experience feelings intensely and may have trouble moving through their emotions. Acute grief is a normal response to a loss; however, if you are feeling overwhelmed or difficult emotions continue to persist, it may be time to talk to a mental health professional experienced in bereavement therapy.
Symptoms of complicated grief include:
- Intense sadness
- Feeling withdrawn, disinterested, or hopeless
- Preoccupation with the deceased or circumstances involving the loss
- Avoiding reminders of the deceased
Grief counseling can provide you with resources to cope with your losses, including maintaining healthy connections with the deceased, relaxation and stress management techniques, and group therapy to help share your loss with others. Healing, hope, and acceptance will help you adapt to a new life.