What is Trauma?
Trauma is a person’s emotional response to a disturbing event that interferes with their ability to cope comfortably with their everyday life. It often leads to feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness, and hopelessness. It can also lead to a diminished sense of self-worth.
It’s important to understand that people experience trauma in different ways, and it can manifest itself differently in each person. For example, some women who have experienced sexual assault withdraw from sexual and physical intimacy. In contrast, others seek it out even more. Some people seem to exist in the middle of the two extremes. They are suffering immensely inside, but no one would know it based on how they present themselves to the world.
What Are The Signs of Trauma?
Everyone reacts to trauma differently, but the following are some of the signs that seem to be most prevalent:
- Sleeping too much
- Relationship problems
- An increase or decrease in appetite
- Significant weight loss or gain
Remember, you can be experiencing all, some, or none of these symptoms when you’re dealing with a traumatic event. If you aren’t sure how to cope or just need a bit more emotional support, Pynk Health can help you. It can be really beneficial to speak to a professional who is trained in understanding and coping with trauma. We will match you with a therapist who can help you analyse and recognise your trauma symptoms, so you can move through life with a little less weight on your shoulders.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not offer bulk billing.
Before you book your appointment to see a psychologist, it is important to consider the costs involved. This will help you to weigh your options and make the right decision for you and your health. Patients with a referral/mental health care plan from a GP will be eligible to claim a rebate from Medicare. We accept direct deposit or credit card/debit cards.
To suit your individual needs and preferences, sessions with a psychologist can be spaced weekly, fortnightly, or monthly.
For more information about costs, inquire at Pynk Health.
Trauma Can Lead To and Exacerbate Other Mental Health Disorders
When someone experiences a traumatic event, it’s not surprising that this can intensify other mental health disorders or even lead to new ones. Dealing with anxiety and depression after dealing with a traumatic experience is common. Generally speaking, the longer you leave your symptoms from a traumatic event untreated, the harder it can be to deal with the issues it may be creating. Many of the symptoms of PTSD overlap with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s crucial to reach out to a trained professional who knows how to deal with trauma and other mental health disorders. Some things are just too overwhelming to handle without support, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.
What is Post Traumatic Stress?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs after a person has experienced a traumatic event. The event can be a one-time event, or it can be smaller things that happen over the course of an extended period of time. It’s also possible to develop PTSD from witnessing a traumatic event. You don’t have to be personally involved to feel the effects of trauma.
For a long time, there was the notion that PTSD only occurred in soldiers returning home from their service. Over time, this idea has been replaced by the fact that many different types of people experience trauma in totally different ways, and people can develop PTSD from a wide array of events.
Per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5), in order to be diagnosed with PTSD, you have to meet specific criteria.
Some common events that lead to trauma include:
- Experiencing a natural disaster
- Serious accidents
- Terrorist attacks
- Serious Illness
- Sexual assault/Rape (including an attempt)
- Domestic violence
- Threats of death or serious bodily harm
For a diagnosis of PTSD, you must have experienced a stressor. This can be direct exposure or indirect exposure. If you’ve witnessed a trauma, even if it didn’t happen to you, you can still suffer from PTSD. Even hearing about someone else’s trauma and not having been there to witness it can lead to PTSD. It’s also common for people to experience PTSD from indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties. An example of this would be first responders.
2) Intrusion Symptoms
For a clinical diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you must experience one of the following:
- Unwanted memories
- Flashbacks of the trauma
- Emotional distress after you’ve been exposed to something that reminds you of the trauma
- Physical reactions to reminders of the trauma
If you are avoiding stimuli that remind you of the traumatic event, that is another element in a clinical diagnosis for PTSD. It must be the avoidance of trauma-related thoughts or feelings and external stimuli that reminds you of the trauma.
4) Negative Changes In Cognition And Mood
Another criteria for PTSD is having negative changes in your cognition or mood following the traumatic experience, which must be manifested in two of the following ways:
- Inability to remember significant aspects of the traumatic event
- Very negative thoughts and assumptions about the world and yourself
- Blaming yourself or others for the traumatic experience
- Negative affect
- Disinterested in activities that you usually enjoy
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
- Difficulty feeling and expressing positive emotions
5) Changes In Arousal And Reactivity
The next piece of PTSD is experiencing changes in arousal and reactivity that manifest themselves in two or more of the following ways:
- Self-destructive behaviour
- Experiencing an exaggerated startle response
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
In addition to exhibiting the symptoms listed above, for a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must also meet the following criteria:
- The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition.
- The symptoms are causing significant distress and are preventing you from conducting certain social or occupational obligations, or they are impairing other areas of your typical day-to-day functioning.
- The symptoms from criteria 2, 3, 4, and 5 last for one month or longer.
If you have PTSD or are experiencing some of the symptoms of PTSD, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Experiencing these symptoms does not make you weak. On the contrary, if you’re able to admit that you’re struggling with trauma and have the courage to take a look at your problems and try to learn to cope with them in a healthier way, you’re stronger than you know. Seeking help can be hard, but living with trauma is harder.
At Pynk Health, we have psychologists who are trained in counselling people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They will work with you to explore your trauma and help you understand your reactions to the trauma. Additionally, they will help you set goals and develop a treatment plan. Seeing a clinician can be hard work, but it’s worth it.