TRAUMA and PTSD

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Do you have Trauma or PTSD? How would you Know?

Unless one has experienced an obvious and signifcant traumatic event - eg. an assault, bad car accident, life threatening event, war etc. - most people 
(and even many people in the above category) -  don't realise that they may be struggling with the effects of trauma.

Instead, what people usually notice is that they struggle with chronic anxiety - possibly panic attacks-  and/or anger and depression for no apparent reason. It is also not uncommon for these issues to be accompanied by chronic pain, fibromyalgia or other chronic illnesses.

The above can be symptoms of trauma - usually of trauma experienced in the past - often in childhood. People commonly do not directly link  the the events of the past to what they are experiencing now. Even if people do recognize that they experienced trauma in the past they often dismiss the link to their current symptoms thinking "that was way in the past, I'm over that now".

When asked "when did your anxiety etc. first start?" the answer is usually something like "I've been like this as long as I can remember". Or perhaps they can remember the anxiety dating back to teen years or early 20's (though if pushed people often recognize they experienced anxiety even earlier). If the anxiety it dates back to a specific time period, it often coincides with a time when a significant or traumatic experience occurred or was a time of personal upheaval.  

Recognizing that anxiety/anger etc. started back at an early age is  not an indicator that you have been "afflicted" with anxiety like a disease or a genetic disorder - it is an indicator that trauma or difficult circumstances were experienced early on and the anxiety etc. symptoms have continued since that time - often worsening with age. 

Trauma and PTSD (a more specific form of trauma, discussed below) are so persistent because they are ingrained in the autonomic nervous system as a result of the activation of the "flight-fight" system, which are part of our survival mechanisms. These mechanisms are activated during stressful or traumatic incidents and can become "habituated" through repeated exposures to traumatic events or through the thought processes that accompany these.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or "PTSD" 

is a syndrome that develops following a potentially dangerous or life-threating event or after being exposed to chronic, long term stressors. Please scroll down to read the definition provided by The National institute of Mental Health. 

People with chronic anxiety often experience symptoms similar to PTSD (though perhaps a bit milder) but without the direct recollection of the specific traumatic event(s) associated with the symptoms.

What is important to recognize about trauma/ PTSD and their associated symptoms (anxiety/anger) is that they involve both a physiological and a psychological component. The physical symptoms of anxiety for example are easy to notice - muscle tension "butterflies" in the stomach, elevated heart rate, sweating, shallow breathing etc. These are often accompanied by psychological phenomenon such as racing thoughts, negative thinking and "imagining the worst" and feelings of fear or anger. 

Because anxiety/anger/trauma/PTSD involve both a physiological and a psychological component, to effectively manage these it requires both a physiological and a psychological approach. At The Glen Tara Centre we approach trauma from a"mind-body" perspective and work from both a physiological and psychological point of view. Dealing with just one side of the issue on its own does not effectively address the problem. We utilize and teach techniques that help with both the mind and the body responses and lead to an effective healing solution. 

We utilize a variety of approaches in order to comprehensively deal with your trauma, including CBT (Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Rapid Desensitization) and of course hypnosis. Our unique combination of approaches can lead to a comprehensive and rapid management and resolution of the trauma/ chronic anxiety/anger issues.*

* As with all therapies, individual results may vary.

Please note that these services may be eligible for coverage under standard extended health benefit plans!

Please call us at 519-803-2965 for more information or click the button below to instantly schedule a free consultation on-line.




PTSD Definition (NIMH)

PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

Signs and Symptoms

Not every traumatized person develops ongoing (chronic) or even short-term (acute) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.

A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

Re-experiencing symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. The symptoms can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.

Avoidance symptoms include:

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event

Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having angry outbursts

Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

Cognition and mood symptoms include:

  • Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

Cognition and mood symptoms can begin or worsen after the traumatic event, but are not due to injury or substance use. These symptoms can make the person feel alienated or detached from friends or family members. 

It is natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a month, seriously affect one’s ability to function, and are not due to substance use, medical illness, or anything except the event itself, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months. PTSD is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, or one or more of the other anxiety disorders.