People experience trauma when their physical or psychological well-being is under attack. Individuals can also experience trauma if they witness threats to someone else’s physical or psychological health. Things like abuse, bullying, accidents, and natural disasters can all produce trauma-related effects.
Some of these effects can develop into more serious conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma therapy, such as counseling from RenuYou, can help people learn how to process the negative aspects of traumatic experiences. Therapy can also reduce physical and emotional reactions that result from triggers or reminders of the original traumatic event.
What Are the Side Effects of Trauma?
One of the more well-known side effects of trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. The American Psychiatric Association reports that around 3.5% of U.S. adults exhibit some form of PTSD each year. Estimates indicate that one out of every 11 individuals will receive a PTSD diagnosis during their lives.
PTSD is also known as “shell shock” and can produce flashbacks and nightmares. People with PTSD may also experience heightened adverse feelings, such as anger, sadness, fear, and detachment. Others may intentionally avoid situations or environments that are likely to trigger negative feelings and reactions.
Other side effects of experiencing or witnessing traumatic events include sleep disturbances, severe and persistent fatigue, dissociation, numbness, and confusion. Some people develop a substance use disorder to deal with feelings and flashbacks. Others develop a “freeze” response in triggering situations and environments where they are unable to vocally respond or physically move.
What is Trauma Therapy?
Trauma therapy can involve talking with an individual therapist or participating in a group therapy session with other survivors. During the therapy sessions, individuals may be guided to talk through their experiences and how those experiences made them feel. In group sessions, peers can share their stories and experiences while offering support and validation for others.
Some of the techniques that trauma therapy uses include cognitive-behavioral techniques, desensitization, stress debriefing, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to change patients’ thinking and behavioral patterns. They learn how to recognize unproductive or harmful patterns and reshape them.
With cognitive-behavioral therapy, individuals also learn coping and problem-solving skills to deal with unwelcome situations. Desensitization involves incremental exposure to triggers while simultaneously engaging in relaxation. The goal is to reduce or eliminate negative reactions to the triggers. Debriefing happens when people are allowed space to talk, process, and reflect.
Psychodynamic therapy seeks to uncover the unconscious or underlying causes of physical and emotional reactions. Patients and therapists engage in self-reflection and self-examination activities. The goal is to alleviate symptoms by identifying patterns in the patients’ lives that lead to the reactions.
Does Trauma Therapy Work?
The majority of individuals who participate in trauma therapy see improvements. Between 77% and 100% of patients get relief from their symptoms. Trauma therapy can be as effective as medications in reducing symptoms and adverse effects. Therapy can also supplement or augment the success of medications.
Overall, trauma therapy can be a highly effective way to process and alleviate the aftereffects of traumatic events. The effects that people experience as a result of trauma are the way the mind and body cope with external threats. Therapy can give people a way to talk through the way those threats made them feel and lessen their impact.