Trauma is commonly misunderstood by both clients and professionals. Clients experiencing trauma symptoms, often feel disturbed and confused and traumatic disorders are, in many cases, misdiagnosed as anxiety or depression and remain untreated. A wide variety of traumatic experiences can cause PTSD and other trauma related conditions. Bullying, sexual abuse, domestic violence, combat stress, death of a family member, mental and physical abuse, diagnosis of a life-threatening condition, childbirth or a simple car crash.
Trauma disorders are commonly triggered, causing anxiety, confusion and anger. Many aspects of the original trauma are re-experienced. This repeating and unwelcome spiral can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and hopelessness. Trauma symptoms can arise from a single incident. Often though, they develop over time. There are now quick, proven and effective treatments for PTSD and other trauma disorders, recognised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellent, NICE, and the World Health Organisation, including EMDR and Mindfulness.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is an extreme form of fear triggered by a particular situation, such as flying, or animal, such as dogs or spiders, even when there is no realistic danger. Many regular and ordinary situations can cause terror for those experiencing phobia, including balconies, stairs, dark rooms or basic social activities
It can be difficult to know when to seek help for a phobia. If avoidance of the object, activity or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with everyday life, or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy, it may be time to look into possible treatment.
In many cases an untreated traumatic life experience sits behind phobias. Effective treatments for phobias are now available and your life can be transformed. Frightening, disturbing and overwhelming circumstances can become manageable, day-to-day activities.
PTSD, attachment trauma, complex trauma and other trauma disorders are often associated with chronic pain. This is not surprising where injury accompanies the trauma, such as a car accident. Trauma is linked to a variety of pain syndromes including Fibromyalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Trauma often exacerbates pain following injury and over 35% of those diagnosed with chronic pain conditions have PTSD and other trauma related conditions.
Many people fail to connect physical pain with past or present traumatic events they have experienced and despite surgery, physiotherapy and prescribed medications the pain prevails. In some cases, unrecognised issues manifest themselves as pain and your GP can offer no reason or relief.
Untreated trauma is most likely a significant contributor to chronic pain. In most cases if trauma is addressed correctly, the pain can be greatly reduced. This is partly due to the reduced levels of anxiety, insomnia and hyper-vigilance.
During a traumatic event, the nervous system goes into survival mode and sometimes has difficulty reverting back to normal. If the nervous system stays in survival mode, stress hormones are constantly released, causing an increase in blood pressure and blood sugar, which can in turn reduce the immune system’s ability to heal. Physical symptoms start to manifest when the body is in constant distress.
We all feel anxiety and related emotions like worry, tension or fear – particularly in anticipation of future events and our perception of what might happen. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat.
Anxiety can become a problem if it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully as you want to. If your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time or you regularly experience physical manifestations of your anxiety it may be time to ask for help. Long-term anxiety can lead to Panic Disorder – this means having regular or frequent panic attacks without a clear cause or trigger. Experiencing this disorder can mean that you feel constantly afraid of having another panic attack, to the point that this fear itself can trigger attacks.
Different types of traumatic events can be the cause of anxiety long after the events are over. Anxiety is often linked with various trauma disorders and causes confusion and distress for many people because they continue to live with high worry and stress levels with no apparent cause.
There are many proven, effective and drug free treatment options for anxiety, even if you have no idea as to its root cause.
Early recovery, especially the first few months, can be challenging. A great deal of adjustment and change on different levels normally occurs and the pull of addiction and relapse remains strong.
It takes time, support, flexibility and patience to develop effective coping strategies, often in conjunction with the added stress of withdrawal symptoms. The complex nature of addiction and the subtle triggers of each person’s environment increase the chances of relapse and the downward spiral of continued active addiction.
The connection between trauma and addiction has been proven by research. A person who has suppressed or ignored traumatic experiences may work very hard to access recovery, only to find other addictive and mental health problems appearing. Continuing to avoid resolution of trauma will increase the chances of ongoing relapse.
There are effective practices and therapies, such as mindfulness, biofeedback and focused yoga practice that can increase resilience and help in dealing with urges, cravings and triggers, supporting development of positive coping skills, thereby breaking the trauma-addiction-relapse spiral.