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Trauma

Trauma and PTSD

Overview

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) requires special treatment strategies, and rarely responds well to standard talk-therapy, or behavioral therapies that work well with Panic Disorder, OCD, and other anxiety disorders.  Though some of the features of PTSD look similar to other disorders, PTSD involves neural encoding in the brain that is primarily non- verbal, and cannot be reached with efforts of the rational part of the brain.

Causes

The key ingredients that create a vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are: an event which creates extreme fear of harm to self or others the experience of complete helplessness to do anything about it pre-existing developmental vulnerabilites that make the emergence of PTSD more likely when combined with above.

Symptoms

recurrent and distressing recollection of a traumatic event or events waking "flashbacks" which reproduce many sensory aspects of the original experience in overwhelming and terrifying detail, including smells, sounds, images, and tactile feelings horrific recurring nightmares feeling and acting as if the event is actually happening in the present time particular places, people, sounds, smells or situations "trigger" the symptoms by association chronic hypervigilance and physical arousal, as if something dangerous was about to happen panic attacks irrational anger or rage episodes that seem out-of-context or over-reactive dissociative experiences where the world or self feels unreal, numb, or disconnected a sense of falling apart and going crazy. In addition to the primary symptoms, PTSD can cause the development of secondary disorders such as major depression, insomnia, or substance abuse.

Brief History

Throughout long periods of history in the 19th and 20th centuries, the idea that certain kinds of experiences could create this chronic disorder was often dismissed, as was one of the more common causes of it: childhood sexual abuse.  Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Judith Herman has written one of the classic books on the politics of trauma throughout the past 150 years, and on the development of scientific trauma treatment as well. Neuropsychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk led scientific research on the neurobiology of trauma, and showed that actual changes take place in the brain as a result of it, especially for experiences that happen early in childhood.  In spite of his strong standing in the medical research community, he has pioneered the investigation of cutting-edge, non-traditional treatments for PTSD, including EMDR, yoga, dance and theatre therapy, wilderness excursions, and neurofeedback.

Our Treatment

We treat PTSD primarily with a combination of the following strategies: neurofeedback training eye movement densitization & reprocessing therapy (EMDR) mindfulness training
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Trauma
Licensed Clinical Psychologist Help for Trauma