Treating Trauma: A Comprehensive Guide

Trauma can be a difficult disorder to treat, as it requires a person to work with a therapist to uncover the sources of trauma and trust in their vulnerabilities. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is an even more challenging condition, as it is caused by prolonged, repeated trauma that lasts for months or years. In this article, we will explore the various therapies for trauma, the impact of complex trauma, and how to evaluate the response to treatment. Classical conditioning plays a role in the maintenance of emotional reactions associated with trauma.

This occurs when previously neutral stimuli, such as the smell of beer on an abuser's breath, are combined with overwhelming emotions during traumatic events. To resolve these long-term effects, it is necessary to process traumatic material in a systematic way, usually during phase 2 of physical trauma treatment. This can be done in individual therapy or in support groups. The response to treatment should be monitored over weeks or months, as vital stress or a difficult therapy session can cause acute despair. People who have experienced a shocking event in adulthood may have intrusive flashbacks that bring out traumatic memories.

It is important to note that the same event can be extremely traumatic for one person and barely noticeable for another. Trauma causes strong emotional responses or numbs emotion after being overwhelmed by emotions. While both emotional flooding and avoidance, as well as dissociation, are initial adaptations to trauma, these responses may prevent the processing needed to resolve the long-term effects of trauma. The goal of treatment is to change the “survival skill” into a “recovery skill” by developing non-trauma-based strategies to assess the current life situation and level of external danger, acquire a repertoire of skills to stay safe, and create general safety and self-protection. With treatment, the symptoms of complex trauma can dramatically decrease, helping the person with their daily functions and providing a high quality of life. In conclusion, treating trauma can be difficult but it is possible with the right approach. It is important to remember that everyone responds differently to traumatic events and that it is possible to reduce the symptoms of complex trauma with treatment.

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