Understanding the Complexity of Trauma and How to Treat It

Traumatic events are deeply personal, and some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from situations that, in the eyes of society and others, may seem like “nothing”. This is why trauma and PTSD can be so difficult to treat. We have extensive knowledge of the causes of trauma, but ultimately it's a very personal journey. It's heartbreaking that so many people have experienced traumatic and tragic events in their lives that it is almost impossible to differentiate one from the other.

I have managed to overcome a complex trauma after working on it for 30 years, beginning with ending a variety of addictions. Staying clean and sober is a difficult path with trauma, but it can be done. I recommend that you persist until you find something that works for you, so that you can receive support to process any remaining trauma and start to feel better. You will need the help of a very special person to help you unravel the threads of trauma in your life, but there is no doubt that it is possible to do so if you commit to this change and work with someone who is also dedicated to helping you reclaim the life you deserve.

In addition to noting that this describes multiple cases of trauma, developmental trauma highlights the importance of these traumas occurring during key developmental stages of life. This is a fundamental way in which trauma is passed from generation to generation, since the traumatized parent cannot regulate themselves and, therefore, cannot regulate their child. It's possible that one day, for example, we can simply block the bad memories associated with trauma, research suggests. For instance, a person who is born into a low-income family, lives in a violent neighborhood, and suffers physical abuse and loss during key stages of life may develop complex trauma, especially if there is minimal support available to deal with these challenges.

According to the findings of Dutch researchers, they show that learning not related to trauma is also affected in the brains of people with PTSD, not just the mechanisms of memory related to fear. These are just three of the challenges of trauma: the paradox of needing the very things that trauma deprives us of. Fortunately, health care providers have become more aware and understanding of psychological stress and trauma in recent decades. For many people, treatment and therapy can dramatically improve quality of life, including techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy which can change negative thought patterns, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a form of psychotherapy that can help a person recover, process, and resolve past trauma.

Understanding this is the first step in not blaming ourselves for how difficult it is to treat trauma because the self-blame and shame that come as free additional features of trauma will keep us stuck forever. With dedication and commitment to finding the right treatment plan for you or your loved one, it is possible to overcome even the most complex traumas.

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