Life has its ups and downs, but once in a while, something truly traumatic happens that can alter your thoughts and feelings indefinitely. Trauma is defined as an emotional response to an experience or event that is deeply distressing. By this definition, one could experience trauma for any number of reasons including being in an accident, losing a loved one, or being diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Trauma is a very personal experience that affects everyone differently. Because of this, and the fact that there is nearly an unlimited number of causes, trauma is often placed into one of three different categories: acute, chronic, and complex.
At Blair Wellness Group, we help those who are struggling with all forms of stress and anxiety disorders. Some disorders are short-term, usually only lasting a few days or weeks, while others can have lasting mental and physical effects that can endure for years without intervention. In either situation, psychological treatment and therapy have been shown to be highly effective for helping people cope with the trauma they have experienced and reduce, if not eliminate their symptoms altogether.
What is Acute Trauma?
Acute trauma is also known as acute stress disorder and it’s a mental health disorder that can develop following a person’s exposure to a specific traumatic event. That event could be a violent attack or rape, an automobile accident, or being involved in a natural disaster, among other things.
The way a person reacts to trauma depends on several factors including the type and severity of the event, previous history with trauma, and natural resilience. The body is programmed to respond to danger and when faced with a traumatic event that overwhelms the nervous system, it can become stuck in that threat response long after the danger has passed.
Those with acute trauma can experience a vast range of physical and psychological symptoms similar to those experienced by people diagnosed with PTSD. The difference between acute trauma and PTSD is that acute trauma is seen as a short-term condition that could go away within a few days or weeks. However, many who have acute trauma will go on to develop PTSD — a potentially more severe, and longer-lasting mental health condition — if they do not seek therapeutic intervention.
Symptoms of Acute Trauma
Someone who has experienced a traumatic event and then has exhibited symptoms that have lasted for at least three days or up to one month may be diagnosed with acute trauma (acute stress disorder). The most common types of symptoms are explained below.
An overactive nervous system that is triggered by the traumatic event may influence the development of several physical symptoms including heart palpitations, nausea, sweating, headaches, stomach upset, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Victims of trauma may go to great lengths to avoid anything that may remind them of the event. This includes avoiding people, places, activities, and even specific conversations that make them feel uncomfortable.
A nervous system that is in overdrive and a constant state of alert will cause an increase in anxiety symptoms such as trouble sleeping, an increase in irritability, difficulty concentrating, and being startled easily.
Dissociative symptoms can affect every aspect of mental functioning including memory, perception, and behavior. Some examples of these types of symptoms include feeling emotionally detached or numb, inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, and feeling as though you are in a daze.
It is common for people who have experienced trauma to relive the event through recurring flashbacks or nightmares. These involuntary and distressing thoughts are known as intrusion symptoms.
Negative Mood Symptoms
People with acute stress disorder often experience negative mood symptoms such as persistent sadness, negative thoughts about themselves and the world around them, and the inability to feel joy, love, or happiness.
Causes of Acute Trauma
As discussed previously, acute trauma stems from witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. What is classified as a traumatic event, however, can vary greatly depending on the person. Some of the most common sources of trauma include:
- Sudden death of a loved one
- Automobile accident
- Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness
- Physical or sexual assault
- Military combat
- Natural disasters
- Terrorist attacks
Almost everyone will experience trauma at some point in their life, but not everyone who does will develop acute stress disorder. Trauma is subjective, meaning it affects everyone differently. There are some risk factors, however, that can increase the chances of developing this mental health disorder, including having a history of trauma, possessing certain personality traits such as being naturally prone to stress, and the presence of pre-existing mental health conditions.
If you have witnessed or been a part of a traumatic event and as a result are experiencing physical or emotional distress, it’s likely that trauma therapy can help. By focusing on the thoughts and feelings that are currently influencing your mood and behavior, many people are able to process the painful memories of the past so they can no longer affect the present.
Trauma therapy also teaches healthy ways to cope with daily challenges, thereby reducing symptoms, and ultimately aiming to prevent their recurrence in the future. Patients learn to alter unhealthy thought patterns and are therefore better equipped to move toward a path of greater resilience and healing.
Contact Blair Wellness Group For Trauma Therapy in Los Angeles
At Blair Wellness Group, we offer comprehensive trauma therapy for those who are struggling with acute trauma. Using a unique combination of evidence-based treatment modalities, Dr. Blair creates a personalized treatment plan designed to meet the specific needs of each client. In addition to providing treatment for trauma, Dr. Blair is also skillfully experienced in many other related mental health conditions including depression, addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and anger management.
To schedule an appointment for trauma therapy in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Monica, or the surrounding area, please give us a call at 310.999.4996.
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