When someone experiences one or more events that are deeply distressing or frightening, the emotional and psychological response is what is known as trauma. Although human beings are incredibly resilient, when put in situations that are shocking or life-threatening, it can overwhelm the body’s ability to cope and process what is happening. As a result, the brain can continue to hold on to the memories and get stuck in a constant state of threat — even if the actual threat is no longer there.
Some people who have experienced trauma will have lasting adverse effects that can impact their physical, social, and psychological well-being. Those who have experienced chronic trauma are especially at risk. Fortunately, the potential health implications of traumatic events can be addressed through behavioral health treatments and psychotherapy that help victims face what has happened so they can deal with their feelings and begin the healing process.
At Blair Wellness Group of Beverly Hills, we specialize in trauma therapy for clients who are suffering from all forms of trauma including PTSD. We provide customized treatment plans that include the use of various evidence-based treatment modalities to allow our clients to better understand the cause of their trauma and face it head-on. Only in doing so can they gain freedom from the overwhelming thoughts and feelings that impact their daily lives.
Chronic Versus Other Forms of Trauma
Trauma is a very personal experience that affects everyone differently. That being said, trauma can generally be categorized in one of three ways: acute, chronic, or complex. Acute trauma usually occurs immediately following a traumatic event and lasts for up to one month. Chronic trauma happens when a person is exposed to prolonged periods of distress and professional trauma therapy is usually needed to fully recover. Complex trauma is the result of multiple traumatic experiences usually associated with an interpersonal relationship. Some examples of complex trauma are domestic violence and child abuse.
Those who have experienced chronic trauma may have felt like their distress would never end and that they just had to endure whatever continued to come their way. Because of this, even after the trauma has ended, a person who has experienced chronic trauma will likely be at a greater risk for chronic behavioral health conditions and health-risk behaviors.
Chronic trauma can be influenced by one type of long-term distress such as exposure to war and military combat or a natural disaster, but it can also occur after a series of unique distressing events. Someone who was in a car accident that then had to deal with chronic illness and then the death of a loved one could likely suffer from chronic trauma.
One of the distinct differences between chronic trauma and acute trauma is the manifestation of symptoms. Those experiencing acute trauma will likely see symptoms immediately following the event. However, symptoms of chronic trauma may not surface for weeks, months, or even years after the trauma has ended.
Symptoms of chronic trauma can be complex and varied. Without trauma therapy, they often increase in severity and are disruptive to normal daily functioning. Over time, many people who experience symptoms of chronic trauma are likely to engage in maladaptive coping behaviors such as excessive drinking or drug abuse.
The following is a list of some of the most common symptoms of chronic trauma:
- Easily startled
- Violent outbursts
- Nightmares or flashbacks
- Emotional detachment
- Inability to remember key aspects of the traumatic event
- Overreaction to normal events
- Sleep problems
- Social withdrawal
Complications For Chronic Trauma
Complications arise when a person doesn’t receive treatment to deal with their chronic trauma. Although someone’s first instinct is to usually ignore or avoid the painful memories that are the cause, doing so won’t make them go away. On the contrary — not addressing the root of the problem will only make things worse. Over time, and depending on the source of the trauma, some people may develop unhealthy behaviors that can put even more stress on their health, job, relationships, and financial stability. Some complications of chronic trauma include engaging in fights or other violent acts, drug or alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, reckless driving, and other high-risk behaviors.
Treatment For Chronic Trauma
Chronic trauma can significantly affect every aspect of a person’s life. Not only does it diminish physical and psychological well-being, without proper treatment, symptoms can last for years — thereby increasing the risk of developing destructive coping mechanisms.
Fortunately, seeking trauma therapy from a licensed, clinical psychologist has been found to be very effective for understanding the root cause of the trauma, identifying symptom triggers, and creating a path toward recovery and healing.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients become more aware of negative or inaccurate ways of thinking and how that thinking is contributing to their problems. By gaining a better understanding of what motivates someone to think or act a certain way, patients can learn to respond more constructively. CBT is particularly useful for helping those who have experienced trauma, however, it can be a useful tool that anyone can use to learn to better manage stressful situations.
EMDR, otherwise known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a common type of psychotherapy used to help victims of chronic trauma process the difficult memories and emotions they feel. Using a variety of techniques that involve eye movements, hand tapping, and other forms of sensory input, patients can work through painful or even repressed memories while enduring a minimal amount of additional distress.
Trauma Therapy Los Angeles
It can take months or even years for symptoms to appear if you’ve experienced chronic trauma. Don’t try to tough it out or ignore what has happened to you, contact Blair Wellness Group for trauma therapy in Los Angeles. We can help you face your past, learn effective coping mechanisms, and ultimately build resilience so you can face your challenges and start to heal from your trauma. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Blair Wellness Group at 310.999.4996.
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We support our clients to reach their goals and objectives through maintaining an adaptive lifestyle.
With more than 15 years of experience in providing psychological services, we are confident in our expertise.
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We are dedicated to our client’s wellbeing. Our team has the extensive training to provide quality care for all of our clients.