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Trauma Treatment in Dallas, TX

Trauma: Facts, Statistics, and Treatment

Defined as an incident or event that overwhelms and sometimes impairs an individual’s ability to think, act, and perform everyday tasks, trauma can cause lasting psychological and emotional distress. And although we all experience trauma at some point in our lives, instances where the overwhelming feelings aren’t resolved can lead to further mental health complications.

Unresolved trauma can become many different conditions, like depression, bipolar disorder, or even schizophrenia, to name a few. Fortunately, several treatment options and methods have successfully addressed trauma, allowing individuals to function without constant distress and hopelessness.

Fast Facts: Trauma in Numbers

  • 70% of adults in the US have experienced some form of trauma at least once
  • Trauma is a risk factor in almost 100% of mental health and substance abuse disorders
  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States
  • 33% of youths exposed to community violence will develop PTSD
  • 90% of sexually abused children develop PTSD
  • 56% of individuals with trauma will think of or attempt suicide
  • 18% of trauma patients will inflict harm or injury on themselves
  • Children who have experienced any form of trauma are 15% more likely to attempt suicide
  • Children who go through trauma are four times more likely to use alcohol and illicit drugs
  • Individuals with trauma are twice as likely to develop depression
  • They’re also three times more likely to develop anxiety disorders

What are the Most Common Forms of Trauma?

Trauma can come in many different forms and many other patterns. And although many people think that trauma is usually just one major event, science teaches us that trauma can happen in different ways:

  • One-time trauma: These traumas will only happen once, but their severity can make it difficult for individuals to cope with their effects. This type of trauma can include injuries, accidents, sudden deaths in the family, a violent attack, or even rape.
  • Ongoing trauma: Constant exposure to a high-stress situation can be considered a trauma, especially if it causes a person to alter their behavior to minimize the effects. For instance, living in a neighborhood with rampant crimes, bullying at school, or sexual abuse of children.
  • Overlooked trauma: Although they might not be as obvious, these traumas can impose severe psychological and emotional problems. Childhood neglect, narcissistic abuse, humiliating and disappointing experiences, and breaking up with a partner can all be forms of trauma.

Similarly, there are big T’s or big traumas and small T’s or small traumas. Significant concussions must only happen once to change a person’s thinking or psyche. These are typically past traumas that produce lasting change in a person’s life. Things like natural disasters and deaths are considered big T’s. Tiny T’s, on the other hand, might not seem like traumas on the surface. But if they keep happening repeatedly, they can produce the same effect as a big T. for example, one child who is constantly and consistently neglected and deprived of affection may grow up with the psychological and emotional scars to prove it. Aside from the recurrence of the trauma, there’s the traumatic event itself. Individuals tend to respond differently to trauma, with some people feeling more affected by specific circumstances than others. For example, a woman with a close relationship with her parents might feel doubly distressed at her mother’s untimely passing. This can be a different experience for someone who hasn’t had the best relationship with her mom.

Others are fully invested in their career and might feel particularly overwhelmed with emotion if they lose their job, as opposed to someone who doesn’t mind jumping from opportunity to opportunity. Again, traumatic events are diverse, and their reactions can change depending on the individual’s unique psychology.

What are the Symptoms of Trauma?

Everyone responds to traumatic events differently, but there are specific patterns that can help a professional identify the extent of an individual’s reaction. These most common symptoms won’t always occur altogether, but more or less, an individual experiencing trauma will manifest several of these markers:

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Denial
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Nausea
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite or eating too much
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Isolation
  • Worry
  • Nightmares
  • Tremors
  • Increased psychomotor activity
  • Neglect for self-care
  • Neglect on relationships
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggression or violence
  • Shock
  • Fatigue
  • Being easily startled
  • Edginess
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Guilt
  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Being triggered by memories or reminders of the traumatic experience

This is not an all-inclusive list; some individuals may experience symptoms beyond those indicated here. These reactions may be expected if the individual doesn’t share a significant impairment to occupational or social functioning. However, traumatic reactions may become dangerous when they threaten the patient or those around them. For instance, refusing to eat or sleep for days can be a health concern. Violent behaviors where the patient lashes out can cause injury to family and friends. Moreover, individuals undergoing a traumatic experience can be more inclined to try alternatives to escape their present reality. This includes illicit drugs and alcohol, which may open the doors to various conditions. Without treatment, trauma can trigger several states, including:

  • Substance use disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Finally, there’s the issue of suicide. With many individuals with trauma contemplating suicide or even attempting it, experts recommend that patients seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent these unwanted outcomes.

Treatment for Trauma

Unless trauma has progressed to a mental health diagnosis, it might not be necessary to provide medication. That said, most treatment will focus on therapy, counseling, and support groups that aim to provide the patient with valuable skills and knowledge to overcome overwhelming emotions.

  • Counseling: This method provides an individual with an outlet to express and share their emotions, thoughts, and feelings. The therapist aims to provide the patient with a safe space to vent to understand the underlying cause of the overwhelming emotions. Although many might dismiss the traumatic event as the root of the problem, most experts assert that some people develop severe reactions to trauma because of underlying issues. Relationship troubles, toxic family dynamics, work-related stress, and other pressures are usually uncovered and addressed during counseling.
  • Therapy: Behavioral therapy’s goal is to provide an individual with practical, actionable techniques that they can use to address the overwhelming emotions they experience. For individuals whose trauma has also become a trigger, therapists can help them identify situations that might induce negative emotions and how to avoid them. For example, a woman previously subject to sexual abuse might revisit her trauma when she’s catcalled on the street. Behavioral therapy might provide her with techniques like avoiding areas with shady characters or always walking with a trusted friend.
  • Support Groups: Knowing that others have experienced the same traumatic experience as you might make it easier to see and understand that healing is possible. There are lots of support groups out there that work to help individuals discover the rally at the end of trauma. Finding a group that works with traumatized individuals with the same or similar past experiences can make it even more effective. For instance, an individual who lost her home to a natural disaster might find it more helpful to join a group of people with similar stories. These support groups can also be highly effective in establishing healthy relationships that the patients can revisit after therapy to sustain their healing and recovery for the long haul.

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