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Trauma
& PTSD

Luminous Transformational Coaching  

Image by Anthony Tran

Types of trauma

 

There are three main types of trauma and they are: acute, chronic, and complex. In the first type, something traumatic has happened once. This is called single trauma. With the second and third type, you have had several traumatic experiences over a longer period. This is called multiple or complex trauma.

 

Single trauma

 

In a single trauma, the experience of something drastic happened once, for example, an accident or robbery. One was not able to cope with this very unpleasant event, which subsequently led to trauma. Single does not mean that this trauma is less severe than multiple or complex trauma. Both types can have a lot of control over your life.

 

Multiple or complex trauma

 

Experiencing something unpleasant for a long time can develop into multiple trauma. Examples include recurring abuse, repeated sexual abuse or being bullied. If someone cannot cope with these violent events, they may have multiple trauma. Complex trauma results from exposure to multiple traumatic events. Often other conditions occur, such as an anxiety disorder, a negative self-image or addiction problems. Multiple or complex trauma can affect your character, personal development and the quality of your life. 

How does trauma affect my wellbeing?

You can suffer from trauma in different ways. An example of this is reliving the event through flashbacks and/or nightmares. This can be very annoying and cause you a lot of anxiety and stress. In addition, you may avoid certain situations and thoughts to cope with the stress and anxiety.

 

You may feel tired, irritable and you may have concentration problems. You may also notice its effects on your body. The level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body is elevated, which means that you are constantly in the highest state of alert. This is associated with increased blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. So you always feel rushed for no apparent reason.

 

You can suffer from the trauma at different times, both shortly after the event, but also years later thinking you have already processed everything. Trauma can also cause other problems, such as depression, anxiety or low self-esteem. Addiction problems may arise if you use narcotics to reduce your anxiety and to help you relax. 

 

Going through a traumatic experience can be strenuous, even long after it has passed it can still affect your daily life. You can develop psychological conditions due to the intense experience and the trauma can influence 

your feelings and behaviour negatively.

 

Though it varies from person to person, the following symptoms often occur after experiencing trauma:

 

  •     Flashbacks

  •     Emotional outbursts

  •     Irritability

  •     Nightmares

  •     Denial

  •     Stress

  •     Difficulty concentrating

  •     Fear

  •     Numbness

  •     Avoidant behaviour

  •     Fatigue

  •     Hopelessness

  •     Anger 

  •     Increased blood pressure 

  •     Rapid heart rate.

 

 

Anyone who has experienced a shocking event can suffer from psychological problems, which in turn can lead to trauma. It is possible, though not always the case. People are resilient and can recover from a shocking, traumatic experience on their own. It takes time. 

A shocking or terrible event can cause someone's behaviour to be (temporarily) different in the beginning. For most people, the symptoms will diminish between 1 to 4 weeks. This period is called the recovery phase in which the brain's self-healing capacity takes effect. We speak of trauma if the symptoms persist or worsen after 4 weeks. If those traumatic experiences cannot be processed, influences and continue to influence daily life, there is a risk of (a new) trauma occurring.

 

The consequences of unresolved trauma can also, in the future, influence the development of children and adults. It may seem like a good idea to cover up your pain. By not thinking about it, distracting yourself in any way, so you don't have to deal with it. It is important to know that trauma-related symptoms can eventually come back hard. You can also display avoidant behaviour, perhaps without even realizing it. Seek help if you need it. 

 

How can I recognise trauma?

 

If you recognize yourself in the following you may have a trauma:

 

  • You are very tense and irritable. 

  • You have sleeping problems or nightmares.

  • You feel insecure, unsafe or fearful i.e. being (highly) alert when you don't have to.

  • You keep having recurring thoughts or memories of the traumatic event(s).

  • You display avoidance behaviour from, for example, the place where the unpleasant event took place or anything related to it.

  • You find it hard to enjoy anything even the things you used to enjoy.

  • You take drugs or drink too much alcohol as a form of self-medication.

  • Relationships with your partner, close friends and family have been under pressure since the life-changing event.

 

 

When should I seek help?

 

If the symptoms as a result of a traumatic event do not lessen or end within a month or if the symptoms become chronic in case of multiple or complex trauma, it is advisable to consult your primary care physician first. 

If you told someone about what happened and they didn't listen to you or help you, this might have stopped you from getting the support you needed or made you feel alone – which might have made the effects of trauma worse. 

We offer services to provide you with the tools and tips to help you heal from trauma. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

The goal of our sessions would be to create physical relief and emotional serenity, helping you to get back on your feet.

 

Reach out for your first discovery session of 30-minutes for free. Start your healing process today!

 

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

We speak of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or the abbreviation of it PTSD when you get flashbacks of an event and constantly relive it. You are very restless, tense and feel frightened. What was initially a trauma has developed into post-traumatic stress disorder because the traumatic experience continues to haunt you. You are experiencing long-term psychological consequences of the traumatic event(s).

Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop quickly after a shocking event, but it is not always necessary. Post-traumatic stress disorder may also develop after years. PTSD is a mental illness that the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a handbook used by health care professionals all over the world, classifies under anxiety disorders. When someone does not properly cope with a major or shocking event, a psychological injury occurs that causes stress. 

You may have felt and still feel helpless and powerless during and after the event. You wanted to do something to prevent that shocking event, but you couldn't. You feel like your sense of security is gone. 


Not everyone develops PTSD. Bad things happen in everyone's life. Over time, they disappear from your mind. But some events have a big impact and keep circulating in someone's mind. When the mind fails to process that event, it turns into post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD can affect anyone and interferes with the normal functioning of daily life. It manifests itself with various physical and psychological symptoms. The symptoms can be very severe and you may not be able to work the way you used to or even at all anymore. You may find it harder to maintain relationships and with your daily activities such as exercising.


Many people are tense, afraid and sad after experiencing a trauma. The event keeps replaying in the mind and makes sleeping difficult. These symptoms usually disappear on their own within a few weeks. Sometimes these symptoms persist to a severe degree and for a long time,  many people then come to avoid all kinds of situations and activities reminiscent of the event in an attempt to regain control of their lives. However, they often no longer manage to release themselves from the trauma on their own. 

People who have PTSD constantly relive the traumatic event(s) through involuntary, intrusive, painful memories, by way of having flashbacks and nightmares. They use emotional avoidance and try to avoid any situation, people, conversations or places that are reminiscent of the traumatic event, or memories, thoughts, or feelings associated with the trauma. They may also have negative changes in cognition and mood. Dissociation may also occur, resulting in feelings of alienation from one's own body or the environment. 

The symptoms must have been present for at least a month and cause limitations in daily functioning. 



What causes PTSD?

Basically what happens is that you experience fear and stress to the extreme. Fear can be useful and, among other things, ensures that we do not expose ourselves to dangerous situations. So we need it for survival. However, if you are too anxious for a long time, such as with PTSD, it gets in the way of living a healthy life and hinders your functioning. 

PTSD is a long stress response to a shocking event also known as (psychological) trauma. You suffer from constant stress, you feel hyper-alert and get all kinds of physical ailments. You quickly feel threatened and withdraw as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable. Your daily life seems to go by uncontrollably. When you have PTSD, your fear persists. Your mind and body continue to take into account the danger that is no longer there. 

Here
are some examples of events that can cause PTSD:

 

  • Life-threatening situation

  • Serious injury 

  • Natural disaster

  • Accidents

  • Plane crash

  • War situations

  • Being or witnessing a (violent) attack

  • Sexual assault or abuse

  • A (violent) robbery 


PTSD develops after going through a one-time shocking event or series of shocking events. Although experiencing a shocking event does not automatically lead to PTSD. Every person processes trauma in their own way.

How does PTSD affect my wellbeing?

People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are known to be at greater risk of physical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, immune system and hormone imbalances. 
This is explained by the fact that the stress system has become unbalanced; severe stress reactions and sedation reactions are common and these harm many physical processes. 

It is also the case that people with PTSD often suffer from other physical symptoms, such as pain, and stiffness in the muscles, feeling weak, experiencing paralysis or disassociated from their body. 


People with PTSD may experience other mental health problems at the same time. Many people who have long-standing PTSD develop additional problems - most commonly depression, anxiety, and misuse of substance such as alcohol or drugs.

PTSD has major consequences on daily functioning. Simple things like going to work, picking up the kids or running errands become very difficult to do. People who live with PTSD often experience negative thoughts about themselves and the world in general. In severe cases, people with PTSD may believe that life is not worth living. Please seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Even years after the trauma people who are experiencing PTSD can still feel anxious. In most cases, people with PTSD are unable to work or study. Someone with post-traumatic stress sleeps poorly, loses concentration, fears,  has depressed thoughts and often reports sick to their employer. 

PTSD also has consequences on relationships. The symptoms that characterize PTSD are not only troublesome for the person suffering from PTSD, but also for their family. Often the relationships become under pressure and often leads to serious relationship problems. It is difficult to keep communicating with each other during this period. Which creates conflict and friction with the partner, family and close friends.
When children are involved, they also get affected by the unrest and stress. Some children feel guilty and want to fix things for their mum and dad and/or negatively ask for attention. The children notice that there is less attention for them. 


Symptoms of PTSD 

PHYSICAL:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Increased heart rate, palpitations

  • Raised blood pressure

  • Tense



EMOTIONAL & MENTAL:

  • Fearful or easily startled 

  • Persistent negative thoughts

  • Nightmares

  • Emotional/angry outbursts

  • Insomnia or trouble falling asleep

  • Aggressive

  • Hyper alert (when it is not necessary)

  • Keep re-experiencing memories

  • Sadness

  • Concentration and focus problems

  • Avoiding anything related to the trauma

  • Restless

  • Irritable

  • Self-desctructive behaviour

     
   

What can I do?

It can be scary to start treatment for PTSD. You may prefer not to think back to the trauma as much as you can. However, it is important for your recovery that you face the trauma. Seeking help is recommended if your condition doesn't change or worsens. In the meantime here are some tips on how to start healing:

Give yourself time. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Talk to others about what you have been through. Do this with people you trust and/or with other people who also have PTSD.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercising has a beneficial effect on mental health. 

  • Try and do the things, like hobbies, you enjoyed before the traumatic event happened.

  • Avoid numbing your body with alcohol and drugs.

  • To get rid of PTSD you must seek professional help. Ask your primary care physician about the options or contact us directly.

  •  Make use of Teletherapy, it allows you to access the benefits of talk therapy without having to leave your home. This way it can make it easier for you to avoid the triggers and discourage you from getting help.



When should I get help for PTSD?

It is advisable to consult your primary care physician first if the symptoms as a result of a traumatic event do not lessen or end within a month. If you told someone about what happened and they didn't listen to you or help you, this might have stopped you from getting the support you needed or made you feel alone – which might have made the effects of PTSD worse. 

 

We offer our services to provide you with the tools and tips to help you heal from PTSD. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  

The goal of our sessions would be to change your feelings about the memories. The sessions will help you reduce anxiety and give you more positive feelings, behaviour and thoughts.  

Are you or someone close to you dealing with PTSD and do you need personal help or advice? Reach out to us for your first discovery session of 30-minutes for free. 

Start your healing process today!