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HAVE YOU RECENTLY EXPERIENCED A TRAUMATIC EVENT?

If you've recently experienced or been exposed to a life-threatening event, you might be having stress reactions that are impacting your daily life. It's important to understand that your mind and body's responses to trauma are normal reactions to abnormal experiences. It makes sense that your mind and body are on edge following an experience like this. Your body is doing whatever it can to protect you and ensure that you're safe. In most cases, these stress reactions will decrease with time as you process the emotions associated with the trauma with your support system or a therapist like myself.

"responses to trauma are normal reactions to abnormal experiences"

UNDERSTANDING COMMON RESPONSES TO TRAUMA


POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

PTSD occurs when these stress reactions do not subside on their own over time following a traumatic event. If after many weeks (or even years), you find yourself still managing many of the symptoms below, you might be experiencing PTSD. Despite the dramatic impact PTSD can have on your life and relationships, it is a highly treatable condition. PTSD is not a life sentence (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2018).

EXPOSURE
Exposed to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):

  • Direct exposure

  • Witnessing the trauma

  • Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma

  • Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)

RE-EXPERIENCING

  • Unwanted upsetting memories

  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

  • Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders

  • Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders

AVOIDANCE

  • Avoiding trauma-related thoughts or feelings

  • Avoiding trauma-related reminders

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS & FEELINGS

  • Inability to recall key features of the trauma

  • Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world

  • Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma

  • Negative affect

  • Decreased interest in activities

  • Feeling isolated

  • Difficulty experiencing positive affect

AROUSAL

  • Irritability or aggression

  • Risky or destructive behavior

  • Hypervigilance

  • Heightened startle reaction

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty sleeping


cognitive processing therapy (cpt)