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The concept of trauma can be complex but in this article we try to break down what it means and how we can help treat trauma.

What is Trauma and PTSD?

Trauma is a psychological reaction to an event that is deeply unpleasant or stressful. It can be frightening situations where there have been threats to life. You may have experienced these events yourself, but you may also be traumatised by seeing or hearing about other people who have experienced these kinds of threats. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a medical diagnosis that describes a complex set of symptoms that can occur after experiencing a trauma. However, not everyone who has experienced a trauma later suffers from PTSD. We are differently equipped, mentally and physically, to deal with trauma. Trauma and PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or background. But there is help available.

Statistics and facts

  • According to some studies, about 8% of the population is affected by PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

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Symptoms and signs

People suffering from PTSD may experience:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through nightmares or flashbacks
  • Emotional numbness
  • Greatly increased nervous system activity, which can include insomnia, irritability and exaggerated fear reactions.

Many people with PTSD report a constant sense of danger or threat, even in safe environments, which can make everyday activities and relationships difficult.

Different forms of therapy

When it comes to dealing with PTSD, there are several treatment options to consider to make the difficult journey a little easier. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a proven method that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Also, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a proven effective therapy that can help you process and re-evaluate traumatic memories. Another proven method is tapping and/or havening. This is a therapeutic method that you can learn yourself with the help of a therapist. Choosing one of these therapies, in combination with medication such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, is often part of the treatment plan. It is important to discuss the different options with a qualified psychologist or therapist to find the right treatment for you.

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How therapy can help

As therapy can give you tools to manage symptoms, it helps you work through the emotional and psychological impact of the underlying trauma. Although it can feel uncomfortable, or even overwhelming, therapy has many benefits. It gives you a safe place to express and explore your feelings which can significantly help the recovery process. Many people believe that seeking help is a sign of weakness. This is a tragic misconception; it takes strength to take the first step towards recovery.

We are ready to make the difficult easier

If you or someone you know is experiencing the symptoms and feelings described, it may be a good idea to talk to a psychologist or therapist. You can easily book an initial session with one of our experienced staff today to take the step towards treatment.

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10 common questions about PTSD and trauma

How a psychologist treats trauma and PTSD

If you think you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or other trauma symptoms, it can be scary and confusing. It is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Remember that only a qualified healthcare provider can make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan. If the situation is urgent, contact 112 or emergency services immediately.

  • Step 1: Diagnostic Evaluation
    The first step is to undergo a diagnostic evaluation with a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine if you have PTSD or other related conditions.
  • Step 2: Individualized treatment plan
    If a diagnosis is made, your healthcare provider will design an individualized treatment plan based on your needs.
  • Step 3: Psychotherapy
    Various forms of psychotherapy have been shown to be effective in treating PTSD. The most common are
    cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT). Another proven method is tapping and/or havening.
  • Step 4: Pharmacological treatment
    In some cases, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed to help you manage your symptoms.
  • Step 5: Monitoring and adjustment
    Regular follow-up with your healthcare provider is essential to adjust the treatment plan as you progress.
  • Step 6: Self-help and support groups
    Many people find it useful to attend support groups or use self-help techniques, such as mindfulness and relaxation exercises. Therefore, it is often part of your treatment plan.
  • Step 7: Long-term follow-up
    After you complete the initial treatment phase, long-term follow-up and possibly continued therapy or medication will be necessary to help you maintain your well-being.

Next steps

Dealing with PTSD or trauma can be a long and challenging process, but it is entirely possible to feel better and regain control of your life. With us, you can easily get in touch with psychologists and therapists who can help you on your journey. Don’t hesitate to take the first step and seek help today. Together we can make the hard things easier.

Lavendla – Making the difficult easier

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.