Dealing with Trauma
Every person has their own type of trauma. Although one’s trauma may be more extreme, all degrees of trauma affect the human brain and shapes individuals into the people they become. When children are exposed to trauma, it can have a significant amount of influence on the brain because at that stage of life, the brain is still in its developmental stages. Childhood trauma has large ramifications on the brain, which leaves children more susceptible to mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
How stress relates to trauma
Trauma can manifest itself in the brain through stress. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly known as PTSD, is an example of trauma that presents severe stress within the brain, which can cause panic attacks, flashbacks, visions, and nightmares. It is commonly seen in soldiers coming back from war, but is not limited to this situation. PTSD can stem from different types of trauma, such as abuse, assault, etc. It is important to know that although there may not be a ‘cure’ for PTSD, there are strategies and medications that significantly aid in decreasing the mentioned side effects.
NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) recommends these seven steps for relieving traumatic stress.
To read the full article, visit https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2020/7-Tools-for-Managing-Traumatic-Stress
The following content is adapted from this article:
The use of the “Window of Tolerance.”
NAMI defines it as “a way to identify and talk about your current mental state. Being inside your window means that you’re doing okay and can function effectively. When you’re outside of the window, it means you have been triggered and you are experiencing a traumatic-stress response.”
Breathing Exercises to help slow and deepen your breathing
Breathing exercises have proven to be very helpful for relieving stress. Controlling your breathing allows for your heart rate to slow down, which further aids one during the process of calming down after an intense panic attack and other stress induced phenomenons.
Validate Your Experience
It is important for trauma survivors to continuously validate their experiences. A lot of trauma survivors are of the opinion or belief that the incident (s) occurred were instigated by them, and they therefore tend to blame themself. It’s important to remember that what happened was not and will never be your fault. Make sure to continuously self-validate!
Here are 5 reminders for survivors of any kind of trauma-
Trauma Responses Are Unique
Trauma Lives On In The Body And Senses
Trauma Stories Aren’t Always Helpful
Trauma Integration Requires Self-Care
Trauma Survivors Are Resourceful
Focus on Your 5 Senses (The 5-4-3-2-1 Method)
This method of grounding is particularly used for people suffering from dissociation from real life. To use this strategy effectively, follow the steps listed below.
Name 5 things you can SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, and SENSE.
Name 4 things you can SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, and SENSE.
Name 3 things you can SEE, HEAR, SMELL, TASTE, and SENSE.
(Repeat until you reach 1)
Think Positively for 12 Seconds
Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and the author of Hardwiring Happiness, has investigated and discovered that it only takes 12 seconds of positive thinking to drastically improve your mood. For more information, his TEDxTalk is available on youtube, as linked below.
Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted Blankets have been clinically proven to reduce stress because of their ability to ground a person back to reality when they are experiencing extreme panic attacks and flashbacks. It can also help keep someone asleep, especially when suffering from insomnia or night terrors, considering the comfort they offer.
Here are some examples of weighted blankets that are easily accessible to purchase online.
Laughing has been clinically proven to help reduce stress and depression, because it releases chemicals in your brain that can help balance your mood. Whether this means calling a friend, scrolling on Tiktok, or watching SNL sketches on youtube, your options are limitless! As long as the activity you decide to engage in can make you giggle even a little, it can help combat anxiety and reduce mental illness symptoms. Even Netflix has great stand-up comedy specials!
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The team behind State of Mind are not medical professionals. State of Mind does not condone self-diagnosing in any way, shape, or form. To receive a proper diagnosis, check with your doctors before approaching the treatment process.
Here are some examples of Therapy and Treatments for those suffering from PTSD.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This type of therapy aids a person in the process of replacing their negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) – This type of therapy exposes a person to traumatic memories with varying stimuli, such as eye movements.
Exposure therapy – Exposure therapy helps a person face their fears in a clinically approved safe manner, so that they can learn to cope with said fears.
Imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) – This is a new treatment for reducing the intensity and frequency of nightmares.
For More Information on Trauma Survivor Treatments, visit the following links
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