Adult & Childhood Trauma
What is Trauma?
Trauma is defined as the response to a deeply distressing, disturbing event that overwhelms one’s ability to cope. This causes feelings of helplessness and ongoing issues, especially anxiety and acute stress responses. A survey by the World Health Organization revealed that at least one third of people have experienced trauma in some form.
Repeated childhood exposure to traumatic events can affect the brain and increase health-risk behaviors later in life, including eating disorders and substance use. Adult survivors of traumatic events may have difficulty establishing relationships and maintaining employment.
Generally, traumatic events involve loss of control, abuse of power, betrayal, pain, helplessness, confusion, or loss. Because trauma puts individuals at risk for substance use disorders, it is extremely important to seek professional help before symptoms worsen. Luckily, with proper treatment, recovery is possible.
When signs of trauma last for more than a month and impact one’s ability to function, the person may be suffering from PTSD.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event with accompanying psychological trauma. On average, 30% of those who experience trauma will eventually be diagnosed with PTSD, and the rates are higher for women than for men.
Various factors increase an individual’s risk for PTSD. Lack of support and validation can contribute to feelings of hopelessness, which combine with inadequate coping mechanisms to create an ongoing, unresolved trauma. This is worsened by other issues, including vulnerability from a previous trauma or additional stressors.
Examples of Traumatic Events
Potentially traumatic events can take a variety of forms and are defined as those that are both upsetting and powerful, upending one’s daily life. Generally, they present major threats to one’s well-being, and may even be life-threatening. They may be singular, one-time occurrences, or ongoing stressors that happen over a long period of time. These events are more likely to traumatize someone if:
- The event occurred unexpectedly
- The person was unprepared for the event
- The event was severe
- The person lacked coping mechanisms or was particularly vulnerable
- The event happened during childhood
- The person felt powerless to prevent the event
- The event occurred repeatedly, as in instances of abuse
Types of traumatic events include:
- Exposure to violence
- Sexual assault and rape
- Domestic violence
- Death of a loved one
- Injuries, including falls or sports injuries
- Sexual harassment
- Living in poverty
- Severe illness
- Work accident
- Sexual abuse and molestation
- Being raised in an alcoholic household
- Car accidents
- Divorce or breakup
- Mass shootings
- Coach abuse
- Verbal, physical, or emotional abuse
- Natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.)
- War or combat
- Witnessing any of the above
Comprehensive Trauma Treatment
Canyon Crossing uses a variety of treatment modalities to begin the process of healing deep-seated traumas. Our clinical staff members are experts in many psychotherapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and motivational interviewing (MI).
Other, more experientially-oriented therapeutic techniques can be especially effective depending on each client’s individual needs. By getting out of the traditional one-on-one therapy model and focusing on other activities, hidden issues may be brought to light. These tactics include somatic experience, role play, psychodrama, experiential treatment, ecotherapy, family sculpting, music therapy, art therapy, yoga therapy, mindfulness training, and equine therapy.
As a women’s-only center, Canyon Crossing understands the importance of safe spaces and holistic healing. Through a combination of proven therapeutic processes and structured living, we help women to resolve core issues and walk away with confidence, integrity, and grace. If you or a loved one could benefit from Canyon Crossing’s services, we encourage you to call 1-800-651-7254 today.