War trauma is the classic example of a potentially overwhelming stressor but only a small number of individuals may experience PTSD. It is now well documented that childhood events such as sexual and physical abuse as well as neglect can have long-term devastation consequences, and maybe one factor which predisposes PTSD in response to a severe adult stressor such as war.
The textbook symptoms of PTSD include reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative beliefs about oneself, and feeling hypervigilant and overly alert for danger. The good news is that PTSD can be treated effectively. Newer therapies allow for exposure to the fear with a reprocessing of the information in a non-revictimizing away. These are called evidence-based treatment because research has demonstrated effective relief of PTSD symptoms. Such techniques require specialized training. Therapists at Harmony Place Monterey have worked with thousands of clients with PTSD and are skilled in a variety of targeted therapies.
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These experiences may cause the individual to be highly self-critical, perfectionistic, self-hating, and to be over or under dependent with others, and constantly anxious about personal safety. When there is also PTSD response to past experiences of violence, as, in war-related events or child abuse, the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be compounded.
Therapies that allow for processing and integration of the painful and overwhelming events must include revising one's sense of self to change self-blame to self-understanding, and hopelessness to meaning. If self-destructive or addictive behaviors have become a way of coping, therapy will focus on creating a longer-term plan to manage symptoms, while allowing the person to take charge of their life and move it in more functional and fulfilling directions.
Recent research has demonstrated that having advised childhood events can increase risk of PTSD, Depression, anxiety and physical illness. They can include:
Depression and anxiety may accompany this disorder, as well as irritability, rage, and guilt. It is not unusual for individuals to actively seek to blunt the intensity of the trauma-related feelings and develop a secondary substance-abuse or other numbing experience. Without treatment that allows a person to work through and integrate the experience, avoidance tends to grow increasingly constricting the person's life. Exposure-based therapies are recommended to allow the person to master the traumatic experience and reduce the associated anxiety, depression, and debilitating symptoms.
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Experiencing safe attachment to attuned therapist
Establishing control over out-of-control behavior
Increasing ability to remember and experience emotions from past trauma
Narrate the emerging story
Gain mastery over destructive re-enactments
Restructuring of cognition and overcoming distortion and beliefs
Restoring opportunities for learning life skills
Sustaining capacity for attachment
Developing intimacy in a safe relationship
Experiencing joy and freedom
Reclaiming rights for healthy sexuality