Have you experienced a traumatic event? Do you find yourself struggling in the aftermath, with symptoms of increased agitation, anxiety, or stress?
You may be experiencing a trauma disorder. Not all trauma disorders are classified as PTSD – the aftermath of a traumatic event can affect the mind in different ways, and every person needs their own individualized trauma treatment plan to address these conditions. You won’t have to go through this alone.
At Amend Treatment, our trauma treatment center can help you cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event in a healthier, and more sustainable way, while addressing symptoms of acute stress, dissociation, social disinhibition, and more. Give us a call at (833) 912-6363 to learn more about our treatment plans and long-term mental health support services.
Trauma can be characterized as the mental scars of a life-altering event. Whether or not an event is traumatic for any given person is largely subjective, but there are some objective characteristics of a traumatic event.
In general, there must be a realized or potential threat of harm to the observer or someone they love, and traumatic events are furthermore characterized by their sudden and often unexpected nature, leading to an overwhelming amount of fear and stress. Some examples of traumatic events include intimate violence, abuse, natural disasters, horrific accidents, and war.
The results of a traumatic event can differ in form and severity. Some people develop signs of acute stress disorder immediately after a traumatic event. Others develop symptoms of trauma later, in the form of post-traumatic stress. Others yet develop entirely different mental health issues as a result of their trauma, which can result in several different trauma disorders, such as attachment disorder, adjustment disorder, or disinhibited social engagement disorder.
The signs and symptoms of a trauma disorder differ between conditions and cases.
Trauma disorders can be identified as a series of debilitating or disabling behavioral and cognitive symptoms in the aftermath of a traumatic event, including emotional outlashes, memory loss, dissociation, and more. Some of the signs and symptoms of trauma disorders include:
- Feeling regularly confused or shocked.
- Inappropriate, risky, or strange behavior following trauma.
- Sudden and inexplicable panic or fear, without triggers.
- Reacting violently to minor frights or nuisances.
- Extreme irritability and inability to control mood.
- Lack of focus and mental clarity, sudden memory lapses, struggling to remember details about a traumatic event.
- Not acknowledging that a traumatic event occurred at all.
- Significant increase in isolation and social withdrawal since the trauma.
- Feelings of depression, joylessness, and anhedonia after trauma.
- And more.
If you or a loved one have experienced any of these symptoms, it may be time to seek out a trauma treatment program.
What is a Traumatic Event?
Trauma is subjective, meaning everyone interprets and experiences it a little differently. While most people can universally agree on vague modifiers for what trauma entails, certain events might be traumatic to some, and maybe even routine to others.
The DSM-V, which is the up-to-date Diagnostics and Statistics Manual for mental disorders, takes this subjectivity into account when referring to traumatic events as “stressors”, which may include natural disasters, accidents, violence, or other forms of life-threatening situations.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration goes one step further, describing trauma as a physically harmful or life-threatening event or series of circumstances with lasting negative effects on both your mental and physical health.
Types of Trauma Disorders
In addition to post-traumatic stress disorder, other trauma disorders include:
Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder is characterized by similar symptoms to PTSD occurring immediately after a traumatic event, such as avoidance, re-experiencing, increased arousal or reactivity, and cognitive symptoms (confusion, memory loss, and mental haziness).
Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder
Disinhibited social engagement disorder is characterized by a lack of inhibition towards strangers in a child’s behavior. Children who have been traumatized are more likely to display a lack of inhibition towards strangers, even if a stranger’s behavior is suspicious, due to past experiences with abuse or trauma.
Reactive Attachment Disorder
Reactive attachment disorder: characterized by an emotional disconnect between a child and their primary caregiver, usually a parent. This is often the result of separation or child abuse and can affect a person into adulthood via increased anxiety and difficulty forming bonds with others.
Adjustment disorder is characterized by a stronger-than-usual stress and anxiety response after a traumatic event. It is different from acute stress disorder in that symptoms center around increased anxiety and nervousness, rather than dissociative or re-experiencing symptoms.
Other Specified Trauma and Stress Disorders
Other specified trauma and stress disorders may refer to trauma disorders that do not fit into the frameworks of the above conditions but are clearly the result of a traumatic event. In cases of unspecified trauma disorder, a psychiatrist or therapist may suspect a trauma disorder, but may not have enough evidence or may require further assessment to meet a concrete diagnosis.
What Causes a Trauma Disorder?
Not all traumatic events result in a traumatic response. Whether or not someone develops a trauma disorder after witnessing or surviving something horrible is impossible to tell.
There may be a genetic component, but there are also other risk factors at play affecting a person’s mental resilience. Personality types, behavioral differences, and even something like mood or mindset in the moment can affect the development of trauma. Another crucial cause is lack of support.
Trauma is much more likely to develop in people who did not receive proper emotional care and empathy after experiencing and surviving a traumatic event.
The best we can do to narrow down the causes of a trauma disorder is to say that it depends on an individual balance of emotional, social, and neurological factors.
Some people’s brains are more prone to developing an anxious response or stress disorder after a traumatic event. Some people are naturally resilient but worn down by years of stress and mental fatigue. Some people may be more prone to trauma but have a much greater wealth of protective factors, and a robust support system after a traumatic event, allowing them to recover with fewer signs of post-traumatic or acute stress or other trauma disorders.
Trauma treatment differs depending on the disorder being treated, as well as the client’s individual circumstances. Some people respond better to certain modalities or types of trauma treatments than others. Ensuring a wide breadth of treatment options and modalities in a residential setting is important to helping clients improve over the long term.
At Amend Treatment, we offer a variety of therapeutic options, as well as recreational modalities to help inpatient clients develop the tools needed to cope with trauma symptoms while enjoying a safe and comforting treatment setting.
Regardless of your personal resilience or family past, prioritizing self-care and better mental wellness can be an important first step to reducing the impact of a trauma disorder, and continuing the foundations built during therapy or residential treatment. With conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder or attachment issues, it’s the long-term progress that matters the most.
If you have more questions about our trauma treatment center, contact Ament Treatment at (833) 912-6363.