Trauma Is Not That Uncommon
I’m sure you are aware of the prevalence of PTSD in America today. To put a number to it the CDC reports that 1 in 30 Americans have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is not uncommon for persons with PTSD to have mood disorder and a many also have substance addiction or are in recovery from Substance Use Disorders. In particular childhood originating Post Traumatic Stress is associated with adverse health outcomes across the life span. The DSM 5 has overhauled the PTSD criterion to reflect the ample research that has taken place regarding the differences experienced by children growing up in traumatic and chaotic homes. Developmentally, neurological research has shown that their developing brains had to reorganize around the trauma. Below are some of the indications for childhood-originating PTSD:
Emotional Trauma Dramatically and Adversely Effects Health
Childhood trauma affects brain development, the immune system, hormonal systems, and how DNA is read and transcribed. Research has shown a strong correlation between lifetime heightened risk for:
COPD 2.5 x, Hepatitis 2.5 x, Depression 4.5 x,
Suicide 12 x, Lung Cancer 3 x, Heart Disease 3.5 x *
* Link to journal articles listed at CDC.gov: Adverse Childhood Experiences Journal Articles by Topic Area
Post Traumatic Stress occurs when a person, child or not, is exposed to physical abuse, violence to the self or witnessing violence, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, family members with mental illness or substance abuse all of these create a trauma response in the brain and body. It activates the stress response system of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis to survive—the fight, flight or freeze system. Chronic exposure to trauma reorganizes the brain to create hyper alertness to danger, hypervigilance for cues to associated with danger, a constant state of alarm in the brain. Because of neuroplasticity an individual can be taught techniques to calm their brains, to breakdown the reactivity to cues to distress, and to have reduced activation of the stress response system.
Neuroplasticity and Calming the Brain
In psychotherapy specific to anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress I use clinical hypnosis to train patients how to hypnotize themselves. Hypnosis has been used for years to achieve positive results with persons with PTSD and other disorders. Hypnosis is very effective with anxiety disorders.
The brain can change! Research in neuroplasticity supports that. Research in the effectiveness of hypnosis shows that. Research in debriefing and exposure therapy supports that. It can achieve greater sense of calm by using certain techniques, such as:
Clinical Hypnotherapy & Systematic Meditation
Thought Challenging & Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Debriefing Negative Experiences
Reducing Reactivity to Negative Cues
Each patient will be assessed as to whether they will use hypnosis or mindfulness meditation on a prescribed basis in conjunction with cognitive behavior therapy and learned associations treatment (behavior therapy). For patients who struggle with blood pressure, panic, chronic fatigue, chronic overwhelming stress, and ongoing issues with depression it could very well be they have trauma in their background. A very effective adjunct to medical care is a combination of hypnotherapy, regular meditation habits, and cognitive behavior therapy to debrief their experiences, normalize their reactions, and address how what once was adaptive to their chaotic environment increases their current anxiety-depressive response. There are a number of techniques to help clients with distress over their memories and to calm their reactivity to current cues that elicit the PTS response. I hope you will add me to your referral list!
Thanks for your attention.
Debra Crown, MA Clinical Psychology, Licensed Professional Counselor—Supervisor, Licensed Chemical Dependence Counselor
Thrive Clinical Counseling, 1400 Preston Road, Suite 300, Plano, TX 75093 (214) 843-7341