Recognizing Trauma

The below is a description developed by mental health experts for clinically recognizing the affects of trauma or what is commonly referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Too often PTSD is a missed, meaning it goes undiagnosed. Clinicians focus on the symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, phobias, grief, etc.), which their patients or clients present, and treat those symptoms either through medication or traditional talk therapy. The EMDR clinician, however, looks to resolve the root cause of the emotional disturbance so that medication is not needed or greatly reduced and years of traditional talk therapy can be avoided. Through EMDR therapy we are able to desensitize and reprocess the emotional pain that is experienced through past traumatic event(s) often fully relieving the client of the disturbance experienced through such event(s).

Recognizing PTSD

  • The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which they experienced or witnessed actual or threat of death, injury or the physical integrity of themselves or others. And, they have responded with intense fear, helplessness or horror.
  • Since the traumatic event is the person experiencing one (or more) of the following:
    • Recurring and distressing recollections of the event?
    • Recurring distressing dreams about the event?
    • Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring?
    • Intense distress that seems to be triggered by something either internally or externally that resembles an aspect of the traumatic event?
    • When exposed to such a trigger, do they physically react?
  • Since the traumatic event the person avoids things that are associated with the trauma, they try to numb themselves.  Do they:
    • Avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the traumatic event?
    • Avoid people, places or activities that may recall the traumatic event?
    • Are they unable to remember significant details of the traumatic event?
    • Are they less interested in taking part in activities that they previously would have?
    • Do they appear to have a restricted range of emotions (e.g., they are less able to express loving feelings)?
    • Do they have a smaller sense of expectation for a happy life in the future (this may include their employment, marriage, children or length of life expectancy)?
  • Do they have any of the following:
    • Difficulty sleeping?
    • Increased anger or irritability?
    • Difficulty concentrating?
    • Are they more easily startled?
    • Are they always “on watch”?

If the above symptoms are notice with someone for more than one month we strongly recommend securing professional help. This is especially true if it is interfering with your ability to function in normal daily and work activities.