When a person experiences a sense of threat, the central nervous system’s fight or flight response is activated. In the face of traumatic events, their system can become completely overwhelmed, resulting in a chronically overactive fight or flight response or a chronic sense of reliving the traumatic events. The nervous system essentially becomes stuck in a defensive physiological state.
What counts as a traumatic event varies from person to person. However, a common misconception is that only violent or long-term stressful experiences can be considered trauma. The truth is anything that causes a stress reaction can be traumatic, and any traumatic events can cause lingering mental health effects. Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) or has been negatively impacted by trauma, we can help through our PTSD treatment program. Reach out to our compassionate intake team today at 703.682.8208 to learn how our expert mental health providers can support your healing process.
How Can Trauma Impact Mental Well-Being?
Research on the effects and treatment of trauma has revealed that traumatic experiences often have a long-lasting physiological and psychological impact which may, depending upon the nature of the traumatic events, include:
- Disruption in the functioning of the centers of the brain that involve higher order, abstract thinking (including planning and prioritizing) and that regulate attention and concentration
- Heightened activity in the part of the brain that interprets threat and danger
- Sympathetic nervous system dominance, which can lead to hyper-vigilance with a sensitive startle response, agitation, anxiety, reduction in heart rate variability, heart palpitations, or difficulty sleeping
- A sense of disconnection or dissociation from others or the environment
- Sense of disconnection from one’s self and one’s own body, including poor self-care
- Tendency to relive (flashbacks) or reenact the traumatic events and distress upon exposure to anything that serves as a reminder of the events
- Social withdrawal, including significant difficulty trusting others, even a spouse or partner
- Trouble controlling emotions
- Aggressive impulses based on an overactive sense of needing to defend oneself
- Confusion and/or inhibition in the area of sexuality
Altered sense of meaning in life
What to Expect in Our PTSD Treatment Program
In our PTSD treatment program, therapists will utilize a comprehensive approach to helping you to recover from trauma. We tailor therapy to the specific needs of each client’s situation using some combination of the following strategies:
- Development of effective coping skills for regulating emotional states and physiology and for improving lifestyle habits
- Body-awareness exercises to facilitate the effective processing of emotions and reconnection with one’s own body
- Processing the emotional impact of the traumatic events in order to make greater sense of experiences that have produced significant pain and confusion
- Nutrition therapy to assist with rebalancing the central nervous system
- Referral, if necessary, for a medication evaluation (available at our practice)
We work with trauma survivors holistically to restore healthy mind/body functioning so that our clients can release the past and feel more genuinely alive in the present.