At-Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress?
As a therapist who specializes in treating trauma and working with individuals who have been through horrific and stressful experiences, I felt compelled to share information with you about a powerful predictor of future post-traumatic stress (PTSD) symptoms. Few people, even therapists, know about one of the most critical responses that occur from a traumatic experience. The response is called Peri-traumatic Dissociation. The name may sound scary itself, but in the event of a very stressful experience, there is potential for our bodies to react by going into a fight, flight, or freeze mode. The dissociation can disturb your awareness to other things happening around you, and could cause you to not remember certain or specific details. For someone who has been in a car accident, witnessed a tragic accident, is part of a service department such as firefighters and EMS crews, or was abused as a child, the impact can be great. Experiencing such scarring events might feel as if they are watching the event take place to someone other than their self, like watching a movie, they might feel zoned out, or unusually calm, given the situation.
What is particularly of great importance is that peri-traumatic dissociation is a repression of traumatic memories or a pushing down of bad feelings or memories. With the memories and feelings being repressed, there is a greater likelihood of PTSD as the stress has not been managed or worked through in therapy. Additional problems such as substance abuse and depression can compound this problem as many people often begin to cope with unresolved trauma in unhealthy ways.
Seeking counseling, to begin to peel back the layers of hurt and painful experiences, is important and recommended if you have been through a traumatic experience.
If you feel that you have experienced stress or trauma in a way that continues to shape your day to day life in a negative way, please join me in working together to begin your process of healing.