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  • Causes for Trauma and PTSD

    Most of us won’t get through life without our own fair share of stress and heartache. But some people experience not just stress, sadness or grief, but events that the body experiences as traumatic. The first thing that many people think of in relation to trauma and PTSD are events like being involved in a bad car accident, rape, a natural disaster, war, and other extreme experiences. However, sometimes events that lead to trauma and PTSD symptoms are much more subtle. In this blog we will explore causes of trauma and PTSD.

    Examples of what may cause trauma and PTSD include but are certainly not limited to:

    • A bad breakup with a lover and/or a friend
    • A minor car accident in which no-one was seriously hurt
    • Parents’ separation or divorce
    • Being yelled at by a stranger
    • Being bullied at school
    • Unwanted sexual gestures and advancements by another person
    • Moving to a new place and making a new start
    • Workplace conflict
    • Feel free to fill in more examples: ___________________________

    The result of experiencing traumatic events can lead to what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition where the mind is unable to process the event as it processes ordinary life events. The result is a brain that misfires information, causing the person to live much of their life distressed, as if the event were still happening to them today, even though the event may have happened months, years, or even decades ago.

    Symptoms of PTSD

    There are many symptoms associated with PTSD, but the most common ones are:

    • Negative beliefs about oneself and the world
    • Nightmares
    • Loss of interests
    • Flashbacks
    • Exaggerated startle response
    • Psychological and physiological distress when triggered
    • Avoidance of internal and external needs
    • Dissociative amnesia
    • Distorted blaming of oneself
    • Negative persistent emotional states
    • Detachment from loved ones
    • Hyper vigilance
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Irritability or outbursts of anger
    • Self-destructive or reckless behaviour

    Causes of Trauma and PTSD

    Researchers are not altogether clear on why some people experience PTSD and others don’t. What makes one soldier come home from war with PTSD and another one not develop the disorder?

    The best we can guess is that development of PTSD is likely from a combination of complex factors such as neurological wiring, genetics, stress, life experiences, and personality. It is also worth mentioning that pre-traumatic psychological factors (low self-esteem, for example) may increase the risk factor for developing PTSD.

    How Can Trauma be Treated?

    Some of the more common forms of treatment for PTSD are Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). These kinds of therapies involves meeting with a specially-trained therapist over a number of sessions to learn strategies and techniques that will reduce and/or eliminate symptoms of PTSD such as recurring thoughts, emotional numbness, sleep issues, nightmares, concentration problems, etc. Beyond finding a trained therapist in Winnipeg, it’s important to find one you and your family feel comfortable with, so make sure to interview a few counsellors to see who might help you on your journey back to health, wellness, and happiness.

    If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. We would be more than happy to see how we may be able to help.

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