Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma: An emotional reaction that occurs after an individual has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a death or serious injury, sexual assault, motor vehicle accident or natural disaster. Individuals who experience a traumatic event often experience intense fear, feel a sense of helplessness and a feeling of being trapped or losing control.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Following a traumatic event, some individuals begin to re-live the experience and start to avoid the situation which caused the initial stress. PTSD symptoms can present themselves as early as three months after the traumatic experience or even months or years afterwards, and generally has three categories of symptoms:
1) Re-experiencing the traumatic event
2) Avoidance of thinking about the traumatic event or objects/situations which may remind them of the event
3) Symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, emotional numbness, feelings of guilt, loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed, or difficulty concentrating
Treatment for Trauma and PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may be treated by medication, psychotherapy or a combination of these two approaches. If you think you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of PTSD, speaking to your family doctor is a good place to start. The most common psychotherapeutic treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). For children, sandplay or play therapy may also used.
Canadian Mental Health Association:
Canadian Psychological Association:
American Psychological Association:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/health_information/a_z_mental_health_and_addiction_information/Trama/Pages/