Traumatic Experiences: Getting Caught and Unstuck


Traumatic occasions and different troublesome experiences can have long-lasting results on psychological well being and well-being. Whereas most individuals that suffer a trauma naturally get better over time, for others psychological well being difficulties proceed and will set off full-blown melancholy, post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), substance use issues, nervousness issues, and/or different issues that intrude with wholesome day by day functioning. People could develop into “caught” within the reminiscence of the trauma and will report feeling haunted by it. This sense of being trapped by the expertise leads many individuals to keep away from considering and speaking about it and to keep away from conditions, folks, or locations that remind them. This may have a disastrous impact on day by day life and psychological well being.

A few years of analysis (a lot of which has been carried out by the authors of this submit) have proven that individuals who attempt to keep away from reminiscences and reminders of adverse experiences have extra signs of PTSD and melancholy, and different issues over time. Psychological well being suppliers usually use the instance of the “pink elephant.” It could sound acquainted. The concept is that if I ask you to consider something besides a pink elephant, in fact, the one factor you may consider is a pink elephant. Troublesome reminiscences may be like that pink elephant—the extra you attempt to not take into consideration them, the extra usually and intensely they arrive to thoughts. Alternatively, those that work to method feelings and work by troublesome reminiscences—somewhat than avoiding or repressing them—progressively regain a normal sense of well-being and have a tendency to fare higher over time.

The saying “time heals all wounds” is barely partially true. For individuals who emotionally course of what occurred and progressively method and reengage in life, time does heal; however for many who keep away from, time usually compounds struggling, and issues worsen. Some folks flip to substances to assist them keep away from or dampen uncomfortable feelings, and substance use can develop into a slippery slope for some and result in different issues.

In case you are fascinated with extra in-depth data on the influence of trauma and PTSD and efficient therapies, our guide PTSD: What Everybody Must Know, offers a concise overview of what we learn about this frequent and impactful psychological well being challenge in an easy-to-read format. An individual doesn’t want a proper prognosis of PTSD to be severely troubled by a traumatic occasion. We now have a brand new workbook, Making That means of Troublesome Experiences, to assist folks transfer previous troubling occasions even when they don’t have PTSD.

Most of us will naturally get better after a worrying or traumatic expertise by speaking about it, fascinated by it, and perhaps crying about it. But when it will get caught and doesn’t appear to be getting higher, you will need to pay some consideration to emotionally processing it somewhat than avoiding it.

Copyright Barbara O. Rothbaum, Ph.D. & Sheila A.M. Rauch, Ph.D.



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