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This can start weeks or months after the traumatic event, but may take years to be recognised.
Trauma affects a child's development - the earlier the trauma, the more harm it does. Some children cope by being defensive or aggressive. Others cut themselves off from what is going on around them, and grow up with a sense of shame and guilt rather than feeling confident and good about themselves.
Adults who have been abused or tortured over a period of time develop a similar sense of separation from others, and a lack of trust in the world and other people.
As well as many of the symptoms of PTSD described above, you may find that you:
It is worse if:
- feel shame and guilt
- have a sense of numbness, a lack of feelings in your body
- can't enjoy anything
- control your emotions by using street drugs, alcohol, or by harming yourself
- cut yourself off from what is going on around you (dissociation)
- have physical symptoms caused by your distress
- find that you can't put your emotions into words
- want to kill yourself
- take risks and do things on the 'spur of the moment'.
- it happens at an early age – the earlier the age, the worse the trauma
- it is caused by a parent or other care giver
- the trauma is severe
- the trauma goes on for a long time
- you are isolated
- you are still in touch with the abuser and/or threats to your safety.
Try to start doing the normal things of life that have nothing to do with your past experiences of trauma. This could include finding friends, getting a job, doing regular exercise, learning relaxation techniques, developing a hobby or having pets. This helps you slowly to trust the world around you.
Lack of trust in other people – and the world in general – is central to complex PTSD. Treatment often needs to be longer to allow you to develop a secure relationship with a therapist – to experience that it is possible to trust someone in this world without being hurt or abused. The work will often happen in 3 stages:
- learn how to understand and control your distress and emotional cutting-off, or 'dissociation'. This can involve 'grounding' techniques to help you to stay in the present – concentrating on ordinary physical feelings to remind you that you are living in the present, not the abusive and traumatic past.
- start to 'disconnect' your physical symptoms of fear and anxiety from the memories and emotions that produce them, making them less frightening.
- start to be able to tolerate day-to-day life without experiencing anxiety or flashbacks.
This may sometimes be the only help that is needed.
EMDR or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
can help you to remember your traumatic experiences with less distress and more control. Other psychotherapies, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, can also be helpful. Care needs to be taken in complex PTSD because these treatments can make the situation worse if not used properly.
You begin to develop a new life for yourself. You become able to use your skills or learn new ones, and to make satisfying relationships in the real world.
Medication can be used if you feel too distressed or unsafe, or if psychotherapy is not possible. It can include both antidepressants and antipsychotic medication – but not usually tranquillisers or sleeping tablets.
this is site Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)