Friday, January 28, 2011

Resource page: Trauma

by Pete Walker
"Renowned traumatologist, John Briere, is said to have quipped that if Complex PTSD were ever given its due – that is, if the role of dysfunctional parenting in adult psychological disorders was ever fully recognized, the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used by all mental health professionals) would shrink to the size of a thin pamphlet. It currently resembles a large dictionary. In my experience, many clients with Complex PTSD have been misdiagnosed with various anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as bipolar, narcissistic, codependent and borderline disorders. Further confusion arises in the case of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), as well as obsessive/compulsive disorder, which is sometimes more accurately described  as an excessive, fixated flight response to trauma. This is also true of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and some dissociative disorders which are similarly excessive, fixated freeze responses to trauma."

by Tian Dayton, Ph.D.
"...Any creature that bonds grieves when it experiences separation—whether it be an elephant kicked out of the herd, a duck that has lost its mate or a mother who sends her child off to college. As humans, we are biologically designed to form kinship bonds through which we learn the lessons of love, caring and intimacy. When those bonds are broken, a piece of us breaks or is traumatized by that loss. Then we go through life hungry for what is missing. When we avoid the experience of grief, we lock ourselves up in the loss; we carry around an unhealed wound..."

Trauma: Get Over It
by Joseph Hart
"...Our cultural goal seems to be just the opposite: not to face trauma and heal it, but to avoid it altogether. Failing to grasp this element of renewal, we are increasingly ruled by fear and anxiety. Signs of this anxiety are everywhere: the requirement that we remove our shoes before boarding an airplane; hypervigilance over our children (padded playground equipment, metal detectors in schools); our overreliance on antidepressants. All these measures share one thing in common: They do virtually nothing to prevent us from experiencing trauma when things go wrong. Underneath this anxiety lies a fundamental confusion about the facts of life. We mistakenly think that happiness and personal growth depend on a lack of threat, that safety equals a healthy body and mind. What trauma teaches us is that the exact opposite is true..."

by Martin V. Cohen, Ph.D
 "Whether you have been a crime victim, involved in an accident or natural disaster, or were the victim of childhood abuse, the resulting trauma is similar. Pervasive fear and feelings of helplessness are natural reactions to events you probably had little or no control over. “I was totally traumatized,” and “I thought I was going to die,” are among the most often used phrases used to describe such occurrences. Unfortunately, trauma and the stress that follows, is on the rise at the turn of the new millennium in America. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the “aftershocks” of traumatic incidents..."

by Nancy Poitou
"...The symptoms in the aftermath of a trauma are sometimes so extreme that individuals often feel as though they are going crazy. Indeed the mood swings, anxiety, lack of sleep, inability to concentrate and think clearly, changes in appetite, flashbacks, nightmares and depression may feel crazy but are symptoms of psychological injury. Flashbacks and nightmares can be so extreme that it feels as though the traumatic event is recurring. Relationships and self confidence can suffer as a result..."

"Researchers such as Robert Sapolsky, at Stanford University, have shown that a young brain does its desperate best to cope with an environment of fear and threat. It restructures. It notches up the stress response. It keeps the body poised for flight. It floods the nervous system with angst. When the child grows up, the adult brain is beautifully designed to hover right on the edge of panic. Although there's a certain hyper-alertness in that, Sapolsky and his colleagues see no advantage. They see cost. Stress-related hormones and neurotransmitters put real wear and tear on the system and have been linked to destruction of brain cells and to memory loss."