Do I Have PTSD/Trauma?
What is Trauma?
Trauma can result from being unavoidably exposed to an event that is potentially life threatening to our self or to others and in which we feel overwhelmed, frightened and helpless. Each person reacts to a traumatic event in an individual manner due to a combination of factors present, before, during and after. The level of social support a person receives after a traumatic experience can be an important protective factor.
Examples of traumatic events:
- Childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse
- Childhood neglect and abandonment
- Vehicle accidents such as cars, boats, airplane and train crashes
- Military combat
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Witnessing violence
- Serious illness
- Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, etc.
Symptoms of Trauma
Symptoms of trauma may include any of the following:
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact a health professional. Trauma cannot be healed by yourself. It is only through connections with others that you can heal. Look for a therapist who helps create a therapeutic relationship that feels safe for you, a person whom you can trust to share your inner thoughts and feelings. With treatment, recovery from the pain of trauma is possible.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological disorder listed in the manual of North American psychiatry called the DSM-IV-TR. To meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis a person must be experiencing a number of symptoms for a specific period of time after being exposed to a traumatic event.
The manual states that a person must have experienced, witnessed or been confronted with a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. During this event the person experiences intense fear, helplessness or horror.
After the traumatic event, and for a certain period of time, the individual experiences a variety of symptoms that significantly interfere with the normal life functioning.
The manual lists these symptoms in three categories:
- Re-experiencing Symptoms such as flashbacks.
- Avoidance Symptoms such as efforts to avoid people, places and things that remind you of the trauma.
- Hyper-arousal Symptoms such as irritability or flare-ups of anger/rage.
A diagnosis for PTSD can only be made by a psychologist or medical doctor and commonly involves more than one method of assessment.
Bellwood’s PTSD/ Trauma and Addiction Treatment Program
Bellwood offers a residential treatment program for the concurrent treatment of PTSD/Trauma and substance abuse. This is a specialized program open to persons employed in hazardous occupations such as members of the Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs, RCMP, police, firefighters, and paramedics. If you would like more information about this comprehensive program please click here.