Healing from Emotional Trauma
It’s almost impossible these days to read a newspaper or tune into a news broadcast
without hearing about someone who has experienced some sort of emotional trauma.
Often referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the news item will relate
how the person may have been accosted on the street or threatened in their homes.
They may have met with and survived any kind of violence, physical or emotional abuse. Or they might have witnessed a tragic accident or incident, any of which has left them emotionally traumatized.
What you don’t hear much about is what happens to those individuals later. You
also don’t hear about the hundreds of people whose emotional traumas don’t make
headlines. Those who lived through a natural disaster, experienced a hazardous
accident, serious financial difficulties, or are living in situations where ongoing threats to
their well-being and survival are present. Recent research has revealed that emotional
trauma can result from such common occurrences as an auto accident, the breakup
of a significant relationship, a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience, the
discovery of a life-threatening illness or disabling condition, or other similar situations.
Traumatizing events can take a serious emotional and physical toll on those involved,
even if the event did not cause physical damage.
If left un-treated, a traumatic experience can overwhelm one’s capacity to cope with
what would be a “normal” situation, causing their nervous system to be thrown off
balance. If this trauma-induced imbalance is not resolved, it lingers. This is what
accounts for the ongoing emotional after-effects of trauma, such as anxiety and
depression, panic attacks and fearfulness, sleep disturbances and relationship problems. Some individuals experience a sense of despair and hopelessness, guilt feelings, grief reactions and avoidance of situations that resemble the initial event. Their sense of security is shattered and they feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.
The emotional problems experienced from traumatic events are also immensely harmful
to physical health. Common symptoms include a racing heart, headaches, chronic
unexplained pain, hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, sleep difficulties,
increased stress, eating disturbances, low energy and sexual dysfunction.
It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone, but the
individual’s experience of the event. And it is not predictable how a given person will
react to a particular event. For someone who is used to being in control of emotions and
the environment around them, it may be surprising – even embarrassing – to discover
that something like an accident or job loss can be so debilitating
It can be very difficult to cope with emotional trauma and its resulting symptoms on
your own. Sometimes the emotional and physical responses are delayed for months or
even years after the event. Often people do not even initially associate their symptoms
with the precipitating trauma. People can be tempted to begin self-medicating with
alcohol, illicit or unprescribed drugs. They may gradually increase the variety and frequency of prescribed medication to try to cope with the stress or anxiety an event has caused.
A healthier way to get back on track is to connect with others regularly and avoid
isolation. Reaching out for support from loved ones or other caring community
members, while often difficult at first, will help you find ways to bring back a balanced
state of well-being. Also, seek out the professional opinions and assistance of
someone trained in the field. Treatments may focus on education, stress management
techniques, the release of body memories and help to work through the emotions you
may hold that are causing physical as well as mental pain. It is important to note that
your willingness and desire to feel better can be your most powerful ally on the road to
Experiencing a psychological trauma clearly has major problems, but the process of
healing that trauma can open you up to deep transformation and personal growth. As
your trauma heals, it’s not uncommon to experience a deeper sense of compassion,
empathy and intimacy in your relationships. You may also experience a greater sense of wisdom, acceptance, and appreciation for life. Healing emotional trauma is especially
powerful because it impacts all aspects of your personhood – physical, emotional,
cognitive, behavioral, relationships, and spirituality.
Chopra Addiction and Wellness center offers a path to restore, or even find, the balance and wholeness that people who are suffering from emotional trauma need in order to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Professional psychotherapists help residents on their journey to wellness by providing skilled, compassionate, confidential one-on-one and group sessions. Therapeutic massage therapy, meditation and gentle movement or non-impact exercise at yoga sessions help the body release the physical pain that stress has caused. A set sleep schedule and mental rest, along with the chef’s appetizing vegetarian cuisine support your system while it is trying to heal.
The goal of Paradise Valley Healing Center is to provide individuals from all walks of life with a unique opportunity to heal and move beyond struggle and pain to experience joy. Learn more about the programs we offer.