No matter how resilient to life’s ups and downs we believe we are, everyone has limits to the level of emotional trauma they can absorb and process. Experiencing a traumatic event can have lasting psychological effects that have the potential to radically impair one’s daily functioning. Although we might tell ourselves to just “shake it off,” the deep effects to our psyche can override that intent and leave us in a psychologically compromised state.
Recovering from mental trauma takes time, patience, and often requires professional help from a mental health professional. Thankfully, there are a number of effective therapies available to treat trauma disorders, some traditional, some adjunctive, and some alternative. Having a variety of treatment options, or a combination of them, available can help the individual struggling with the aftermath of trauma restore emotional balance and improve daily functioning.
What is Trauma Disorder?
Each individual person has their own unique genetic and personality traits that can determine how effectively he or she can manage intensely traumatic events. Some people recover from trauma in a matter of weeks, where others may suffer the effects of the event for months or even years. For those who cannot move beyond the trauma, the symptoms may intensify, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition.
A traumatic event is usually a shocking experience that causes psychological suffering. Examples of trauma include:
- Sudden death of a close loved one
- Sexual or physical abuse or assault
- Violent events, such as combat experience, criminal assaults, or terrorism
- A serious car accident
- Natural disasters
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, major surgery
- Personal events, such as divorce
Signs and Symptoms of Mental Trauma
Trauma can manifest in several different types of symptoms, including behavioral, psychological, and physical. Recovering from mental trauma will involve therapies that will assist the individual in restoring equilibrium across this spectrum of symptoms.
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Substance abuse
- Compulsive behaviors
- Angry outbursts
- Hyper-arousal, over-react to triggers, jumpy
- Avoiding people, places, or situations that trigger memories of event
- Mental confusion
- Memory loss
- Nightmares, flashbacks
- Feelings of helplessness
- Emotional detachment
- Excessive fear
- Emotional numbness
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Sexual dysfunction
- Vague aches and pains
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Extreme fatigue
Therapies that Assist Individuals Recovering From Mental Trauma
Treatment for individuals recovering from mental trauma comes in many forms. Traditional therapy, usually cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often a core treatment element for trauma patients. CBT can help individuals identify distorted thoughts that lead to the behaviors that keep them stuck in the traumatized mode, and reframe the negative thoughts. CBT can incorporate tools, such as deep breathing exercises to reduce stress, or role playing where the therapist guides the patient through confronting the traumatic event and demonstrates coping skills.
In addition to the traditional treatment approach, adjunctive therapies such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and prolonged exposure therapy can compliment the CBT by assisting the patient to diminish the impact of the memories associated with the event. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has also been found to be helpful in individuals struggling with trauma, PTSD, and depression.
TMS Therapy as an Adjunctive Therapy
TMS uses electromagnetic energy created by equipment similar to an MRI. This safe, noninvasive therapy is used to modulate brain chemistry that may be responsible for the symptoms of mental health disorders, rebalancing the neurotransmitters and providing relief from symptoms.
TMS therapy involves a sequence of 40-minute sessions five days per week over a 4-6 week period. During a TMS session, the patient is comfortably seated while fully alert. A coil is positioned over the region of the brain that therapy will target for the specific diagnosis. The magnetic pulses are delivered through the coil and the scalp, penetrating the brain tissue up to 2 cm in depth. The electrical currents that are induced then jump-start, or stimulate, the underactive neurons, eventually rebalancing brain chemistry.
TMS therapy is FDA cleared, safe and effective, and well tolerated by patients. There are minimal adverse effects or risks, as the therapy requires no sedation. Patients begin to feel improvement in symptoms after about two weeks of therapy, with continued improvement as the treatment period progresses.
Anew Era TMS Provides TMS Therapy in Orange County, California
Anew Era TMS is a leader in the field of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), helping hundreds of individuals recover from mental health disorders, including major depressive disorder and co-occurring trauma disorder. Adding TMS therapy can augment the effectiveness of traditional therapies such as CBT. For more information about how TMS can assist you with your trauma disorder, please contact Anew Era TMS today at (888) 503-1549.