Many people will experience some kind of traumatic event in their lives and most will exhibit some kind of stress-related behavior as a result of it. These symptoms usually fade, but for some, those reactions can linger and disrupt their lives or the lives of those around them. These reactions can develop into full-blown psychological disorders including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
There are many different healthy ways to cope with mental health issues, some of which include:
- Seeking support from friends and family
- Relaxation activities such as meditation
Sometimes, these coping mechanisms are not enough, resulting in people turning to substances such as drugs and alcohol to escape their mental health struggles. These particular coping mechanisms can result in substance dependency, which can cause someone to spiral further out of control. Healthy coping mechanisms are crucial to maintaining good mental health. If a person feels that healthy coping mechanisms are not enough, Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART) may be a good option. ART is a type of therapy that uses bilateral eye stimulation and memory reconsolidation to reprogram traumatic memories. ART has been found effective in helping a wide variety of mental health problems such as trauma and PTSD.
Trauma is defined as an emotional, psychological response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. Car crashes, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, war, and violence are all examples of traumatic events.
The symptoms and responses to trauma include:
- Emotions such as shock, denial, guilt, or self-blame
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Physical symptoms like unexplained aches and pains, nausea, extreme tiredness, and/or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in mood such as irritability, tension, anxiety, negativity, gloom, and disinterest
- Recurring memories
Whether someone witnesses or is personally involved in a traumatic event, there are a set of possible responses they may experience. People experiencing trauma may experience just one of the symptoms, or they may experience all of them. It is important to remember that everyone is different, and the number of symptoms a person experiences does not determine their strength or weakness.
Many of the above symptoms are a completely normal part of the recovery process after experiencing a trauma. However, these feelings can sometimes continue without any signs of resolve. When trauma begins to interfere with one’s ability to function, it could potentially lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is defined as a psychological disorder generated by either witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. There are four (4) main categories of PTSD symptoms:
- Avoiding situations associated with the event. Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event; avoiding people, places, and activities that remind the person of the traumatic event.
- Excessive physiological arousal. Being easily startled or frightened; self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast; trouble sleeping and concentrating; irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior; overwhelming guilt or shame.
- Reliving the event. Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event; reliving the traumatic event (flashbacks); upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event; severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds a person of the event.
- Negative changes in emotions and beliefs. Being easily startled or frightened; self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast; trouble sleeping and concentrating; irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior; overwhelming guilt or shame.
Some people believe there may be genetic predispositions making some people more vulnerable to PTSD than others. It is also known that context and environment can have an impact on a person’s vulnerability to PTSD. For example, someone who has experienced childhood abuse might feel on one hand more ready to deal with difficult and traumatic experiences, but on the other hand, they might be more likely to default to the suppression and avoidance in which people with PTSD frequently engage in. In other words, they may already be dealing with PTSD.
Importance of Early and Treatment and Intervention
Fortunately, there is hope for people who are suffering from poor mental health. There are treatments available such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART) to help a person regain control over their life.
Intervene as soon as possible on behalf of someone suffering from any mental health problem. Uncharacteristic behaviors may become increasingly destructive. Over time, buried and suppressed memories become more and more powerful.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. Generally, only one to five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychiatric treatment.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the traumatic memories that are preventing one from enjoying the full life they deserve. The therapy works equally as well on anyone suffering from trauma, regardless of the type of trauma experienced.
Regardless of how bad things may be, there is hope and there is always someone available to help a person through difficult times. Contact ART International to learn more about the therapy or find a therapist near you.
ART International Training and Research Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to Accelerated Resolution Therapy® for individuals suffering from trauma and other mental health diagnosis through innovative research and clinician training and education.