Trauma

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Stressful events, such as abuse, terrorism, police brutality, domestic violence, witnessing violence, accidents and natural disasters, can have a profound impact on survivors and their families. Even when the traumatic experience is not overt or sudden, being victimized by exploitation, injustice or oppression can also have a profound impact on thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Some common symptoms of distress caused by stress or trauma include:

  • Nightmares or intrusive thoughts about what happened
  • Going out of the way to avoid anything that brings what happened to mind
  • Jumpiness or exaggerated startle response
  • Feeling numb or detached from loved ones, activities or surroundings
  • Inability to stop blaming oneself for what happened

Stress, Trauma and Coping

Trauma can result from a one-time event (acute) or from ongoing circumstances (chronic), such as an abusive relationship. The type and severity of symptoms helps clinicians understand how patients are processing the traumatic event. Mental illnesses that can result from stress and trauma in adults, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth Edition, include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Symptoms persist for longer than one month
  • Acute stress disorder: Symptoms occur between three days and one month after trauma
  • Adjustment disorder: Symptoms begin with three months of trauma, are disproportionate to what actually occurred and cause significant impairment of function

In addition, the response to trauma may give rise to another co-occurring disorder, such as panic disorder or dissociative disorder. In any case, professional evaluation by a trauma specialist can help sort out the underlying causes of troubling behavioral symptoms.

Risk And Protective Factors  

Everyone processes stress and trauma differently, based on different factors such as inherited traits, environment and circumstances. Protective factors help shield people from the negative effects of traumatic experiences and help promote resilience. Risk factors increase the chance of having negative effects from trauma. For example, strong family support is a protective factor, whereas social isolation is a risk factor.

PTSD is the most common mental illness that can result from either acute or chronic trauma. In women, symptoms of PTSD include depression, anxiety, jumpiness, emotional numbness and avoidance of things that remind them of the trauma. Part of PTSD trauma treatment focuses on strengthening protective factors and reducing risk factors.

Self-medicating Trauma Symptoms

People experiencing painful thoughts and feelings want to feel better as quickly as possible. Very often people “self-medicate” using drugs or alcohol because of the temporary relief these substances provide. However, masking trauma symptoms prevents the brain from processing the experience in a healthy way and can lead to addiction.

Drug and alcohol addiction dramatically increases women’s vulnerability to even more trauma and loss. Trauma and addiction treatment can help break the cycle. Comprehensive assessment and integrated treatment help promote full and lasting recovery.

Women And Trauma

Women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of trauma. Women with PTSD have more severe symptoms, longer durations of illness and lower quality of life than men. While studies have shown that women respond better to treatment for trauma and PTSD than men, many women delay or never receive treatment. Psychotherapy and medication can help women deal with trauma, but treatment must also address all underlying and co-occurring disorders.

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Trauma Treatment at Sovereign Health

Our trauma and recovery program for women in Chandler, Arizona, specializes in trauma treatment and co-occurring disorders, such as addiction. We consider early and thorough treatment an investment in the future. Therefore, we aim to maximize the health of our patients during treatment and across the lifespan.

At Sovereign Health’s trauma treatment centers, our multidisciplinary teams of experts provide comprehensive evaluations and integrated treatment for women who have survived trauma. Our individualized care plans are designed to meet patients’ needs and goals and result in long-term recovery.

Our compassionate treatment teams use many holistic and evidence-based treatment modalities for women recovering from trauma. Some of these include:

  • Individual, group and family psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Prolonged exposure therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Process groups
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Educational classes
  • Experiential therapy (equine, yoga, expressive arts)
  • Lifestyle management
  • Family-centered care
  • Addiction recovery

At Sovereign Health of Arizona, our trauma and stress recovery center offers different levels of care, ranging from residential treatment to outpatient programs. Unlike other trauma rehabilitation centers, our trauma treatment programs are specially designed for women only and individualized for each patient. We accept most major health insurance plans. For more information about trauma and recovery for women in Chandler, Arizona, or about any of our trauma treatment centers at Sovereign Health, please call our 24/7 helpline.

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