Trauma is common in women in all social and economic backgrounds. A traumatic event is experienced at some point of life by 5 out of 10 women. Women tend to experience different traumas than men. Traumatic events and abuse can be in the form of physical abuse and violence, sexual abuse, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect, terrorism and war, witnessing violence against others, and accidents and natural disasters. After a traumatic life event nearly 8% can develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Although women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD symptoms that are chronic and severe but they are less likely to take mental health treatment. Trauma survivors may take years to seek help.
Effects of trauma
Common effects of trauma include flashbacks, hyperarousal, intrusive memories, avoidance of events or places linked to trauma, nightmares, memory disturbances, insomnia, somatic disturbances, fear, anxiety, anger, shame, aggression, suicidal behaviours, overwhelming guilt or shame, loss of trust, isolation and numbing. Women who have experienced traumatic life events may have troubled close relationships, alcohol/substance abuse problems.
Untreated PTSD symptoms affect not only psychological but also physical health causing headaches, sexual dysfunction and gastro intestinal problems.
Why healing is important
Modalities of treatment
Supportive Psychotherapy allows the client to talk about the traumatic event and associated distress.
CBT helps the client to identify negative thoughts, replace these with more positive thoughts and change their behavioural responses to reminders of trauma. You will also learn how to cope with feelings of anger, guilt and fear.
Exposure therapy helps the client to gradually confront the anxiety causing situations. The therapist helps you to desensitize overwhelming emotions and memories so that you can talk about them without feeling overwhelmed.
Relaxation techniques and breathing exercises help to calm down.
Medications mainly anti depressants are beneficial in treating the anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Life style changes and Brief Couples therapy further help to improve the life and relations.
Treatment for PTSD often lasts three to six months. In cases of PTSD with co morbid mental health problems treatment may last more than a year or longer.