A traumatic event can be defined as an event which is extremely shocking to the point of being overwhelming.  It can be a violent physical event or a threat of loss of life or catastrophic injury.  It can be a non-physical event such as extreme verbal or psychological assault or abuse.  Examples of traumatic events are natural disasters, accidents and “near misses,” child or domestic abuse, or sexual or physical assault.  The trauma can be experienced as either a victim or as a witness to such an event. The term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, was created at about the time of the Vietnam War.  The term PTSD is now used to describe the bad effects of any traumatic event, and not just the effects of war. Everyone reacts differently to traumatic events.  Some people develop only mild reactions to trauma which are not disruptive.  Others experience ongoing symptoms which interfere with their daily lives.  It is important to realize that traumatic events can involuntarily affect the way that the brain works at the chemical level and that symptoms of PTSD are not the sign of personal weakness. Here are some common symptoms of reaction to overwhelming traumatic events: •  Reliving the event through daytime fantasies, nightmares and flashbacks •  Feeling shock, numb and unable to experience joy or closeness in relationships •  Being constantly on guard, alert & jumpy, startling easily •  Trouble concentrating, unable to make decisions •  Super avoidance of people places or things that remind one of the event •  Reaction to severe trauma may be combined with symptoms of anxiety or depression •  Excessive use of smoking, alcohol, food or drugs •  Trouble with eating, sleeping, headaches, upset stomach or other digestive problems •  Trouble with controlling anger, agitation or irritability •  Not taking care of one’s self through proper diet, exercise and regular medical care •  Taking excessive risks through poor impulse control, reckless driving or unsafe sex •  Suicidal thoughts or actions Suzanne Corcoran has had extensive success in treating individuals suffering from trauma/PTSD in her practice in Rockville, Maryland, sometimes in just a few sessions.  She often uses EMDR techniques in her treatment approach.  Please contact her at her office in Rockville, Maryland so that she can recommend just the right treatment techniques for you.
Suzanne Corcoran, LCSW-C, Counseling for Couples and Individuals in Rockville, Maryland