Today, we're going to talk about treating trauma by breaking through dissociation that is so common with traumatic events.
Wellness Institute Blog
When grief complicates and becomes pathological by virtue of its duration, intensity, or by bizarre or somatic manifestation, the psychiatric diagnosis of Complicated Bereavement or chronic grief is in order. This prolonged grief may occur due to the loss of a loved one when the nature of death is traumatic or unexpected and sudden. In children, the results of this type of traumatization include sleeping problems such as difficulties in going to sleep and nightmares or night terrors. Hypnotherapy has been shown to be successful in helping children to overcome their sleeping problem in a 2002 study of children ranging in age from 8-12 yrs.
Most people experience shock at one time or another in their life. And a great majority of people are in shock, in one form or another, on a daily basis.
Shock may begin early in life and then build up as life’s stresses increase, or it may result from a sudden traumatic event.
Stress is a normal part of our lives and, of course, most people feel stress on a daily basis. Stress is exacerbated when it becomes increasingly intense, and then something tragic, threatening, or overwhelming happens. For example, someone in your family or perhaps you, yourself, get diagnosed with an illness, dies, loses a job, has an accident or a million other situations which become “the last straw” so to speak.
Then you move into panic mode, your heart and thoughts are racing, you are frantically searching for solutions, you perhaps begin using more alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or sleeping pills to cope. You notice that you are gaining weight, unable to sleep and feeling intense anxiety.
In the previous blog we discussed shock and secondary traumatic stress as it relates to first responders. We introduced the concept of shock as a primary physiological symptom of traumatic stress, and how many of us “self-medicate” our chronic stress with food and drink, as well as caffeine, drugs, and other substances and behaviors.
In this follow up installment, we want to focus on the solutions to the problems we identified. A relatively new concept is beginning to be researched: vicarious resilience, the positive side of close proximity to individuals who have been traumatized. While it is true that first responders are inundated with images and stories of terrible traumas, they also get to share in the heroic recoveries and triumph of the human spirit of those they work with to rescue, protect, or heal. And bearing witness to the enormous resilience of these survivors can be a source of inspiration and fulfillment to the trauma practitioner. In other words, first responders can be vicariously affected in positive ways.
We have read thousands of articles, studies and theories about the growing obesity problem in our country and many of them have some validity. But the one newly identified physiological cause is shock.
Shock is the physiological response to trauma in our lives
More and more Americans are realizing that, yes indeed, we do have trauma and it is time to address it. And there is a growing category of previously unacknowledged people who have daily and insidious trauma: all the first responders in our culture such as critical incident responders, therapists, medical personnel such as doctors and nurses, fire and police men and women, ambulance drivers, crisis workers, psychologists, social workers, combat veterans and now we need to include journalists who travel the world to bring back news of war and other threatening situations. There are literally millions of workers who experience vicarious trauma, or secondary trauma, everyday which goes completely unnoticed and therefore untreated.
People who are affected by shock in their lives often have survived traumas of various types. Many of the traumas we refer to in our case examples in our book Overcoming Shock: Healing the Traumatized Mind and Heart (New Horizon Press, 2014) are early childhood traumas, including parental rejection, sexual or physical abuse, being unwelcome or unaccepted by the family and a multitude of situations experienced in dysfunctional families. But there are many traumas that people face and endure on a daily basis which also result in shock. In the book we examine the shock response to shootings at schools, serious accidents, victims of crime, victims of sexual assault, first responders, combat veterans, traumatic loss of a loved one and natural disasters.