Does all Trauma cause PTSD?
There’s a common misconception surrounding trauma that it inevitably leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is far from the truth, and I’m going to tell you why.
Contrary to this myth, trauma survivors do not always develop PTSD. Current research indicates that only a small fraction, approximately 6-8% of the population, will experience post-traumatic stress disorder. It's essential to distinguish between trauma as a psychological injury and a disorder, but that's a conversation for another time.
Trauma's impact varies from person to person, and most survivors will experience symptoms in the aftermath of the event. These symptoms may include flashbacks, heightened startle reflex, nightmares, restlessness, isolation, sadness, worry, mood changes, fear, fatigue, insomnia, and more. With the proper intervention and support, these symptoms typically subside over time.
Should these symptoms persist beyond six months, they may be classified as PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It's crucial to remember that trauma is the unique body experience of the individual in response to an event, and each person will respond differently to the same traumatic event.
The Two Versions of PTSD
The first occurs when PTSD results from a single traumatic event. On the other hand, Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) occurs when the trauma is chronic and prolonged. It's worth noting that C-PTSD is not currently recognized as a distinct condition from PTSD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). However, through years of observation and practice, I have noticed significant differences.
C-PTSD is characterized by symptoms, a negative self-view, and detachment from the traumatic environment. Recognizing this distinction can provide clarity to clients. Typically, C-PTSD is associated with experiences such as childhood trauma, domestic abuse, military combat, or living in a war-torn environment.
The good news is most trauma survivors will experience symptoms following the event that will dissipate within six months and will not develop PTSD or C-PTSD. With the right support and interventions, healing is not only possible but also likely.
I want to reassure you that you are not alone on this journey, and there is hope for recovery and growth beyond trauma. Your well-being is of utmost importance, and I am here to provide guidance and support.
Remember that resilience and healing are within your reach.
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