Trauma & PTSD

Trauma & PTSD

My training and clinical experience has also focused on the evaluation and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults who are experiencing psychological distress resulting from a traumatic event,  serious injury, or chronic illness. Patients coping with medical treatment often simultaneously experience symptoms of emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and trauma. These issues can arise from the experience of a disabling condition or from unpleasant medical treatment. In addition, patients may experience distress from a traumatic event in which a serious injury occurs or is feared.

Medical Trauma

My work has included adults and children who are coping with a disabling injury, victims of violent assault, families coping with a loved one’s cancer diagnosis, parents of children diagnosed with serious medical conditions, and parents of children diagnosed with autism. I worked for 10 years at Kaiser and in private practice treating patients who were suffering psychological trauma associated with serious illnesses and medical treatment.

PTSD

Individuals can have a range of responses to serious assaults, accidents, and illnesses. I treat different levels of distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with EMDR, in addition to talk therapy. PTSD is a debilitating condition that frequently follows an event in which an individual experiences actual or threatened death or serious injury. It can cause persistent, frightening thoughts and intrusive memories of the traumatic event. People with PTSD experience severe anxiety, and an emotionally numbing response. In children there is often disorganization and agitation.

PTSD in children

Symptoms of PTSD in children and adolescents may include the following, but vary among individuals. These symptoms are indicative of PTSD when they reflect a change from the individual’s prior functioning, behavior, or emotional experience:

  • difficulty sleeping
  • sad or depressed mood
  • feeling jittery or on guard
  • being easily startled
  • loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • feelings of detachment, numbness, and lack of responsiveness
  • periods of blanking out, staring off while awake
  • discomfort with physical affection
  • irritability
  • increase in aggressive behavior
  • avoiding certain places or situations that bring back memories
  • flashbacks or intrusive images
  • losing touch with reality
  • reenactment of an event for a period of seconds or hours or, very rarely, days
  • difficulty concentrating
  • increased thoughts about and fear of dying
  • regressive behaviors (baby talk, thumb sucking, bedwetting)
  • increased complaints of physical discomfort often with the bodily location changing frequently (headaches, stomach aches)

If you or your child has experienced a traumatic event, and you are noticing any of the above signs of distress or trauma, please contact me or seek other professional help as soon as possible.

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