How a psychiatrist can help you cope with a trauma

One of the biggest challenges of treating a psychological trauma is the stigma that is associated with it and treating mental illness in general. Some people unfortunately and falsely view a post-truamatic stress disorder diagnosis as a sign that they are weak, “nuts”, or have some character flaw.

Some people who go through a traumatic event or any highly stressful circumstance minimize the gravity of the event or the impact it has on them. For some people, they do not want to think of themselves as being weak for being traumatized by the event. Other people may not want to deal with the pain of the memories or emotions of the event. However, if you have experienced a trauma, then it is completely normal to experience stress or effects of the trauma, even years after it occurred. People who have experienced a trauma literally have their brain and biology altered. For example, people who have experienced a trauma are more likely to be on guard, remain hypervigilant, and have their sympathetic nervous system enacted, even when a threat is not present. Other people who have more intense symptoms may even feel like the event is actually happening again to them when they see or hear a reminder of the event. These are all common or normal symptoms of PTSD or experiencing a trauma. Other symptoms of PTSD include intrusive memories, thoughts or nightmares about the event, avoiding thoughts, memories or external reminders of the event, negative emotions or thoughts, and hypervigilance, or feeling like you are on guard or easily startled even when a threat is not present. Additionally, what happens is that the memory of the trauma and emotional pain associated with that trauma often remain stored in your subconscious mind.

If you have gone through a trauma, it can be helpful to acknowledge it and respect what you have gone through. It is completely normal to feel a little more on edge or anxious than most people when something reminds you of it. When this happens, it is best to practice self-compassion and extreme self-care when feeling or experiencing the symptoms of a trauma. Simply accepting that it is normal for you to feel higher levels of stress or anxiety or hypervigilance can help you better accept and manage these difficult emotions and painful memories. Additionally, a psychiatrist can help you process and work through the pain, emotions, memories, and thoughts related to the trauma. For more information on finding the right psychiatrist, click here. Talking about it with someone who cares can also help you release some of the pain that may still be there for you and decrease the intensity of the other symptoms.