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Trauma and PTSD

Have you been diagnosed with PTSD? Do you suspect that traumatic experiences in your past are fueling challenges in your present? Some people turn to compulsive sexual activities as a reaction to trauma. EMDR is an evidence-based approach for treating trauma that can address the fuel that drives addictive behaviors, including sex addiction. 

Key Points

View of a person sitting at the end of a long dock jutting out into a body of water surrounded by mountains, illustrating the concept that by by defusing traumatic experiences that underly emotional challenges, you can gain sustained healing from anxiety, depression, pornography addiction, sex addiction, and other challenges.

By defusing traumatic experiences that underly emotional challenges, you can gain sustained healing from anxiety, depression, pornography addiction, sex addiction, and other challenges. 

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Past trauma affects your present

Emotional health challenges, including sex addiction, can often be attributed to trauma. These challenges can include compulsive watching of pornography, sex addiction, depression, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, or an inability to sustain healthy relationships. Trauma can interfere with your job success, education, and family.

Because it can be hard to connect the dots between current challenges and past events, many of us struggle without understanding what is wrong or how to resolve our difficulties.

Trauma does not have a single shape

Trauma can result from neglect or abuse in childhood, experiencing a violent assault, a vehicle accident, or even a natural disaster. Trauma can be a one-time event or you may have experienced multiple events over a period of time. Trauma can even result from what may seem like “minor” or “mild” offenses, such as verbal mistreatment by primary caregivers in childhood.

In therapy, we will consider trauma in the context of your life and your experience.

Trauma and PTSD

Exposure to assault, abuse, or other traumatic events, can result in PTSD, but the traumatic event itself is not PTSD. PTSD describes a long-term condition characterized by significant distress, impairment, flashbacks, and re-experiencing the traumatic event or events.

Recognize the symptoms of trauma

  • Diminished ability to function in everyday life
    You instinctively switch to survival mode when threatened. If the danger is repeated or sustained over time, your brain can have difficulty getting out of a heightened state of alert, making it difficult to function in your job or your family. 
  • Mental health challenges
    Trauma is strongly associated with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, phobias, addictive behaviors, and ADHD.
  • Trauma promotes unhealthy behaviors
    Research has found a strong association between exposure to traumatic events and dysfunctional or uncontrolled behaviors later in life. “Dysfunctional avoidance” refers to engaging in addictive behaviors in order to avoid having to deal with discomforting experiences. A diminished capacity to self-regulate makes recovery more difficult.

What causes problematic behaviors in response to trauma?

Each of us is affected differently by trauma. The chances of developing  PTSD or other problematic responses to trauma may be impacted by:

  • Heredity.
  • Environment, including your current stressors.
  • Repeated exposure (more traumatic events and more intense or sustained events).
  • The degree to which you feel helpless during the traumatic events.

Treatment for trauma

Unresolved trauma may well power your struggles. Working to heal your trauma can resolve the source of your difficulty. Fortunately, effective treatments for trauma are available. Trauma-aware therapy might include:

  • Trauma-informed CBT.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
  • Exposure therapy.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) .
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness or other approaches.
  • EMDR.

If you are experiencing difficulties in your life due to trauma, please reach out today and take the first step in your healing journey.