Steven J. Hanley Ph.D.

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bipolar2Trauma, Stress, and PTSD

Life can be full of stressful and traumatic experiences. Trauma can be sudden (e.g., car accident, loss of job, rape, terrorism, or death of a spouse) or chronic and repetitive (e.g., parental neglect, poverty, torture, and imprisonment). It can range from mild to terrifying. The impact of stress and trauma on mental health varies greatly from person to person. Here are a few trauma and stress related conditions to be aware of.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very serious condition that affects about 7% of all individuals in the U.S. at some point during their lives. Some symptoms you might experience with this condition are:

  • Recurrent, intrusive, and distressing memories of the traumatic event(s)
  • Recurrent dreams (i.e., nightmares) about the details or feelings of the trauma
  • “Flashbacks” or the feeling that the traumatic event is happening again
  • Avoidance of people, places, or things that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty remembering certain details around the time of the trauma event
  • Difficulty feeling positive emotions like love, happiness, or gratitude
  • Feelings of detachment from others, loneliness, sadness, or guilt
  • Difficulties falling or staying asleep
  • Problems with focus, concentration, or attention
  • Feeling “jumpy” or being easily startled

Another condition related to PTSD is Acute Stress Disorder. Acute Stress Disorder includes most of the same symptoms as PTSD. The onset of this condition is more immediate after the traumatic event and might lead to PTSD or it might go away on its own (or with treatment).

Perhaps the most common stress related “disorders” are the various types of Adjustment Disorders. The nature of the stressor in Adjustment Disorder is usually less severe and intense as compared to PTSD or Acute Stress. The symptoms are also less troubling and may not need treatment outside of healthy self-care.

TREATMENT

I have helped many people over the years who have experienced these stress and trauma related issues. Most of those people say to me that the psychotherapy provided a safe, non-judgmental, and compassionate space to talk about these distressing feelings and experiences. They often find that telling their trauma story in this caring environment helps them manage and reduce symptoms, allowing for healthier and more fulfilling life and relationships.

Psychotherapy for PTSD, Acute Stress, or Adjustment issues is not a cure all and can be a scary process to consider. There may be additional treatments I can recommend for you (e.g., support groups, medication, or other self-care).   

If you would like to speak with me or schedule an appointment don’t hesitate to call. If I am unable to help you I will find someone for you who is. My office is in Southfield, MI with convenient access to the surrounding areas of Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Novi, and Royal Oak and more.

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Contact: 248-327-7563

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