Traumatic experiences can have a profound impact on a person’s mental and physical health, even many years later. Trauma can have wide-ranging impacts on an individual’s development and functioning, including contributing to eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. Studies show that the lingering effects of trauma can cause depression, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia and relationship difficulties.
Integrating trauma treatment with eating disorders treatment is crucial to helping individuals deal with the experiences that caused the physical and emoti
onal pain, fear, stress and anxiety. Trauma therapy helps people address what has happened to them, and regain a sense of control and empowerment. Trauma work can lay the foundation for successful eating disorders recovery.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Much of the time, the stress caused by traumatic events will decrease over time. But a significant portion of people can experience long-lasting physical and emotional impacts. These can range from mild to severe.
A person may receive a PTSD diagnosis when the stress of a prior disturbing event impacts the ability to live a healthy and productive life. Many soldiers that have experienced the horrors of war return home with PTSD, as they are unable to forget or overcome all that they had seen and done. Those suffering from PTSD will often experience flashbacks and increased arousal (known as hyperarousal), and may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Symptoms of hyperarousal include irritability, anger/short fuse, difficult concentrating, problems sleeping and anxiety.
Signs & Symptoms of PTSD
- Angry outbursts.
- Alcohol and drug abuse.
- Withdrawing from family, friends and enjoyable activities.
- Avoiding people, events and situations that evoke memories of the event.
- Self-destructive, impulsive and reckless behaviors.
- Acts of violence, fighting or destruction of property.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Memory problems.
- Disturbing and vivid nightmares.
- Recurrent, intrusive memories.
- Exaggerated startle response.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Excessive watchfulness and anxiousness.
- Persistent negative mood/depression.
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders.
Some may also experience a condition called dissociation, a severe form of disconnection from the self or others. Dissociative disorders can include depersonalization, or the feeling that the world is not real, and derealization, or the feeling that the self is not real.
Causes of Trauma
While PTSD was first widely recognized in association with wartime experiences, it’s now understood that many sorts of experiences can cause trauma that leaves lasting impacts on the mind and body.
Whether the symptoms are mild or severe depends on what the person went through, the duration and frequency of the trauma, the quality and strength of the support system an individual had to help them recover, and many other individual qualities related to personality and resilience.
Serious car accidents, being a victim of a crime such as a mugging or assault, rape, witnessing violent acts against others, or experiencing a natural disaster or mass casualty event can all cause trauma disorder. The thread between these situations is that they cause a person to fear for their lives and overwhelm the brain and body’s ability to cope what they are seeing or experiencing. The threat may be direct or perceived.
There are many other causes of trauma that are not related to violence or physical assault, but are more emotional or psychological in nature. Neglect by a parent or caregiver in childhood, significant bullying at any age, feeling compelled to hide one’s sexual orientation and sexual harassment in the workplace are other sources of trauma that may seem less obvious but are known to leave lasting emotional and physical symptoms.
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Women and PTSD
Research shows that about half of all women in the U.S. are exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, which makes PTSD symptoms common in women who have been exposed to these experiences.
While men have higher rates of overall trauma exposure than women, women are more likely than men to be exposed to certain types of trauma, including childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault. About one in five women (18%) have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Studies show that the vast majority of rape victims experience symptoms of PTSD.
Studies have also found that women are more susceptible to PTSD symptoms. There could be a biological basis for this, or it could be because of the types of trauma women are most likely to experience. Research indicated that trauma that is chronic or that occurs within what are supposed to be close and trusting relationships, may be the most damaging forms of trauma. PTSD symptoms in women may also be more common, because women may be more likely to blame themselves for the trauma or feel that they’re being blamed for it. This can cause people to feel undeserved shame and can hinder the ability to quickly recover from what occurred.
PTSD Symptoms in Women
Just as there are gender differences in the incidence of PTSD, there can also be differences in how women experience PTSD. While men with PTSD are more likely to be irritable or act impulsively, women are more likely to have PTSD symptoms of numbing and avoidance. Avoidance refers to trying to escape thoughts and feelings, people or places that bring the event to mind. Characteristics of numbing and avoidance:
- Loss of interest in activities that was once important and enjoyable.
- Feeling distant from others.
- Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love.
Types of Trauma
Sexual Abuse Trauma: It is estimated that every two minutes, someone living in the United States is sexually assaulted. This type of traumatic incident is one that can result in major, long-lasting damage, both psychologically and emotionally. Sexual abuse is defined as any nonconsensual or unwanted sexual act that is forced upon an individual. It can happen to anyone, male or female, of any age.
Childhood Neglect: It is crucial for proper development and functioning that children are nurtured, loved, and have their basic needs met by parents or a caregiver. When children grow up in an environment that does not offer this vital source of stability and predictability, it can leave a lasting imprint. Childhood neglect and trauma can occur when a child is rejected by, separated from, or ignored by a caretaker.
Domestic Violence: Witnessing domestic violence as a child, or being a victim of an abuser as an adult, is both physically and psychologically damaging. Those situations are also notoriously hard to leave, so the trauma may continue for many years. Physical abuse may be accompanied by psychological and emotional abuse as well.
Rosewood Eating Disorder
Treatment Centers & Locations
When trauma occurs in an individual’s life, trauma therapy addresses and helps people overcome the events or circumstances that are causing continued emotional and physical pain. At Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders, our expert staff is equipped with the knowledge and training to deliver trauma therapy in a way that heals those that have experienced traumatic events.
Rosewood offers a safe, therapeutic and supportive environment for trauma therapy. Our trauma-aware center is a safe haven where individuals can freely and openly work through difficult life experiences. Our trauma treatment helps people develop a sense of self-esteem and self-worth that may have been damaged due to trauma, overcome the physical symptoms of trauma, and regain a sense of empowerment.
When trauma is effectively treated, many people find that the compulsion or need to engage in eating disorder behaviors diminishes. Through trauma therapy and other techniques, we help people put the traumatic experiences where it belongs – in the past – so that they can move on to a future that is untroubled by events of the past.
How PTSD Impacts Daily Life
PTSD and other trauma disorders in men and women can be debilitating. After living through traumatic life events such as combat or other forms of violence, sexual abuse, or childhood abandonment, many people are left picking up the pieces and dealing with the residual psychological and emotional impact of what they’ve gone through. Many people find their pain manifesting in various destructive ways, such as through eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Studies suggest the link between eating disorders and trauma could be an attempt to exert a sense of control over one’s body, or a form of self-punishing behavior. Some research indicates women may feel more shame or be more likely to blame themselves for traumatic experiences than men.
Rosewood’s Approach to Trauma Therapy
Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders offers clients the ability to build a customized trauma treatment plan suited to meet their unique needs based on their medical history, background, and type of trauma experienced. With the support of our skilled and compassionate staff, clients have the ability to participate in various types of trauma therapy. These therapies help them gain the skills necessary to cope with their trauma and achieve healing and recovery. We offer inpatient, transitional and outpatient trauma treatment options, ensuring that clients have access to the right level of care, wherever they are in the recovery process.
At Rosewood Centers for Eating Disorders, we understand that the best way for patients to treat their PTSD and trauma is through the use of a highly tailored and individualized course of treatment. For this reason, we offer a wide variety of treatment modalities. Some of the proven therapies we use to treat PTSD and eating disorders include:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This form of psychotherapy recognizes that disturbing memories are often the root cause of psychopathologies and works to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD. When a particularly traumatic life event occurs, it often overwhelms the brain’s ability to cope and process what has taken place. Memories of this event become intrusive, crowding out other thoughts. With EMDR trauma therapy, the therapist helps patients process the disturbing memory, lessening the lingering harmful effects and allowing for adaptive coping mechanisms to be put into place.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This form of therapy has a goal of helping patients manage difficult emotions in a nondestructive manner. DBT utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques in conjunction with mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation. For those suffering from PTSD or other trauma disorders, the ability to manage emotions and tolerate situations that cause distress is crucial.
Family and Group Therapies: Those suffering from PTSD and trauma need the support of others through the treatment process to achieve healing and recovery. Family can be an incredible motivator to fulfill treatment obligations and remain focused. We provide a safe and supportive setting for patients to discuss their experiences with trauma.
Animal-Assisted Therapy: Studies show that animal-assisted therapy can be very beneficial for trauma survivors. Interacting with animals is known to lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and lift the mood. Rosewood Ranch is home to several therapy horses and playful dwarf goats. Animals can help people feel emotionally and physically safe. Animals are non-judgmental, and the bonds formed between humans and animals can be deeply rewarding, comforting and allow for non-verbal communication, all of which is known to be beneficial to people who have suffered from trauma and eating disorders.
Trauma’s Impact on Families
PTSD and trauma is not only taxing on the individual battling these disorders, but it also takes a toll on those that care for the patient receiving treatment. Friends and family often report experiencing anxiety and many sleepless nights wondering if their loved one will be alright, even after they’ve entered our treatment facility. We want loved ones to be highly involved throughout the treatment process.
Get Help for Trauma and Eating Disorders Now
If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or trauma, do not wait another day to contact our intake coordinators and begin a confidential assessment. You no longer have to deal with the trauma you’ve experienced on your own. Rosewood staff is standing by to help develop coping mechanisms designed to build the self-confidence needed to recover from PTSD. It’s time to take back your life and achieve the trauma therapy you deserve.
No matter which therapy is right for you, with the guidance of our highly trained staff of medical professionals, you can rest easy knowing that your course of trauma treatment has been customized to fit your needs based on your background, medical history, and root cause of trauma or PTSD. No two patients are the same, therefore no two treatment plans should be the exact same. From your first call to our facility, we begin crafting your individualized plan. Our admissions process is completed in 5 easy steps so as not to delay your healing any further:
- Intake: You’ll speak with an Intake Coordinator that will listen to your story and determine how we can help you or your loved one.
- Explore Treatment Options: A one-on-one evaluation and assessment of your situation will inform possible treatment options. We will answer any and all of your questions about Rosewood, our staff, or what to expect during your time at Rosewood.
- Explore Payment Options: We never want to turn away someone seeking help for their trauma or PTSD. Therefore we try to make our services affordable to all. During intake, we’ll assess your financial situation and subsequent payment options.
- Intake and Utilization Review: Our intake and utilization review staff will collaborate with insurance professionals on behalf of our clients to make optimal use of available insurance benefits, thereby reducing stress to our clients.
- Treatment Begins: Once you’ve been evaluated, you can begin your journey to recovery. You’ll begin your customized treatment plan with the support of Rosewood’s compassionate and supportive staff.
Resources for PTSD and Trauma Treatment
PTSD and Trauma is not only taxing on the individual battling these disorders, but it also takes a toll on those that care for the patient receiving treatment. Friends and family often report experiencing anxiety and many sleepless nights wondering if their loved one will be alright, even after they’ve entered our treatment facility. We want loved ones to be highly involved throughout the treatment process, and therefore offer a variety of resources to keep family and friends informed and equipped to be the best source of support as possible.
We are here to help you.Call (928) 668-0906