Homes that have addiction cases are often painful to live in, which is why the family members are often left traumatized through experience by various degrees. Broad shifts, from one side of the psychological, behavioral, and emotional spectrum to the other, all too often signify an addicted family structure. Family members living with addicts are often put under unusual stress. It affects normal routines by undergoing frightening or unexpected experiences that are part of living with addiction. What is often communicated mostly does not relate with what is felt or seen in front of the eyes or beneath the surface by the family members.
The family members, as well as drug users, may manipulate, bend, and deny reality as they try to maintain family order that they sense is slipping away. The whole system becomes engulfed by the problem that is gradually getting out of hand. Big issues are minimized while little things are maximized as pain is sidelined. This essay will mostly centralize on trauma as one of the factors that promote addiction within families. It looks at the causes and general nature of trauma, a particular type of trauma, its mitigation modes, and possible causes. Attempts will be enacted to analyze some of the practical and theoretical ways of trauma treatment. Reliable spiritual and academic sources will be used throughout the article to support the analysis.
Trauma: its Causes and Nature
Living in this type of intense emotional atmosphere during the early childhood period can set up feelings of fear or those of attachment that are filled with ambivalence and anxiety. Children of drug peddlers or alcoholics during their youthful years may be over by powerful feelings that they lack the sophistication development and family support to understand and balance their predicaments. Due to this they may end up increasing their defense, such as denying there is a problem, shutting down their feelings, over controlling, rationalization, self-medication, and withdrawal symptoms as a way of controlling the inner turmoil they feel. These phenomenal developments make people face life resulting to trauma and depression.
When drugs or alcohol is introduced into the family structure, the ability of the family to control its behavioral and emotional functioning is significantly changed. The disease can subsume the family members to such an extent that they lose their normalcy senses. Their life centers on lies, preventing the truth from their children, themselves, and their false world. Faith and trust in a predictable and orderly world can be disputed as their family life becomes chaotic, their friends and family depended upon become untrustworthy, and promises are broken.
Both adults and children in this family may lose their sense of what or who they can rely on. Since the disease is advancing, members of the family quickly settle into routines of communication that progressively become dysfunctional. Such families often leave the children to fend for themselves, the members may compete for the little attention and love or retreat into their own world. Since there are no reliable adults, children may take up the parental role and attempt to provide the comfort and care that is missing for each other. Often the trauma refers to the persistent or continual negative effects of experiencing extremely distressful actions. These adverse effects include; psychiatric disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, distrust and resentment that are personal psychological orders (Allen, 2001).
Happenings that are traumatic objectively may be events such as experiencing a near death event like being in an accident or feel helpless while about to die. The painful experiences do not only come because of the disaster. Undergoing these disturbing events in life could result in a person exhibiting symptoms of trauma (Allen, 2005; Pearlman et al., 1995).
Socially factors that can cause trauma include political/ war violence; which is prolonged, severe, unpredictable or repeated. In addition seeing, events that are life-threatening or executing violent actions towards others can be disturbing violation of human rights example in severe cases as torture, kidnapping, rape, or criminal violence; which are the biggest (PSTD) Posttraumatic Disorders contributors. In marriages, the most significant causes of trauma include domestic violence; kicking, slapping, beating, sexual abuse and rape.
One’s emotions can be greatly affected by trauma. Naturally, avoiding emotional distress is possible, but it can malfunction, but blocking emotions can be sidelined by intense internal emotional disruptions. Therefore, it is advisable to nature one’s feelings and develop them effectively and control them before they get uncontrollable. Sentiments such as panic, anxiety, and fear play an important aspect in trauma. Nurturing awareness of these feelings allows one to implement defense structures before they get uncontrollable (Allen, 2005; Fahrion 1990). Since every person has a deferent reaction to the situation, it is important to know the signs associated with trauma. It can fuel or stir up feelings such as fear, anger denial, or guilt. On other occasions, it can have destructive results in life such as having compulsive or obsessive behavior, withdrawal symptoms, and drug abuse.
It can be easy to recognize a traumatized person if you are aware of the symptoms. Often, these are categorized into cognitive, physical, and behavioral responses or symptoms (Heraman, 1992; McMahon). The physical symptoms include fatigue, pain, aches, heightened or lessened appetite, low energy, or lack of sleep. Whether a person has physical injuries or not these signs will are seen. Emotional signs of trauma include fear, depression, shock, anxiety, grief, disbelief, sadness, and guilt. These reactions make the patient stunned. In the aftermath of emotional trauma, stress may change how a person relates and communicates with others. The person may realize late that they are withdrawn or isolated from others, they are easily frightened by the slightest noise, increase drug abuse, be disrespectful or distrusting to others.
A person thought pattern may change after a traumatic experience. Cognitive signs seen include; confusion, decreased concentration, forgetfulness, lowered alertness and difficulty in decision-making. These reactions may happen after hours or immediately after the occurrence. It might take a duration maybe years to fully recover from a disturbing event and be normal.
So far, the article has demonstrated that trauma is the result of a tremendously stressful event and occurrence that leaves the person with unbearable haunting reflections. Trauma makes you feel helpless, lonely and deprives your emotions of security and safety. Any event or action that may not cause actual physical injury but leaves you mentally affected is traumatic. Life dissatisfactions; as a result of death, midlife crisis or any other event are all factors that directly can lead to psychological trauma. In 2008 wellbeing Bolton of the wellbeing clinic categorized trauma into six main groups, namely blunt force trauma, physical trauma, psychological trauma, penetrating trauma, childhood trauma, and post- cult trauma. The nature and designs of psychological trauma will be the focus of this article.
Extremely stressful adverse events and happenings that leave the individual lonely, insecure, and helpless are the main causes of psychological trauma. This makes you feel helpless in a defenseless world. If this condition continues, you are probably going to change your behavior, for example, start isolating friends, engage in drug abuse, and become hateful among others. Traumatic experiences commonly involve a threat to the safety, life and security, but any occurrence that is probably going to make you feel alone, and overwhelmed is traumatic even if it there is no evident physical injury. It is not the events objective aspect that determines whether it is traumatic or not but the emotional, subjective experiences of the events.
The more helpless and insecure you feel, the higher the probability that you will be affected. Stressful events will be traumatic if it happens suddenly since you are unprepared for it, you cannot prevent it, perhaps it happened frequently, in childhood or instigated intentionally. Single incidence can also cause psychological trauma, relentless stress, horrible accidents, ailments, natural disaster or broken relationships can instigate psychological and emotional trauma. In accordance with the person, not all traumatic events lead to an extended psychological trauma.
Even from some of the most traumatic experiences some people recover quickly. Experience overwhelms others that on the surface may seem less traumatic (Blackeney & Creson, 2010). Negative experiences are likely to traumatize a person if they are under other stress factors. Analysis also points out that people who have undergone traumatic experiences initial example while young are more open to new attacks. Some of the sign of psychological trauma are mood swings, anger, blame, feeling disconnected, sadness and many others.
Psychologists and researchers also argue that traumatic experiences while young are more likely to have long lasting impacts that extend to adulthood. Children affected while young see the world as dangerous, unfriendly, and scary (Eth, 1994; Terr, 1991). If such situations are not fixed, it multiplies and transits into adulthood setting the conditions for possible future shock. This can fasten the family and addiction experience. Sexual assaults, separation from parent, neglect, or bullying are some of the possible psychological trauma contributors.
Psychological trauma signs may wither away within months or days after the event. It is possible to feel emotions triggered by an image, sound, anniversary, or problems of painful memories or situations that remind them of the unfortunate experience. Weeping is the most natural and common way people react to traumatic experiences. Survivors are encouraged to go through the process of grieving with others for sharing experiences and comfort.
(PTSD) Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is considered as a primary type of emotional and psychological trauma. It develops after the unfortunate experience. The peak of the PTSD is undergoing the same adverse event in reminder response of the event. Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks, and memories. Recalling things that can instigate feeling of fear, helplessness, and insecurity can cause unbearable and intense reactions (Rose, 1993; Wellbeing, 2008). Knowing how to distinct the current from the past is a major issue in handling trauma.
Factors to consider while coping with trauma
Through the experiences, people instill meaning into their lives they instill and experience their life choices through these stories. They tell and make about themselves. The life story is not just a platform for telling oneself or others about life, but an avenue by which a person’s identity shapes (Giddens, 1991). The design of one’s story is structured by several factors that may be psychological example their culture, values, personality, norms or situation. Therefore, to effective cope these cognitive factors should be considered. The ability to retain stability and consistency at a particular trauma level and ordinary level of life is thought as a better sign of recovery (Bruner, 1990; Wigren, 1994). This capability should project itself and be evident to the survivors re-telling their ordeal.
Constructing a meaning of life is also another important aspect in mitigating trauma. Coping process effectively incorporates a profound search for meaning of life on the survivor’s side. Questions like; what have I achieved? why now? What needs to be accomplished now? What have I learnt through these events? Are examples of a survivor’s strategies to get meaning to their life (Crossley, 2000; Frankl, 1984). Self-evaluation is also another suggested means of mitigating trauma. Divergent modes of self-assessment associated with the trauma event are an effective means of effectively coping or maintaining a sense of self-control. Feeling active, guilty, responsible or passive are some of the factors that can happen when coping begins (Steptoe, 2000).
Spiritual leaders and psychologists suggest that one should implement one or more of these methods of handling trauma. These include; regular exercise, taking care of the body regardless of physical harm or not, getting enough good sleep. Physical actions like running or jogging can help lift one’s spirits and reduce stress. Restructure of the support system by making connections with others and sharing the experiences. Telling others about it helps you understand the aspects of your emotions that need immediate change. Keeping the usual routine, do not withdraw or isolate yourself from the normal activities work, socialize and exercise frequently. This will help in re-setting your usual sense of order and routine in your life.
Have fun; enjoy yourself through spontaneous and creative functions such as painting, cooking, singing, or gardening will help restore happiness into your life. Getting support and help; it is advisable to seek aid from a professional, may be a counselor, psychiatrist or church pastor or any person in a position to offer some assistance. Players and meditation; is also recommended by the spiritual leaders such as priests and pastors. Seeking spiritual answers can help you find and understand your questions and life better.
Avoid drugs; under situations that are stressful, an individual can get involve with drug abuse, example illegal drugs and excess alcohol. It may be appealing and attractive to take drugs that can interrupt your capacity to manage. They can possible help you delay the trauma. Relaxing; taking some time off from your activities, taking a soothing and warm bath, walking around the park, clear your moods and thoughts or listening to music. Spending quality time with loved ones; take a meal with friends, play with children, those social communications inject new energy and perspective back into your life. Humor and laughter can take out fear, maintain a feeling of relaxation, and restore a peaceful mindset. Regardless of whether it is a trauma or a midlife crisis, these events can help you set and re-analyze life.
Practical and Spiritual Approaches of Treating Trauma
Trauma as already shown involves both emotional and psychological changes. An effective means of trauma treatment is one that can treat restore the meaning of life and peace of mind to the survivor. Both practical and spiritual approaches in treating trauma are encouraged. Members are encouraged by the religious leaders to take trauma and depression seriously. They guarantee us that with prayers, anything can be achieved, but additional attention may be needed for trauma. Trauma in Christianity is believed to be induced spiritually by feeling guilty of wronging or hurting others, or a sense of having lived out of what God required of us can instigate a traumatic experience. Fear of dying can also cause trauma.
In such situations spiritual things, prayer and meditation can bring up bring about a sense of wellness and in mitigating the shock. We are encouraged spiritually to accept frustration and discouragement, not to get defeated. As temptations and problems come when we are at our lowest point, when in despair and believe there is no way out, we are encouraged to believe in a higher power. Another way to get out of trauma and depression spiritually is through confessions. Spiritual mitigation of trauma and depression has a lot of justification, but in this territory, leaders encourage their followers to view life in a more practical and use experts for sorting the issues.
Options of Trauma Treatment
It is advisable to tackle the massive memory related issues that have been pending to mitigate the dangerous effects of trauma. Treatment of trauma relieves troubled thoughts and emotions that weigh heavily on your mind. It is a nicer option and good decision to heal trauma. Sometimes it is re-traumatizing to treat the condition. Conditions that demand seeking a professional include; when having difficulty forming and sustaining credible relationships, when having problems functioning, avoiding things that can remind you of the trauma, when experiencing depression, dissatisfaction, and anxiety.
Choosing a specialist that you are comfortable with goes a long way on the treatment success. Healing and treating trauma should include; processing trauma-related memories and feelings, regulating and effective learning strong feelings, re-building and developing the confidence to believe in others and to release all that stored energy effectively.
Treatment Approaches; Trauma Therapy
In mitigation of emotional and psychological trauma the below approaches are implemented (Pearlman et al., 1995; Allen, 2005).
Many of the people-undergoing traumas implement somatic experiencing that uses the ability of the body to self-heal. Body sensation is the focus of this therapy as compared to thoughts or memories that instigated the issues this aids you release trauma, concentrate on your body, and release the trauma pent up tensions and energy. A strategy of natural survival effectively releases and takes over the stored energy.
A combination of behavioral and cognitive therapy through the implementation of (EMDR) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing helps mitigate the trauma. Focus is on memories and traumatic emotions while following using your eyes to follow the therapist’s finger. Negative emotions and memories are believed to be freed through the finger movements and consecutively giving the patient a chance to handle them. CBT or (Cognitive-Behavior therapy) is designed to help you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings. The psychological impacts may not be sorted through CBT, but it can help when incorporated with other body therapies like EMDR.
The scope of trauma studies is quite extensive; there may be divergent ways of viewing what cause the issues, effective ways of handling it, its categorization, best ways to cope with it and possible practical and spiritual ways of effectively coping and treating it. This analysis has suggested a combination of both practical and spiritual resources that give us a guide on how to treat, cope, and understand the trauma. It has offered a familiar as well as a strategic way of handling the issues. Regardless of the trauma cases, the above information can apply in all cases.
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