These days, it seems like the scariest channel on TV is the weather channel. Not a day goes by without more news and images of natural disasters. The build-up to the hurricanes created anxiety and dread, while the earthquakes in Mexico struck suddenly and have left increasing grief and horror in their aftermath. Many are still desperately waiting to hear from friends and family members in Puerto Rico. The good news is that humans are incredibly resourceful and resilient. The media are filled with stories of generosity and courage. Despite this, trauma symptoms will develop for some who experience these events either directly or through constant exposure to disturbing news and images.
Trauma Symptoms include emotional, physical, or behavioral disturbances that can develop after experiencing, witnessing, or hearing about a deeply traumatic event. Problems can arise months, or even years later, often masked as depression, anxiety, anger, chronic or unexplained health issues, relationship problems, substance abuse, or compulsive behaviors.
Research supports that early treatment helps survivors digest trauma in a more adaptive way, reducing symptoms and minimizing the potential for posttraumatic symptoms later. EMDR Therapy Early Intervention protocols for trauma have been developed for both individuals and groups for use from 2 days to six months to assist with adaptive processing and resolution of traumatic events. Early intervention is best, but the right treatment at any time can reduce or eliminate symptoms and restore well-being. EMDR is endorsed by the World Health Organization, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma.
The following are acute stress reactions experienced by people during and after a traumatic event:
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Nightmares or bad dreams
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty with focus or attention
- Intrusive remembering
- Anger or irritability
- Avoidance of reminders of the trauma
- Emotional numbing
- Increased vigilance
- Increased startle response
- Changes in beliefs about self, others, and the world
Problems occur when these reactions are experienced weeks, months, and years after the event. Assistance is available for early intervention. For additional information about EMDR, and to find a therapist in Central Florida, please visit www.GoEMDRIAN.org. Nationally, visit the EMDR International Association at www.EMDRIA.org, or the EMDR Institute at www.EMDR.com and select “Find a therapist”.
If you are an EMDR Therapist and would like additional training in the Recent Traumatic Episode or Group Traumatic Episode Protocols, contact us to find a scheduled training or to request a training in your community.