What We Treat
Inadequate or unrestful sleep has been identified as a major cause of traffic fatalities and workplace injuries. The inability to get a good night’s sleep can also impact job performance and make you more vulnerable to everyday stress. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty getting to sleep
- Waking many times during the night
- Waking at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning
- Waking up tired
- Needing naps to get you through the day
- Intrusive nightmares
- Worrying instead of sleeping
The constant grind of anxiety in any form chips away at your ability to function optimally and to enjoy life. Anxiety symptoms include:
- Test and performance anxiety
- Post Traumatic Stress
- Obsessions and Compulsions
- Panic Attacks
Stress may be caused by traffic, workplace difficulties, family conflicts and many other factors. Over time, chronic stress corrodes the brain’s ability to relax after the overt stress subsides.
People who experience continual high stress levels are more vulnerable to many diseases, including:
- Chronic headache
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irritable bowel
- Shortness of breath
- Auto-immune conditions such as fibromyalgia
- High blood pressure
Depression affects millions of people in the United States. This debilitating condition can undermine one’s ability to enjoy life and lead to both physical and emotional breakdowns.
Attention is one of the most important brain skills. It requires you to be flexible and know what to focus on and what to ignore. Knowing how to pay attention enables you to be “fully present” in your relationships with other people. Symptoms include:
- Distractibility, in which attention jumps around so much that it is difficult to sit still or be productive
- Overfocus, in which a person focuses too narrowly on an activity to the point that the person is no longer able to absorb information from the world around him
Trauma is a specific type of emotional response that can occur from a highly stressful event. Traumatic experiences can create psychological wounds that are far more enduring than the actual experience. Our very foundations about our sense of safety is shattered, and our assumptions of trust are shaken. Like holding a postage stamp up to a tidal wave, our normal ways of coping are rendered helpless in dealing with the sheer force of the event. People's susceptibility to trauma varies, and is often influenced by the amount of previous trauma that they have endured.
There are many experiences that can cause a traumatic reaction. It may not be something as dramatic or large scale as an earthquake or a terrorist attack. It's often as common place as a car accident, personal assault, or an attack by a dog. And rather than being a single event that triggers trauma, it could also occur from long term exposure to a relationship where you were dependent on someone who betrayed you by neglecting or mistreating you. Many people carry trauma from days long ago, and have delayed reactions to an event or events from as long ago as their childhood.
Have You Been Traumatized?
People often have traumatic responses without awareness that they have been traumatized. If you have more than one of the following symptoms for more than one month, you may be having a traumatic response.
- If you persistently re-experience the event with intrusive thoughts, recurrent nightmares, surges of distress, or flashbacks.
- If you persistently avoid thoughts, feelings, activities, or people that arouse recollections of the event.
- If you find difficulty with loving feelings, diminished interest in activities, feelings of detachment from others
- If you find difficulty falling or staying asleep, have outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, find yourself hypervigilant, and these symptoms were not present before the event.
What Happens When You Are Traumatized?
When an experience is too overwhelming to process completely, you may suffer from a traumatic reaction. When the brain becomes flooded and overstimulated from the experience it can not transfer the memory for integration of brain functions. Instead, the memories live in specific, discrete part of the brain and they can surge upon a trigger - much as a virus that lives in your body can surge when triggered. As a result, people find themselves over reacting to seemingly harmless events or suffering from thoughts that unexpectedly intrude at inopportune moments. Managing the surge in emotion can be so challenging that people may block their experience to such an extent that they become detached and numb. Often people fluctuate between the two states of being overwhelmed and becoming numb.
Press Coverage of Dr. Orli Peter's Trauma Work with Trauma Patients
The Beverly Hills Courier, Beverly Hills, California. "Beverly Hills Psychologist Takes 'Brain Music' To Israel To Help Treat Tauma Patients" by Steve Simmons, February 15, 2008
Jewish West Coast News, "Holocaust Survivor Inspires Daughter To Become Trauma Specialist." Volume 33, Number 11, November 2007.
Specialists at the Center for Accelerated Psychology are experienced and skilled at treating trauma. If you have had any of the above symptoms for more than a month, contact us to meet with a specialist for an evaluation. Our specialist will help design a treatment plan to help you.
Orli Peter, Ph.D., BCIA-EEG
Diplomate, American Board of Psychological Specialties
Director and Founder, Center for Accelerated Psychology