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Understanding Trauma in Teenagers

Understanding trauma is important as it causes deep rooted pain and despair. Recognizing your strengths, triggers of the traumatic incident and working towards healing is something to think about and certainly seek support for the same.

Adolescence and young adulthood are very vulnerable phases for all of us. This is when a lot of changes occur in most aspects of your lives which may or may not be manageable all the time. Trauma can cause immense distress and threaten one’s well-being and safety to a point where it affects day to day activities and functioning.

Trauma can prevail in different ways and incidents which may cause deep physical, psychological, social, interpersonal, academic and/or professional disturbances. These incidents are normally unpredictable. Some experiences which may cause trauma are but not limited to, natural disasters, sexual/physical/emotional abuse or violence, violence witnessed by the teen, accidental injury/illness, death of a loved one, or any other incident which may be caused suddenly.

Such experiences can leave a lasting impact on the teen or young adult. Teens may often respond to them in the following ways.

  1. Believing and thinking that they are alone in feeling sadness, anger, guilt and other traumatic emotions

  2. Sleep concerns like nightmares or insomnia

  3. Feeling lack of energy

  4. Having stomach aches or headaches

  5. Feeling irritable or angry (fighting with friends, or loved ones)

  6. Feeling of numbness or lost

  7. Lack of interest and/or focus on academic work

  8. Feeling confused

  9. Using substances to stop uncomfortable feelings

  10. Lack of appetite or eating too much

While traumatic experiences can cause intense discomfort, it’s important to acknowledge the pain and try to work towards healing. This is certainly a process and may take as long as you need.

  1. Talk to friends, family, loved ones, or a professional counsellor

  2. Engage in positive recreational physical activities like exercise, sports, walking, etc.

  3. Listen to soothing music when difficult thoughts and feelings come to you

  4. Invest time and energy in hobbies like reading, coloring, gardening, sewing, painting, writing, cooking, playing with a pet, being in nature, etc.

  5. Try relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, calming self-talk, etc.

  6. Eat healthy meals and get enough rest and sleep

  7. Join support groups around you, if possible

  8. Maintain a schedule as much as possible

  9. Plan for the future and make lists, journals, goal boards with visual aid

  10. Asking for help when needed

Trauma is not something which can be dealt with overnight. It takes patience, courage and resilience to get to a point of peace and acceptance. Remember to breathe through the pain and ask for as much help and support as needed. You are not alone. There are people, places and organizations that care about you and would love to offer you the resources you seek. Healing is a process and you are fully capable of travelling this journey.

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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Treatment of Psychological Phobias

Phobias are highly curable, and people who have them are nearly always aware of their disorder.

Identification of specific phobias is based on a detailed clinical interview and diagnostic guidelines. Mental health practioners ask questions about your symptoms and take a medical, psychiatric and social history. Understanding the reason of a phobia is actually less significant than focusing on how to treat the avoidance behavior that has developed over time.

 As you learn how to manage and relate to your reactions, thoughts and feelings, you'll find that your anxiety and fear are reduced and no longer in control of your life. Treatment is typically directed at one specific phobia at a time. Sometimes doctors may also recommend other therapies or medication.

Human phobia set. Collection royalty-free human phobia set collection stock illustration - download image now

Treatment:

The best treatment for specific phobias is a type of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the best effective treatments.

Exposure therapy focuses on altering your response to the object or situation that you fear. Gradual and repeated exposure to the source of your specific phobia and the related thoughts, feelings and sensations may help you learn to cope up your anxiety. For example, if you're afraid of elevators, your therapy may proceed from simply thinking about getting into an elevator, to looking at pictures of elevators, to going close an elevator. Then, you may take a one-floor ride, then ride several floors, and then in a crowded elevator.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) comprises of exposure combined with other techniques to learn ways to view and manage with the feared object or situation differently. You learn different beliefs about your fears and bodily sensations and the effect they've had on your life. CBT give emphasis to learning to develop a sense of mastery and confidence with your thoughts and feelings rather than feeling overwhelmed by them.

Hypnotherapy may help some manage and overcome a phobia which is often led by a therapist, and it involves taking the person with a phobia through the process of guided imagery. They may imagine they are facing the object of their phobia and then practice self-relaxation techniques.

  • Mindfulness exercises may be helpful in learning how to tolerate anxiety and reduce avoidance behaviors.
  • Relaxation techniques, that involve deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga, may help cope with anxiety and stress.
  • Physical activity and exercise may be helpful in managing anxiety linked with specific phobias.
  • Regular exercise, eating properly, nutritious diet, getting enough sleep and reducing / avoiding caffeine and other stimulants.

Phobias are highly curable, and people who have them are nearly always aware of their disorder. This helps diagnosis greatly. If the phobia does not cause major problems, most people find that simply avoiding the source of their fear helps, they stay in control. Many people with specific phobias will not pursue treatment as these fears are often manageable. There is no single treatment that works for every person with a phobia rather it needs to be tailored to the individual for it to work.

The doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist may advise behavioral therapy, medications, or a combination of both. Each phobia is different and hence, no single self-help program will work for everyone. Once treatment starts, a phobia is likely to improve and generally does not have ongoing effects. 

 

If you have a story to share, Email it to us HERE.

If you have a query, Email it to us HERE.

You can also chat with the counsellor by clicking on Teentalk Expert Chat.

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