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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describes trauma as “an event, or series of events, that causes moderate to severe stress reactions… [that are] characterized by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.” Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it.” Unlike PTSD that is caused by a single traumatic event or isolated incidents, complex trauma refers to a series of traumatic events that take place over time. Many symptoms of complex trauma overlap with symptoms of PTSD, some of which include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Flashbacks
  • Avoiding circumstances that are reminders of traumatic events
  • Distorted sense of self
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Relationships challenges

Somatic symptoms (e.g., fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, joint or muscle pain, headaches, etc.) are also common with complex trauma. More than an estimated 3% of people in America meet the criteria for complex trauma. If complex trauma is left untreated, its symptoms can be pervasively disruptive and interfere with one’s ability to function in his or her daily life.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in the late 1980s as a means to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), utilizing standard CBT techniques for emotional regulation and reality testing, and combines concepts derived from Buddhist meditative practice such as awareness, mindfulness, and attentiveness to current situations and emotional experiences.

Psychology Today emphasizes the notion that complex trauma requires multifaceted and sequenced treatment, which involves different components that target the various symptoms that present on the road to recovery. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, due to the fact that DBT does not necessarily involve any form of trauma processing, it is not and should not be considered a stand-alone treatment for trauma. However, some studies do indicate that DBT can be used to effectively treat the symptoms of complex trauma. DBT remains the only empirically supported treatment for BPD, and current evidence also recognizes DBT as an applicable and effective treatment method for many other mental health conditions.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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