What is trauma?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a diagnosis of trauma is made when someone experiences a traumatic event and then has long term symptoms in the aftermath of that event, and it continues to interfere with their daily life. Research tells us that most people in the United States will experience at least one traumatic event in their life. For individuals with an eating disorder, trauma rates are generally found to be higher for those with symptoms of binging and purging. Trauma can often directly affect body image, which leads individuals to modify their body shape to avoid future harm.

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma

Symptoms of trauma typically fall into four broad categories.

  • Re-experiencing type symptoms – involuntary and intrusive distressing memories that are often recurring
  • Avoidance – avoiding a place, person, or object that might trigger reminders of the traumatic event
  • Cognitive and mood symptoms – difficulty recalling the event, or feeling numb, guilty, worried or depressed
  • Arousal symptoms – hypervigilance or intensely startled by something that resembles the trauma, trouble sleeping or outbursts of anger

How We Treat Trauma

When a co-occurring disorder, such as trauma, is present a comprehensive treatment program becomes even more essential. Individuals with an eating disorder and trauma may have difficulty trusting others, which is why we provide compassionate care using an individualized treatment plan to meet the specific needs of the client. We help clients learn and implement adaptive grounding skills and identify patterns of trauma reactions in an effort to help them feel safe and understand their disorder.

Our individualized treatment plan includes approaches such as:

  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy