Recognizing Symptoms of Trauma with Bessel van der Kolk

What can happen when trauma symptoms go
undiagnosed. For example could behaviors like substance abuse, relationship
problems, or even eating disorders stem from experiences of childhood trauma. You
see when trauma occurs at an early age it effects development in many ways. And
this can cause reactions that differ from what we see in adults who are
diagnosed with PTSD. Doctor Bessell van der Kolk explained three ways that
childhood trauma contributes to these problems. We’re really beginning to develop
discipline of childhood trauma. And what you see when you look at those kids is that…and these kids as they grow older that their problems are very different from PTSD. Their problems are primarily
have to do with attention. Being able to focus in on something and to engage with
something very steady consistent way. So they get thrown off they have a hard time really focusing on things, sticking with things concentrating on things. Filtering irrelevant stuff out. So they get hijacked so theres one very big issue which deserves its own whole special series of treatments. The second thing is the core issue
affect regulation. And that we have our emotions in order to tell us what to do and
where to go, to orient our bodies our minds to the reality around us. Traumatized people’s emotions become too large too extreme or they become too quiet and once they get activated unlike people who are relatively doing pretty well then you get upset and ten minutes later you’re fine again you go back to work. And so chronically traumatized people keep getting stuck with something that
happened yesterday and today they’re still out of sorts about it and tomorrow they’re still out of sorts about it. And their whole weekend is hijacked by something thats happened and then they deal with the hijacking by trying to calm themselves down in any
way they can and thats where the whole issue of drugs alcohol comes in. And
self-mutilation and eating disorders because they all seem to be chronic
adaptations to this affect regulation problem that you see in this population. The third area, is in the area
of relationships. So if somebody has messed with you you have basic perception of the world
that people will hurt you, will make you not feel safe that your helpless that people are going to mess wtih you. So you position yourself in the world as somebody who should always
protect yourself or someone who should be aggressive, or arrogant, or distant or dependent and compliant and please everybody because if you stand up for yourself, terrible things will happen to you. And so just the maze of three different areas. So it’s not about memory, but its the formation of the self, the brain, the mind, and bodily. As Dr. van der Kolk pointed out it’s
important for us to understand the roots of these issues so that we can address
them with targeted interventions. As practitioners it’s crucial that we learn
to recognize developmental trauma so that children are misdiagnosed and given
treatment that don’t even address the core issue. Now I’d like to hear from you, have
you ever recognized any of these symptoms as potential childhood trauma.
Please leave your comments in the comment section just below and thanks
for watching.

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