What is Complex Trauma?
When an individual experiences a traumatic event that has threatened their life or safety, or the safety of those around them, they can be left with intense feelings or fear and helplessness. This can trigger responses such as avoidance, intrusive thoughts and high reactivity. This is called post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Extensive research has highlighted the substantial rates of psychiatric disorders, as well as the symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety disorders among our Australian Defence Force, Military, Veterans and First Responders personnel. Research notes that the partners of military personnel or veterans with psychiatric disorders are vulnerable to increased psychological distress and occurrences of psychiatric disorders themselves.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms and signs of complex trauma depend on the type and severity, but may include:
- Feeling disconnected from yourself.
- Problems with handling intense emotions.
- Sudden and unexpected shifts in mood - for example, feeling very sad for no reason.
- Depression or anxiety problems, or both.
- Feeling as though the world is distorted or not real, called 'derealisation'.
- Memory problems that aren't linked to physical injury or medical conditions.
- Other cognitive (thought-related) problems such as concentration problems.
- Significant memory lapses, such as forgetting important personal information.
- Feeling compelled to behave in a certain way.
- Identity confusion - for example, behaving in a way that the person would normally find offensive or abhorrent.
Treatments of Complex Trauma
Bethesda Clinic provides specialised treatment for Complex Trauma, both as an inpatient and through day programs.
Specialist treatment for Complex Trauma is key, as instability brought about by the disorder may often disrupt an individuals wellbeing, work life, long-term planning, and their connection with the community.
The Clinic provides specialised inpatient treatment for Complex Trauma, to help individuals better manage behavioural, psychological and cognitive impulses.
Our clinicians are well-versed in the assessment and treatment of patients presenting with mental health disorders, as well as the exacerbation of pre-existing disorders often associated with Complex Trauma. Understanding the disorder is critical in the context of treatment, as it can often be misdiagnosed as another mental illness, particularly as a mood disorder.
We provide a specialist ward for military, veteran and first responder personnel and their families, in the form of a safe and contained mental health unit, with group-based therapies including:
- Motivational interviewing.
- Mindfulness and relaxation.
- Distress tolerance.
- Emotional regulation.
- Interpersonal effectiveness.
- Art Therapy.
- Pharmacological treatment and the important of adherence.
- Adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms.
- Impacts of substances on health and wellbeing.
- Diagnosis related education.
- Lifestyle choices and the impact on mental health.
- Building effective support networks.
Wellness and Recovery Centre - Day Patient
- Trauma Recovery Program
This program is designed to assist people who experience symptoms of Complex Trauma. For more information, click here.