Category Archives: David’s Personal Experiences

Why A Part Of You May Have Remained Very Child-Like.

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Why A Part Of You May Have Remained Very Child-Like.

As a teenager, when upset, under stress or in conflict with my parents/step – parent (and at any given time, it seems, retrospectively, I was in at least one of these states) my behaviour could become regressive (i.e. I would act in a manner far more typical of a much younger child).

This regressive behaviour, in my case, included raging tantrums, uncontrollable sobbing and, once, even, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, shutting myself in a wardrobe, when I was about fifteen years old, after an argument with my father and stepmother.

I could go on, but you get the general picture, I imagine.

If we suffer significant trauma at an early age, it can result in part of us remaining child-like. This childhood part is cut off and separate from the main part of our personality (psychologists call it a dissociated part) and represents a phase of our childhood that was severely disrupted due to psychological and emotional turmoil.

Depending on the phase of our childhood was disrupted, this part of us may be infant-like, toddler-like, child-like or adolescent-like.

As the part of us in question as a dissociated part (as explained above) it can often remain hidden, both from ourselves and others.

However, at times of stress, this part of us may rise to the surface and express itself in an overt manner. When this happens, we both feel and act like an infant / toddler / child / adolescent.

download 10 - Why A Part Of You May Have Remained Very Child-Like.

In accordance with this temporary transition we may, for example :

– suck our thumb

– cling to a soft toy

– hide under a table (or, in my case, shut ourselves in a wardrobe – see above)

– feel an intense sense of vulnerability

– feel exceptionally dependent on others and emotionally ‘needy’ with an overwhelming desire to be protected, loved and cared for

– display tantrum-like behaviour

Whilst we should aim not to indulge such aspects of ourselves in ways that are ultimately self – destructive, it is important that we acknowledge they exist and accept them in a spirit of self-compassion.

We need, too, to grant ourselves permission to grieve for our unmet childhood needs, and look for ways to satisfy these needs in the here and now that are not self – destructive and which do not compromise our adult lives (e.g. holding a soft toy at home OK, but probably not a good idea to take it to the board of directors’ meeting at work, sit it next to you at the table and provide it with a name tag embossed with the moniker Ted E. Bear).

For advice about managing our ‘inner child’, a useful link can be found by clicking here.

Resource:

EBook – click image below:

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=087477635X&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=childhoodtrau 21 - Why A Part Of You May Have Remained Very Child-Like.ir?t=childhoodtrau 21&l=as2&o=2&a=087477635X - Why A Part Of You May Have Remained Very Child-Like.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Empathetic Stress And Its Effects On Babies’ Psychological Development.

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Empathetic Stress And Its Effects On Babies' Psychological Development.

When I was about twelve, after my parents had been divorced for about four years, my mother took it upon herself, apropos nothing in particular, matter-of-factly and with a (retrospectively) disturbing lack of shame, to furnish me with the knowledge that I was only conceived because her psychiatrist suggested to her that having another baby (ie. me) might save her intensely acrimonious and rapidly deteriorating marriage to my father.

Leaving aside the psychiatrist’s dubious grasp of professional ethics (or, indeed, any other type of ethics that I’m aware of), suffice to say it did not work. In fact, as the young are inclined to put it, it was an epic failure.

My mother’s explanation for this failure was that she, in fact, had wanted a girl.  Therefore, it seems my prenatally planned mission to save my parents’ marriage was doomed to failure from the start, due to my obstinate and self-centred insistence as a foetus/embryo to develop into a male of the human species, no doubt.

Apparently, my father once informed me, very soon after my birth, my mother’s mental health, already worryingly precarious, went further downhill, and at an alarming rate.

I now understand that, because of this, my first few months of existence may have been extremely damaging to my emotional and psychological development due to a phenomenon known to psychologists as empathetic stress which I elaborate on below:

Empathetic Stress:

When we observe the stress of others, cells in the brain known as mirror neurons are activated; as their name implies, these specialized neurons cause our emotional state to ‘mirror’, or replicate, an approximation of the emotional state of the distressed person we are observing. This gives rise to the psychological state that we refer to as empathy.

images 9 - Empathetic Stress And Its Effects On Babies' Psychological Development.

Indeed, the effect of these mirror neurons is so powerful that we don’t just experience the other person’s distress on an emotional level, but, also, on a biological level : the stress hormone in our body known as cortisol increases, for example.

Study Of Empathetic Stress In Babies:

The psychologists Waters et al made a study of 69 mothers and their 12 to 14 month old babies.

It was found that when the mothers’ stress levels became elevated and, in this stressed state, they picked up and held their babies, the babies’ stress levels became similarly elevated (for example, the babies’ heart rates increased significantly).

It is thought that the babies were able to sense their mothers’ increased stress levels through various means including the mothers’ tone of voice, breathing rhythm, muscle tension, heart-rate, facial expressions and other subtle indicators. Sometimes psychologists refer to this harmful process as emotional contagion.

This finding is very important as we have seen in other posts that I have published on this site that if we experience significant stress in our early lives the physical development of our brains may be adversely affected.

Sadly, highly sensitive and empathetic young  individuals are likely to be at particular risk of being harmed in this manner.

Resources:

eBook:

61VHBbAyGwL. UY250  - Empathetic Stress And Its Effects On Babies' Psychological Development.

Above eBook now available on Amazon for instant download. Click here.

 

MP3 Audio:

audio lessn 1 - Empathetic Stress And Its Effects On Babies' Psychological Development.. Control Empathy. Click here.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Childhood Trauma Leading To The Need To ‘Self-Medicate’.

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Childhood Trauma Leading To The Need To 'Self-Medicate'.

Until a few years ago I consumed excessive amounts of alcohol (leading to some appalling consequences that I will describe in future posts). Two main reasons for this most ill-advised and, above all, desperate behaviour are both clichés: one: I drank to reduce my social anxiety and, two: I drank to numb my intense and intolerable psychological pain.

The root cause of my social anxiety and psychological pain derived, I feel sure, from my traumatic childhood. Indeed, such childhood trauma is very often the root cause of why people in general use alcohol, and other psychoactive substances such as illicit drugs, to self-medicate (ie. attempt to ameliorate their emotional and psychological pain).

A main reason that many find it so hard to stop or reduce their reliance on such self-medication is that they are unaware that the origin of their addictive need to self-medicate lies in their traumatic childhood experiences and that the adverse psychological consequences which they seek to numb by excessive drinking or drug taking are symptoms of this trauma.

This lack of insight leads to the root cause of the particular addiction remaining untreated, making it much harder for the individual to recover from his/her reliance on mind-altering substances.

Very sadly, other people, perhaps ill-informed family members, who also are unaware of the true origins of the problem, may, due to their lack of understanding, blame the individual for his/her, as they may erroneously perceive it, ‘weakness of character’ and ‘selfishness’ (it is not selfishness – being addicted to, for example, alcohol is hardly fun or enjoyable; one does not choose to suffer from such an addiction, by definition).

images 8 - Childhood Trauma Leading To The Need To 'Self-Medicate'.

Equally sadly, the addict may blame him/herself, adding to his/her depression and worsening yet further his/her already extremely low self-esteem, thus, in all likelihood, aggravating still further his/her addictive disorder.

Whilst the afflicted individual may sometimes enter stages of incipient recovery, if his/her childhood trauma remains therapeutically unaddressed, s/he is likely to relapse when events in his/her life trigger traumatic memories and flashbacks.

It is useful to provide some statistics in connection with the idea of childhood trauma leading to self-medication as an adult: for example, intravenous drug users are 1000% (one thousand per cent) more likely to have suffered childhood trauma than non-intravenous drug users. A second example is that (in the USA) female alcoholics are twice as likely to have suffered significant trauma compared to their non-alcoholic counterparts.

The Role Of Adrenaline:

Those suffering from the effects of severe trauma, such as those who have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have been found to produce in their bodies excessive quantities of the hormone adrenaline which significantly contributes to their feelings of deep anxiety and general psychological distress.

It is hardly a coincidence, then, that one of the illicit drugs they can become dependent upon is heroin as this drug is highly effective at shutting down the brain’s adrenaline center – the locus coeruleus.

Other drugs that have a similar effect are Valium, alcohol and benzodiazepines (the latter is a drug which played a role in the shamelessly hounded and persecuted musical genius Michael Jackson’s tragic and untimely death – it is well documented that he was traumatized by his childhood, not least because his father, Joe Jackson, would allegedly whip his son if he made mistakes during rehearsals when he rehearsed with his older brothers who made up the Jackson Five).

Conclusion:

Therapies for those who have experienced significant childhood trauma and are consequently addicted to the sort of substances referred to above are far more likely to be successful if they do not ignore the root cause of the problem – namely the afflicted individual’s childhood traumatic experiences.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Why It’s So Hard To Talk About Our Experience Of Severe Trauma

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Why It's So Hard To Talk About Our Experience Of Severe Trauma

Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.’

Gustave Flaubert

 

Whenever I have become highly emotionally upset about my traumatic childhood experiences, in the presence of another person, I have found I become highly inarticulate, unable to communicate coherently what I am feeling and why I am feeling it.

It is as if there is some kind of mental blockage, rendering me incapable of conveying verbally my state of mind in any meaningful way. Essentially, I seem to regress, leaving myself with the verbal dexterity of the average three- year- old (albeit, perhaps, on occasion, a three- year- old with a precocious knowledge of swear words).

As it transpires, it would seem there is a scientific and neurological explanation for this loss of articulacy when in such emotional distress relating to one’s traumatic experiences:

Our inability to verbalize our feelings about our traumatic experiences is most powerful immediately after the traumatic experience itself and during periods in which we are experiencing flashbacks (when we experience flashbacks, the brain reacts in much the same way as it did when we experienced the original trauma).

During such periods, research has revealed that the part of the brain responsible for language production, known as Broca’s area, all but shuts down. In some cases, the traumatised individual may enter a kind of speechless daze.

images 218 - Why It's So Hard To Talk About Our Experience Of Severe Trauma

In calmer moments, traumatised individuals may talk about their traumatic experiences, but in a superficial way that does not remotely capture the intense distress, rage and mental agony their experiences may have evoked – language cannot adequately convey what it is like to experience such feelings.

Because we can’t communicate properly what our experience of trauma was like, or how it has made us feel, we can start to feel extremely isolated and cut-off, emotionally, from the ‘normal’, everyday world.

No -one can understand what happened to us or how it affected us as our experiences are, quite literally, beyond words; this produces, in many of us, an especially intense and profound sense of loneliness.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

The Vital Importance Of Having Our Traumatic Experiences Validated.

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - The Vital Importance Of Having Our Traumatic Experiences Validated.

Research has established, beyond doubt, that, all else being equal, the greater our experience of childhood trauma, the worse both our physical and mental health are likely to be during our adulthood, and the more likely we are to die prematurely.

Research has also shown that having our perception of our childhood trauma, and its adverse effect on us, validated is an essential part of our recovery.

Surrounding my own childhood experiences there has always been a conspiracy of silence by family members. My feelings about my early experiences have been met variously with evasion, denial, contempt, disdain, cold dismissiveness, minimisation, stone-walling, passive -aggression and straight- forward lies.

When our experiences are NOT validated, or, worse still, shamelessly refuted, recovery becomes almost impossible : insult is added to injury, with the likely outcome that our condition will actually become worse .

When our experiences and their effects remain NON-VALIDATED, our very sense of reality is undermined which puts us in danger of developing psychosis (a condition in which we become pathologically detached from reality).

images7 - The Vital Importance Of Having Our Traumatic Experiences Validated.

When we are told things such as ‘stop harping on about the past’ or, ‘you sound like a broken record, let it go’, it is this very contemptuous dismissal of our feelings that perpetuates our condition. The tacit implication is that we are self-absorbed, self-pitying, egotistical and should stop blaming our problems on our childhooods as this is wrong and selfish. But let’s examine the logic (or lack, thereof) of this rebuffal to our fundamental beliefs about our early traumatic experiences:

Can we take seriously the suggestion that a child who was frequently beaten to a pulp by a drunken father (as a hypothetical example), or the person whose brain development was impaired by emotional abuse (as another hypothetical example), and develops psychological problems in adulthood as a result, is somehow being weak and self-indulgent, and is wrong and unentitled to suggest his/her childhood may be linked to his/her adult difficulties?!

Of course we can’t. In fact, it takes an awful amount of inner, mental strength to face up to and acknowledge the harm done to oneself by one’s childhood, and doing so is absolutely key to one’s recovery. 

Recent research has shown that if a person’s feelings about their traumatic experiences in childhood are just sympathetically listened to and validated, and their pain and suffering as a result of their trauma is acknowledged and authenticated, their condition improves, even in the absence of any additional, active therapy.

This is powerful evidence that having our feelings about our childhoods validated is absolutely essential in order for us to recover from our adverse experiences.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc, PGDE (FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Traumatic Amnesia Resulting From Childhood Trauma

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Traumatic Amnesia Resulting From Childhood Trauma

I can remember very little indeed about my childhood before the age of about eight, even major events that I am told happened to me.

For example, my school, when I was around this age, were concerned I was going deaf as I never answered my name when it was called in class.

Because of this, apparently I had my ears tested but my hearing was normal. In other words, my apparent ‘deafness’ was caused by psychological factors. Indeed, it was particularly pronounced when the subject of parents came up in class. The term psychologists use to describe the condition is dissociation.

However, I have no memory whatsoever of any of the above; that period of my life, as far as my conscious memory is concerned, may as well never have happened.

images85 - Traumatic Amnesia Resulting From Childhood Trauma

Research suggests (eg. Williams) that, for some their childhood trauma is so distressing that, in order to protect itself, the brain subjugates, or, represses, the memory of it, keeping it out of conscious awareness.

This is what’s known a defence mechanism. This mechanism works by not allowing distressing memories to encroach upon memory, due to the fact that, if these memories did penetrate consciousness, they would provoke intolerable psychological distress. This process of repressing painful memories operates automatically on an unconscious level as a means of self protection.

Not everyone who experiences significant childhood trauma will develop traumatic amnesia; whether or not a person develops it depends upon numerous factors which you may read about in another of my articles : Why Some Remember And Some Forget Their Traumatic Experiences.

In those who do develop traumatic amnesia, the condition may last for anything from hours to decades.

Traumatic amnesia does not necessarily mean that the individual who experiences it will forget everything connected to the traumatic experience/s; sometimes, the amnesia is only partial (ie. some of the traumatic experience is retained in memory, whilst elements of it are NOT remembered (in other words they are blocked off from conscious memory).

Further research (Henderson) suggests  that if a child’s traumatic experience is due to abuse by a person (normally a parent) who is, in actual fact, supposed to be caring for the child, and whom the child is dependent upon,  then that child is especially likely to develop traumatic amnesia (this is an unconscious means of retaining some sort of bond with parent, thus allowing the relationship with the parent to survive).

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Living With Mental Agony

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Living With Mental Agony

 

 

For many years of my life, I was in a state of unremitting, intense mental pain; indeed, terms like mental agony and mental torture would be far from inappropriate ways of describing my psychological condition.

I was rendered almost demented mental turmoil, unable think with anything approaching clarity, make decisions, talk in much more than mono-syllables, or function in relation to even the most basic of everyday tasks (as I have written about elsewhere).

I constantly thought of suicide as a way to end my suffering. Paradoxically, this knowledge that I could end my pain allowed me to carry on (although one suicide attempt very nearly killed me, as I have also written about elsewhere).

Mental pain, then, caused me, and has caused countless others, profound and protracted suffering. Such pain is also sometimes referred to as emotional, psychological or psychic pain. As one would expect, such a state of mind involves the sufferer experiencing deeply negative beliefs, feelings, thoughts and behaviours (which are likely, frequently, to be highly self-destructive).

The psychologist, Schneider, attributed the cause of such excruciating pain in the mind to frustrated psychological needs.

Many social psychologists, more specifically, attribute this almost unendurable mental anguish to being rejected by society, humiliation, and hurt feelings on a profound level.

 images 36 - Living With Mental Agony

Mental Agony And Sufferers Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):

We have seen in other articles that I have published on this site that those of us who suffered significant childhood trauma are at greatly increased risk of developing BPD than is the average person.

Research now indicates that those with this most serious of mental conditions (ie BPD) suffer more intense mental pain, on average, than those with any other psychiatric illness. This is borne out by the absolutely staggering statistic that 10% of BPD sufferers die by suicide suggesting that current care and treatment of such individuals is disgracefully inadequate. Indeed, much stigma still exists in association with a diagnosis of BPD, as the potentially fatal illness is generally very poorly understood.

The mental pain that sufferers of BPD experience is generally most intense in response to rejection and social isolation 

So utterly desperate can BPD sufferers become to escape their mental pain, with all its dementing effects, that they impulsively turn to behaviours that are self-destructive. These include:

– very excessive drinking

– self-harm (the self-inflicted physical pain floods the brain with endorphins which may temporarily alleviate psychologicaldistress).

– extreme overspending leading to massive and ruinous debt

– extreme gambling, leading to same effects as above

– violence/aggression (release of pent-up rage).

– sexual promiscuity/ sex addiction/ pornography addiction / sexual deviancy ( release of pent-up up tension, followed by self-loathing and self-disgust).

– hard drugs (in particular those with strong pain-killer effects such as morphine and heroin).

In fact, as may be partially inferred from the above list, research currently suggests that the mental suffering that BPD entails is even greater than was originally thought.

Possible Treatments:

This condition is so serious that expert help and advice is clearly essential.

Research suggests that some brain regions, such as the anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal cortex may be involved in the processing of both physical and mental pain. It follows from this that some treatments for physical pain, such a paracetomal, may, if taken over a long period, help to reduce mental  pain – however, more research into this is necessary.

Hypnosis, too, is used by some dentists in order to reduce the patient’s experience of pain so much that their dental work can be carried out without anaesthetic. Again, then, it follows hypnosis may be effective in also reducing mental pain.

Mindfulness, too, may help some individuals.

Resources:

audio lessn1 - Living With Mental Agony Hypnosis For Pain Relief (click here).

eBook:

61VHBbAyGwL. UY250  - Living With Mental Agony

 

Above eBook now available on Amazon for immediate download. Click here.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Night Terrors : Sleep Paralysis

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Night Terrors :  Sleep Paralysis

What Is Sleep Paralysis?

Perhaps three of four dozen times in my life, a very unnerving thing has happened to me whilst in bed : I have awoken to find myself completely and utterly paralyzed. Mercifully, however, it never lasted for more than about a minute.

The first time it occurred, this transient quality, though, did not stop me worrying. Did I have a tumour pressing against my spine? Was it incipient Parkinson’s disease? Did I have some terrifying and irreversible brain disease? Would I be dead within a month?

Imagine my relief when I discovered from my doctor that this condition was, in fact, not all that uncommon and was, apart from the psychological distress it causes, completely harmless.

The condition is a type of parasomnia (sleep disorder) that sometimes occurs when we wake directly from REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep – the stage of sleep in which we dream) and is called sleep  paralysis; it is also frequently accompanied by night terror (a feeling of intense anxiety, sometimes involving an irrational fear that one is under the control of some dark, malevolent, evil, omnipotent force).

During REM sleep the brain stem blocks bodily movement in order to prevent us from physically acting out our dreams. Also, during REM sleep, the brain produces images (the visual content of our dreams).

 

images83 - Night Terrors :  Sleep Paralysis

Above : During REM sleep we enter a state of atonia (paralysis). Sometimes, this persists for a short time on awakening abruptly from REM sleep, rendering us temporarily incapable of either movement or speech.

Sometimes, when we wake up abruptly from REM sleep, these processes are still operating (ie they have not switched themselves off). This results in us being awake and yet unable to move or, indeed, to speak. And, because the brain may still also be producing images, we may, as if being paralyzed and rendered temporarily mute were not enough to contend with, have also to endure frightening hallucinations, for good measure

Most unpleasant, you will agree.

A Simple Cure:

Fortunately, however, this distressing state is short lived – perhaps lasting a minute or less. Indeed, one can escape its grip by, if possible, initiating tiny bodily movements such as wiggling a toe, finger or, even, by just blinking.

Why Are Those Who Suffered Childhood Trauma At An Elevated Risk Of Experiencing Sleep Paralysis?

Because those of us who have experienced significant childhood trauma are more likely than the average person to suffer from sleep problems, it follows that we are, too, at an elevated risk of suffering from night terrors/sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis is also sometimes referred to as hynagogic or predormital sleep paralysis.

 

Resources:

Insomnia Beater Pack : Click here.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Jailed Parents: Effects On The Child

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Jailed Parents: Effects On The Child

Whilst neither of my parents were ever imprisoned, when I was about ten or eleven years old, after my parents had got divorced, my mother’s mentally ill, alcoholic, live – in – lover was frequently in and out of jail (primarily Brixton and Pentonville in London, if memory serves).

Despite his criminal inclinations, he always treated me well – except, that is, for driving me about in his (stolen) cars whilst very drunk indeed ( him, not me). Why my mother allowed this to happen is unclear as she surely must have known, or, at the very least, have suspected, what was going on, would she not?

Because of the emotional bond I developed with this less than entirely responsible man (he seemed to like me a lot more than my parents or brother did), I found the unpredictability of his presence somewhat distressing. Sometimes, too, a police car would station itself outside our house, waiting for his return so they could arrest him, I presume; I never asked – but the presence of these police vehicles was,to a child, unsettling, disconcerting and vaguely menacing.

 

Because of such experiences, I was intrigued to find out what the current research had to say about the possible effects upon child of having an incarcerated parent or primary caregiver.

images 217 - Jailed Parents: Effects On The Child

Whilst more research needs to be undertaken in connection with the question of the effects of parental imprisonment on the child (because, for example, some of the studies so far undertaken have been on a relatively low scale), evidence so far collected suggests the following effects may be experienced by children as a result of having a parent jailed:

Possible Effects On The Child Of Having A Parent Jailed:

– disruption in the development of the child-parent relationship

– poverty (due to loss of the parental income)

– social stigmatization

– reduced care

– reduced supervision

– development of mental health / behavioural problems, including anxiety, depression, regressive behaviour, aggression, running away, withdrawal, ‘clingy’ behaviour, eating disorders, poor school performance, sleep problems, hyperactivity and delinquency (Murray).

There also exists some evidence that girls may be more adversely affected by parental incarceration than boys and that having a mother jailed is more damaging than having a father jailed.

Finally, it should be pointed out, that, if the jailed parent was abusive, his/her imprisonment could actually benefit the child.

However, as I stated at the beginning of this article, more research in this area needs to be conducted.

Resources :

Children Of Incarcerated Parents (Youth.gov) : Click here.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 - Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

We have seen that those who have suffered significant childhood trauma are at an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders in their adult lives. In extreme cases, this may lead to what is known as psychomotor agitation. I explain what is meant by this term below. However, I wish to start by recounting my own experience of this most distressing of psychological conditions.

For at least three years in total, off and on, I could not take a bath. The reason for this was that, when I was in this state (each episode could last several months) I was too agitated to do so – I couldn’t relax enough to lie down in the water, or even sit in it, any more so than I could voluntarily immerse myself in molten iron.

So I showered instead, right? Wrong. I felt too agitated to even indulge in this activity, even though most people find showering extremely relaxing and pleasurable.

Instead, I carried out my ablutions with a damp flannel; however, I confess that even this frequently proved to be a challenge I could not meet. Anti-social? Well, yes, if I saw anyone : but I didn’t. I was living as a virtual recluse.

Of course, for people who haven’t experienced severe agitated depression, it is extremely difficult to imagine how acutely distressing it is to have to endure such psychological torment on a constant and unremitting basis.

I couldn’t even sit back in an armchair; I was, quite literally, always on the edge of my seat’ (so it seems the expression is not merely a metaphor).

In other words, I existed in a perpetual and unrelenting state of the most intense kind of agitation – permanently distracted and distraught. This led to a suicide attempt which left me in a coma in intensive care for five days, followed by hospitalizations and several courses of electro-convulsive shock therapy (ECT).

The name for this kind of profound, and highly distressing, restlessness is psychomotor agitation. I describe what is meant by this term below:

images 121 - Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

Symptoms Of Psychomotor Agitation:

– unintentional/ involuntary/ purposeless movement driven by an irresistible compulsion to do so,  feelings of inner tension, restlessness, anxiety and intense mental anguish and distress. These involuntary movements may include:

– pacing around the room

– hand wringing

 

Psychomotor agitation is found particularly frequently in those with bipolar disorder, substance abusers and those with psychotic depression (to read about all the other types of depression, click here).

Treatment:

Doctors may treat the disorder pharmacologically (ie. with medication) but it also often treated non-pharmocologically by means other F therapies such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga and other relaxation techniques.

Resources:

audio lessn2 - Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).    Overcome Fear And Anxiety. Click Here.

 

eBook:

51qVvYtAfUL. AA160  - Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

Above eBook now available from Amazon for instant download. Click here.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery