Mental Health

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating mental health conditions that includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since mental illness affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
How Trauma Impacts Mental Health
Trauma can result from a physically or emotionally harmful event or set of circumstances. The event might have been life-threatening with lasting effects on an individual’s mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 61 percent of men and 51 percent of women in the U.S. will experience at least one-lifetime traumatic event.  If trauma goes untreated, a person may develop mental illness and dependence on substances, such as drugs and alcohol. 
The Body’s Response to Trauma
Traumatic events are experiences that put a person or someone close to them at risk of serious harm or death. These may include:
  • Violence/prolonged abuse
  • Car accidents
  • Debilitating illnesses
  • Natural disasters
When a person survives a traumatic event, their body’s defenses activate and create a stress response. This response can make them feel a variety of physical symptoms and intense emotions, causing them to behave differently.  Fight or flight responses can lead to the following symptoms:
  • Increased heart rate
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Increased sweating
  • Reduced stomach activity, such as loss of appetite
After a traumatic event, it’s common for a person to experience shock and denial for the first few weeks. However, once they process the event, they may experience bouts of sadness, anger, and guilt. Some people recover gradually, but others may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression. 
PTSD
PTSD is a psychological disorder that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Individuals with this disorder may experience disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that can last years after the event has ended. They may relieve the traumatic experience through flashbacks and nightmares, and they may become estranged from their loved ones.  Furthermore, individuals with PTSD may avoid situations and people that remind them of the event. They may also present strong, adverse reactions to something as mundane as a loud noise.  Symptoms of PTSD include:
  • Avoiding reminders: A person may avoid reminders of the traumatic event, which can consist of places, activities, objects, and situations that provoke distressing memories. 
  • Intrusive thoughts: A person may experience involuntary memories and distressing dreams of the traumatic event. 
  • Negative thoughts: A person may experience distorted beliefs about themselves or others, ongoing fear, shame, and a reduced interest in activities. 
  • Arousal and reactive symptoms: A person may become irritable and have angry outbursts, and they may also behave recklessly.
Depression
Depression is a psychological disorder that can negatively impact the way a person feels, thinks, and acts. This disorder can result in a variety of physical and emotional problems that can decrease a person’s ability to function at work, school, or home.  Symptoms of depression include:
  • Feeling perpetually sad
  • Changes in appetite, leading to fluctuating weight
  • Loss of interest
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Thoughts of suicide
Symptoms must persist for at least two weeks to receive a diagnosis. 
Treatment Options
PTSD, depression, and other mental health disorders resulting from trauma are treatable. Treatment options include medication, psychotherapy, cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, stress inoculation training, and more. Some people turn to an inpatient treatment center that can provide them with personal care and tools to help them reclaim their life.