An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, and 20 percent of these people go on to develop full-blown Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition, many people who have not experienced a life-threatening event experience lasting distress related to “traumatic invalidation,” including re-experiencing of distressing events, avoiding reminders of traumatic memories, and negative self-talk related to the experiences. Individuals who are experiencing post-traumatic responses are at higher risk for substance abuse, self-injury, suicidal ideation, and relationship difficulties. The good news is that most people benefit greatly from appropriate mental health treatment, and go on to report fully re-engaging in their lives.
Evidence-based treatment of trauma responses involve careful assessment, followed by psychoeducation and a specific trauma protocol, such Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE). For individuals who also experience high-risk urges and behaviors, DBT-Informed Prolonged Exposure Therapy (DBT-PE) is the first evidence-based treatment deemed both safe and effective.