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23 Feb 2004

trauma therapy
hi doc

I was in an armed robbery a couple of years ago.. the problem is that everyone thinks that im a diffrent person now.. that im not as happy i was b4.

If im sleeping and my fiance tries to snuggle with me i wake up screaming. my whole body tenses.. the screaming is usually followed by shaking and uncontrolable laughing... probably hysterics. I have also become quite afraid of the dark even tho it happened in daylight. An im getting quite paranoid.. im afraid of groups of men together ( there were 3 of them)

I had trauma therapy after the incident but i didnt really talk it over with her.

I started trauma therapy again a few months ago (my fiance asked me to go as he goit tired of my screaming episodes) and when i was there we talked about it once and never again.. im not sure if i purposley avoided it or if i just dont have any problems with it. I have stopped going to this therapy ( i told my fiance she said i didnt need to go back)

do you think the screaming has anything to do with the incident (it happened in daylight) and do u know of anyway i can stop this from happening.. im starting to scare my fiance!!
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Sara,
it sounds as if whatever "trauma therapy" you had soon after the incident was unhelpful, and I wonder if it isn't the much promoted but useless "Debriefing" which is sadly popular, though it often leaves people worse off than if nothing was done.
You seem to be describing a post-traumatic stress disorder or variant thereof, wich ought to respond well to proper treatment, possibly combining psychological therapy (NOT debriefing !), perhaps cognitive-behaviour therapy, and medication from the SSRI antidepressants which also can help considerably. And whatever this more recent episode of "trauma therapy" was ( I hesitate because there is no recognized specific unique form of therapy by that name ), it also sounds as if it was too brief and superficial to make much difference.
It won't help to minimise this condition and pretend it'll just fade away on its own --- after 2 years, it hasn;t faded away. The waking screaming does sound like it is likely to be related to the earlier trauma, and a range of symptoms including bad dreams, a sense of re-living the experience, etc., are common in these circumstances --- and of course it's understandable how alarming this must be for your bf.
Maybe it'd be better for you to see a psychiatrist for a fuller assessment of your current state, and advice on treatment options --- post-traumatic problems like this can be very chronic ( some men are still having nightmares from experiences in World War 2 ) but can and do respond to proper treatment. But don't chicken out of treatment after only a couple of sessions --- see it through, this time !


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