CNL 545 Impact of Crisis & Trauma on Individuals with Mental Health Diagnoses Paper


Topic 2 DQ 1 (Obj. 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3)

Assessment Description

Describe the key psychological, somatic, cognitive, neurological, and behavioral symptoms counselors must be aware of when counseling a client with trauma and other mental health diagnoses.

This discussion question is informed by the following CACREP Standard:

5.C.2.f. Impact of crisis and trauma on individuals with mental health diagnoses.

Peer Responses:

Jamie HayhurstIt 

is likely that everyone will face trauma at some point in their lives. It is not limited to a certain population or people group. This means that counselors must be not only multiculturally aware but also aware of symptoms of other mental health diagnoses and the impacts of trauma. Normal emotional reactions “include anger, fear, sadness, and shame” (Center for abuse trauma, 2014). Somatic symptoms can also occur like gastrointestinal, respiratory, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular issues. It is always wise for a medical professional to check out clients complaining of somatic symptoms to make sure there is not a real medical issue as well. Cognitive issues can occur as trauma often challenges one’s beliefs about the world. It can be simple errors and misinterpretation of things as dangerous because it is like the trauma the client faced, or it could be as intense as hallucinations and delusions. Behavioral symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. There isn’t a normal behavioral response to trauma. Some people may use coping skills they know, others might drink, and others may self-harm. Avoidant behavior, compulsive behaviors, or impulsive behaviors are also not uncommon. When a client has other mental health diagnoses prior to the trauma these symptoms may be more intense. A client’s culture also affects how they react to trauma. PTSD can occur or subthreshold trauma symptoms, which are symptoms that limit one’s ability to function normally but do not meet the criteria for PTSD. “Like PTSD, the symptoms can be misdiagnosed as depression, anxiety, or another mental illness” (Center for abuse trauma, 2014). It is important for counselors to utilize assessments and DSM-5 to properly diagnose clients so they can create the best treatment plan possible for them.Tami DiazTrauma affects everyone differently, even within the same experience. How they are affected depends on their personality, developmental processes, the type and characteristics of the event, the perception of the trauma, and sociocultural factors (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2014). Many of these symptoms could easily be tied to other mental illnesses or even swept under the rug as unrellated. Therefore, it is important that counselors are aware of not only the symptoms in general but how trauma may present differently in each client. Psychological symptoms include denial, anger, sadness, numbness, fear, shame, anxiety, and hopelessness (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2014). Somatic symptoms: insomnia, exhaustion, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, heart palpitations, weight loss, and lowered immunity (Gupta, 2013). Most often those with somatic symptoms will go to a primary care doctor rather than a counselor, therefore, counselors should work in conjunction with doctors to get a full understanding of the client’s symptoms. Cognitive symptoms: nightmares, intrusive thoughts, distorted thinking, flashbacks, hyperarousal, and disconnection (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2014). Neurological symptoms: lowered executive functioning, self-regulation, processing speed, memory loss, and attention deficits (Belrose et al., 2020). Behavior symptoms may include irritability, impulsivity, being easily startled, and substance use.

Cecilia Cano

Most people will and have to experience some type of trauma in their lives, causing a variety of psychological emotions. People who have experienced physical trauma can experience somatic symptoms, which feels like a disconnection from one’s body (Jitender et al., 2007). For example, somatic symptoms are often seen in those who have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence. In addition, those experiencing trauma can have a long-term negative impact on their cognitive function. A cognitive decline can affect the ability to focus, problem-solving skills, planning, and executing functions (Jitender et al., 2007). Neurological trauma can affect various body parts, including the organs, blood vessels, muscles, and bones. Additionally, trauma can cause a variety of behavioral changes, such as fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, and depression. A counselor must identify the symptoms of the client’s traumatic event to ensure that the counselor is providing the necessary support and treatment plan to make a positive change. Overall, emotional stress can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cause psychological, somatic, cognitive, neurological, and behavioral symptoms. Individuals who are having difficulty coping with trauma can use a variety of evidence-based therapies to help them overcome and find positive coping skills. 

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