Category Archives: trauma

dissociative disorders treatment in southern california

What Are Dissociative Disorders?

Growing up in Western culture, there are certain aspects of life that become ingrained on our collective subconscious. Movies, music, TV, media, they all play a part. For better or worse, this unified understanding of topics and issues also plays a role with mental health. In the realms of dissociative disorders, these have largely received a collective understanding that has been forged by fiction.

That’s not to say it’s a completely false understanding. However, there is always more to the story. An easy way to illustrate this is by understanding that dissociative identity disorders were once called a multiple personality disorders. Movies and soap operas have long maintained this storyline for it’s surprising dramatic effect.

However, the caricatured display can help reveal the underlying symptom of dissociation. Quite simply, there is a dissociation (disconnection) when your thoughts, emotions, even perceptions are not a result of what is “really” happening.

For example, you are a 42-year-old woman but, from time-to-time you experience reality through the perceptions of a 7-year-old, and you behave as such, you may have a dissociative disorder (dissociative identity disorder to be precise).

What Are the Dissociative Disorders?

Dissociative disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by disruption and discontinuity in the normal integration of memory, identity, emotion, consciousness, motor control, and behavior (DSM-5). There are four main types of dissociative disorders:

  • Dissociative amnesia – Characterized by a person’s inability to recall important autobiographical information that would ordinarily be easily remembered. There are 5 types of amnesia: Localized amnesia, selective amnesia, generalized amnesia, systematized, and continuous amnesia.
  • Dissociative fugue/psychogenic fugue – Characterized by the sudden loss of memory of who they are and memories, they immediately adopt a new identity.
  • Depersonalization/derealization disorder – Characterized by episodes of detachment or unfamiliarity with one’s whole self or aspects of oneself.
  • Dissociative identity disorder/multiple personality disorder – Characterized by at least 2 distinct personality states

What Causes Dissociative Disorders?

Chronic childhood trauma is thought to be the underlying cause of dissociative disorders. They are a way to cope with a life experience. This may include repeated, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Or a highly toxic, dangerous, or unreliable foundation of life. Incredibly sad and unfortunate events can lead to a person’s mind reverting to this state.

Living in an unpredictable and unsafe family environment may cause the child to dissociate from reality during the more stressful moments. It is evident that the severity of dissociative disorder is directly proportional to the severity of childhood trauma experienced.

Some other causes of dissociative disorders may include:

  • Physical trauma such as head injury
  • Other mental disorders such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Some prescription drugs and recreational drugs

Signs and Symptoms of Dissociative Disorders

These depend on the type and severity of the disorder and may include:

  • Feeling disconnected from yourself
  • Sudden unexpected shifts in mood
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Derealisation—where you feel as though the world is not real
  • Significant memory loss
  • Identity confusion and adopting new identities
  • Being unable to concentrate

Diagnosis and treatment Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are complex mental disorders to diagnose. However, medical professionals follow the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5). The treatment options available include:

  1. Providing a safe and relaxed environment
  2. Using medication such as barbiturates
  3. Hypnosis to repress memories
  4. Psychotherapy which is a long-term form of treatment
  5. Stress management
  6. Treating co-occurring disorders

 Complications of dissociative disorders

Without treatment, a person with a dissociative disorder may suffer the following complications:

  • Insomnia and other sleep-related disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Severe depression
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Drug use-related disorders such as alcoholism
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Difficult social life and broken relationships

Help for Dissociative Disorders in Newport Beach, California

If you or a loved are experiencing the symptoms of dissociation, please call us for help today. Lido Wellness is a premier outpatient mental health facility in Newport Beach, California. We specialize in the treatment of many mental health issues, including a high competency and success in treating trauma and trauma related disorders.

If you or a loved one are dealing with issues regarding mental health, we can help

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PTSD Treatment in Newport Beach From a Psychiatric Perspective

By Kimberly Brown, MD, Psychiatrist at Lido Wellness Center


Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that often occurs in patients who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic incident. The incident can be anything from a natural disaster, an act of war, a criminal or terrorist act, or a personal assault, be it mental, emotional, or physical. High quality PTSD treatment in Newport Beach is the bridge to healing for many individuals.

There are answers for patients and families seeking psychiatric care for trauma treatment. Orange County mental health treatment center, Lido Wellness Center, answers the top questions related to PTSD psychiatry and trauma treatment.

How is Someone Diagnosed with PTSD?

For an adult to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must consistently exhibit all the following symptoms for at least one month.[1] Any or all of these symptoms can affect the patient’s ability to conduct routine tasks.

  • One or more re-experiencing symptom
  • One or more avoidance symptom
  • Two or more arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • Two or more cognition and mood symptoms

Re-experiencing symptoms include trauma flashbacks that may or may not include physical symptoms such as racing heart, nightmares, and startling thoughts.

Avoidance symptoms include avoiding places, people, objects, conversations, and thoughts that remind them of the traumatic event. If the event was a natural disaster, the patient might be triggered by any type of weather event.

Arousal and reactivity symptoms include feeling “on edge,” being easily startled, having trouble sleeping, and having angry outbursts.

Arousal symptoms are usually constant instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry.

Cognition and mood symptoms include foggy memory of the initial traumatic event, negative thinking, distorted assignment of shame or guilt, and loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. They may feel alienated from family or friends.[1]

Some of the symptoms are normal after someone experiences trauma. However, if symptoms continue or intensify after a month or if the symptoms hinder one’s ability to function as usual before the event, it could be a strong indicator that professional PTSD treatment is needed.

What Are the Different Types of Therapies and Treatments For PTSD?

PTSD treatment in Newport Beach will vary depending on the patient’s needs and disorder severity. Either a psychiatrist or a therapist trained in trauma can be the primary mental health provider for trauma treatment.

For severe symptoms, medication and therapy combine for the best outcome. Orange County patients and patients across the county have succeeded with various psychological methods.

Some of the most effective interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder are medications that only a licensed psychiatrist (MD or DO) can prescribe. Other non-prescription methods that professionals employ include “talk therapy,” exposure therapy, and cognitive restructuring.

Why Some People Develop PTSD After a Traumatic Event and Others Don’t

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects everyone differently; most people do not develop the condition. The frequency of PTSD in the United States is 8% to 9% and affects roughly 25% to 30% of victims who experienced a significant traumatic event.[2]

Certain risk factors make a person more likely to develop PTSD than others. Common risk factors include injuries, witnessing another person’s injury or death, buried or repeated childhood traumas, history of substance abuse, extreme fear and helplessness, a history of mental illness, and lack of support after the traumatic event.[3]

Are There Physical Problems Associated with PTSD?

Adults who have been diagnosed with PTSD may experience elevated rates of several physical health conditions, including:[4]

  • Chronic aging disorders
  • Reduced physical functions
  • Gastritis
  • Radiating chest pain
  • Arthritis

Can You Prevent PTSD?

One cannot prevent trauma or the symptoms that may follow. However, studies have shown that several supporting factors aid in resilience and recovery following a traumatic event and can help prevent long-term PTSD symptoms.[5]

Remaining in continual contact with a support network and sharing their trauma experience can be beneficial. Identifying oneself in the survivor role instead of a victim will give a stronger sense of empowerment.

Finding ways to experience positive emotions such as laughter and looking for positive meaning in the experience can shift the perspective. Helping other survivors navigate their own healing process and believing in their ability to cope can positively affect post-traumatic events.

Consult Lido Wellness Center: PTSD Treatment in Newport Beach

If you or a loved one are struggling with symptoms of PTSD, we can help. At Lido Wellness Center, we’re dedicated to providing whole-person, patient-first PTSD treatment. Contact our offices today.








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How Somatic Experiencing Therapy Can Help with Trauma 3

How Somatic Experiencing Therapy Can Help with Trauma

The following are several common questions we hear about somatic therapy: “What is somatic experiencing therapy?” “How exactly does a somatic therapist help?” and “Does somatic therapy actually work?”

For those unfamiliar with trauma healing, this may be a new practice. Perhaps you or a loved one are ready to heal and wish to take a more holistic approach rather than relying solely on prescription medication. The Lido Wellness Center multidisciplinary team is here to help you answer all of these somatic therapy questions and share what you need to know about this insightful treatment.

What is Somatic Experiencing? (SE)

Somatic experiencing is a type of trauma therapy. This practice operates on the principle that past trauma can become trapped in the body and eventually lead to symptoms such as PTSD. Through this somatic experience, practitioners work to release that stress from the body.

First developed and practiced by Dr. Peter Levine in the seventies, somatic experiencing is designed to help patients increase their sense of awareness of their internal experiences. Dr. Levine, along with several researchers, conducted a study that demonstrated somatic experiencing helped restore core response network functionality (CRN) while considering the instinctive and natural reactions and protective mechanisms.[1]

They found that this practice proved effective when dealing with trauma and stress by using the patient’s attention to interoceptive, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic sensations. In laypeople’s terms, attention to gut instincts, physical movement, and tactile feeling.[1]

The human body possesses natural ways of regulating trauma response and the nervous system. Somatic experiencing practices natural release techniques of the negative symptoms of trauma.

Somatic practitioners and therapists believe the body’s inability to fully process a potentially traumatic event causes negative symptoms such as anxiety, shame, and aggression. Unresolved trauma can influence more serious physical, emotional, and mental health issues.

What To Expect During A Somatic Experiencing Session

Somatic Experiencing is a whole-body-focused therapy, so professionals may apply it across various disciplines such as psychotherapy, medicine, psychiatry, physical therapy, and even teaching.

A patient’s first somatic experiencing session will often be different from the sessions that follow. A commonly practiced form of somatic therapy involves the patient discussing their concerns, similar to other mental health therapies.

Going beyond discussion, somatic experiencing guides the patient’s focus toward the underlying physical responses. Moving the focus from the body, we strengthen the mind-body connection through exercises such as visualization, grounding, breathwork, meditation, dance, and massage.

There are also several subgroups of somatic experience that may be employed at the discretion of the practitioner including bioenergetic analysis, biodynamic psychotherapy, and brain-spotting. These are therapies that blend body, medical, and analytic modalities together for an even more comprehensive approach.

Somatic Experiencing Techniques

Each somatic experiencing session will be unique. However, there are several common threads to give a clearer picture of what to expect.

The therapist will help the patient develop a stronger awareness of their body, summon emotional resources, or encourage emotional release.

Grounding is a technique that requires contact with natural elements such as earth, fire, wind, and water to receive the positive electrical charges that can improve mental health.

Alternating the patient’s focus from a stressor to something that relieves tension is an effective way to help release tension.

Does Somatic Therapy Really Work?

Trauma is captured not only in the mind but in the memory banks of your physiology. Think of the common “fight, flight, or freeze” mechanism that can be triggered by a myriad of different events that all vary from person to person.

A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that somatic experiencing was an effective treatment for people with PTSD. Over 44% of patients included in the study reversed their PTSD diagnosis. Those who didn’t reverse the diagnosis experienced a reduction in negative symptoms.[2]

Somatic experiencing has been closely associated with other successful mindfulness techniques. But it takes a unique therapeutic stance by promoting healing without forcing an explicit retelling of past trauma.

Somatic Experiencing Therapy: Orange County’s Best

At our premier trauma treatment center in Orange County, Lido Wellness Center employs a whole-body, holistic approach to health, including mental, physical, and emotional wellness. Our center is a compassionate, patient-centered treatment center and a haven for people suffering from a variety of disorders and conditions.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about somatic experiencing therapy and mental health treatment, contact our offices today for a confidential assessment.








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Grief And Trauma: Understanding The Stages Of Emotional Recovery

When you experience a traumatic event, the world around you may seem to crumble and fall apart. Are you left wondering how to put your world back together again? In this period of uncertainty, it is easy for feelings of sadness and anxiety to set in about what may happen next.

Learning how to process grief during Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recovery is a crucial element in healing. Reducing the intense internal response to loss can begin with quelling anxiety about sadness and uncertainty. Symptoms of PTSD are a result of trauma or severe stress.

Working with a mental health professional can help you manage grief, trauma, and move through the stages of emotional recovery. Traumatic loss does not need to be overwhelming or debilitating, you can get help managing the symptoms. 

What Is A Traumatic Loss?

Traumatic loss is characterized as a traumatic reaction to an event such as an unexpected death, accident, or violence. A traumatic event may also include expected events such as the death of a loved one from a chronic illness. Emotions caused by traumatic loss may include separation anxiety, disbelief, or a sense of emptiness. 

Due to the nature of a traumatic event, it may be difficult for a person to move through the typical stages of emotional recovery. 

How Is Trauma-Related To Grief?

Traumatic grief is a combination of bereavement and PTSD symptoms that occur when an individual loses someone significant in their life. Symptoms of grief and trauma include: 

  • Preoccupation with the lost person
  • Hypervigilance for signs they are still around
  • Desire to be reunited with them despite knowing they’re gone
  • Difficulty moving on from this loss (future feeling hopeless)
  • Anger towards others or oneself 
  • Social difficulties due to extreme grief

Studies have reviewed traumatic loss among different groups and found symptoms generally fall into two categories. The first is separation distress, a preoccupation of thoughts and feelings associated with the deceased. The second is traumatic distress, which includes feelings of distrust and withdrawal from others. 

For example, young adults who lose a friend to suicide may experience separation distress symptoms such as preoccupation with thoughts of their lost loved one and longing for them. They might also feel traumatic distress including anger towards themselves or the deceased person’s family members as well as disbelief in God and trust issues.

What Are The Stages Of Emotional Recovery?

  1. Grief and denial 
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance 

The First Stage: Grief And Denial

Grief is an intense emotion that is caused by suffering a loss. Denial is a typical human reaction that occurs as a defense mechanism against experiences that are difficult to accept. Before learning to accept grief you will generally deny the loss. 

Thoughts like “This can’t be happening to me”, and “That couldn’t have happened”, are very common. However, denial will slowly give way to the realization of the situation. That’s when individuals move on to the second stage. 

The Second Stage: Anger

During the anger stage, people ask themselves “Why me?” They feel angry over their loss. This feeling exists for anyone close to the deceased. 

Anger is a common feeling during grief. You might feel anger at the person for causing pain, though you know they are not to blame. Anger is also connected with stages of isolation. Dealing with loss may cause an individual to disconnect from their support system. However,  expressing emotions such as anger allows one to reconnect and learn to cope with intense feelings.

The Third Stage: Bargaining

Bargaining is a way to try and hold on to hope in an intense situation of pain. You may be willing to do anything to return to your life before the loss. During this internal negotiation, guilt could be accompanying as there maybe thoughts like “if only”, or “what if.”

These thoughts and feelings are normal and expected during this stage. As difficult as these emotions may be, they will help you heal as you are confronting the reality of the loss. 

The Fourth Stage Of Emotional Recovery: Depression

The most obvious sign of grief and trauma is depression. Unlike other stages of emotional recovery, this stage comes with intense sadness and despair that can feel like a never-ending tunnel without the light at the end. It’s important to remember that this response is completely natural given the loss experienced. 

It’s understandable to question why you should continue when your world has been turned upside down. However, there will come a time where things get better. As intense as this feeling maybe it’s important to remember that it is part of your journey in healing. 

The Fifth Stage Of Emotional Recovery: Acceptance

Reaching acceptance does not mean you will forget about your loved one or no longer experience sadness over your loss. You’ve also learned when to reach out emotionally during difficult periods as needed.

When you are experiencing grief, it is normal to feel like there’s no end in sight. You might have times when you accept the loss and then later go back into a stage of denial or anger. This is a natural part of the process. 

Grief And Trauma: Recognizing The Symptoms Of Traumatic Loss

Severe symptoms related to loss are indications that the individual is suffering from something more than typical bereavement. It’s estimated that 10-15% of bereaved individuals are suffering from a traumatic loss. 

Traumatic loss symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage without professional help. Symptoms may last for several years and vary based on each individual. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s normal day-to-day functioning. That’s why it’s important to recognize symptoms and seek help immediately. 

Get Help Moving Through The Stages Of Emotional Recovery 

Lido Wellness Center offers therapeutic solutions that can help you or your loved one work through traumatic loss. To recover from loss, it’s important to be able to move through the stages of emotional recovery. Our mental health professionals understand how grief and trauma relate and can help overcome the challenges it prevents.

Contact us today to learn more about our mental health solutions. We can help you cope with pain or death, as well as teach you to reconnect with activities and relationships that are supportive and enjoyable.

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