Symptoms of increased arousal sometimes emerge as the most prominent and distressing clinical symptoms (e.g., hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, chronic sleep disturbance, generalized fear/anxiety). Although upsetting and disruptive, such responses may sometimes be viewed as “peripheral manifestations” of a PTSD syndrome not yet fully activated that serve to “block out” intrusive traumatic recollections, flashbacks, and associated affect. While increased arousal symptoms may serve to keep specific trauma-related stimuli outside their conscious level of awareness, such individuals appear extremely tense, rigid, fearful and anxious, and are unable to relax as they constantly on the lookout for the next “bomb to drop.”

Mervin Smucker

For individuals with a borderline personality disorder, life is a daily challenge often filled with intense emotional pain. They appear to be living through one crisis after another and often see themselves as incapable of changing or underserving of a life worth living. Dialectical behavioral therapy is a treatment developed by Marsha Linehan (1993) designed to treat borderline phenomena, and is based on the notion that people with difficulty managing their emotions have never learned certain critical skills or how to apply them. DBT teaches individuals to increase awareness of thoughts and feelings, improve their ability to tolerate distress, and regulate emotions. DBT is based on well-researched and tested cognitive and behavioural therapy principles and has consistently produced positive therapeutic effects.

Dr. Mervin Smucker is an international trauma consultant and author of numerous articles and books on trauma and cognitive-behavioural therapy interventions.

Mervin Smucker on YouTube (german)
Download Mervin Smucker's free presentations