Can Adults Have ADHD?

Young boy holds ADHD text written on sheet of paper

There is a lot of confusing data and information about Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which presents itself in people by age 12. The information suggests that as people age, many grow out of it while others do not. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 8.7% of adolescents have ADHD, with nearly 3 times as many males (13.0%) as females diagnosed (4.2%). Meanwhile, the data suggest that 4.4% of adults experience ADHD with the gender gap narrowing significantly (5.4% for adult males versus 3.3% for adult females). About 14 million adults experience Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the United States, and only 20 percent (3 million) of them seek help for it. Many consider ADHD a diagnosis for children and they are correct that the symptoms are present in childhood; however, there are many adults that were never diagnosed as children and continue to face the challenges of ADHD as adults.


There do tend to be some differences. For one, the overall adult rate of ADHD is about half the rate of childhood ADHD, indicating many grow out of it or learn to adapt in such a way that the disorder no longer impairs their functioning and quality of life. The severity of ADHD tends to decline with age, which may indicate that people learn to adapt on their own as they age, though for some, their responses to ADHD are maladaptive and they tend to display more antisocial behavior as an adult. Hyperactivity also tends to decline with age; where many children tend to wander, climb, squirm, and move around at inappropriate times, most adults with ADHD don’t act on these behaviors and tend to display more fidgetiness, inner feelings of restlessness, or impatience instead. Difficulties with inattention, poor planning, impulsivity, and restlessness tend to persist into adulthood.

Another major difference between child and adult ADHD is that adults have different responsibilities than children which can make navigating ADHD more challenging. Behaviors of inattention and hyperactivity have more severe consequences in adult relationships and the workplace than they do in childhood relationships and school. When we don’t pay attention in school and do poorly, the consequences of a poor grade are less likely to affect livelihood than missing important information at work and being dismissed. The inattentive as well as hyperactive/impulsive features of ADHD also increase the risk of being in a car crash, as well as the risk of developing issues with addiction. These are dangers that are not as prevalent to children.


There is no known cause of ADHD. The present information is unclear and new studies are working on trying to further understand ADHD every year. The strongest argument is genetics, but there are some links to possible environmental causes during development. Additionally, there are arguments that ADHD represents normal diversity in our brain chemistry, just as we humans have diversity in hair color, body-types, and athletic abilities. Others suggest that there are cultural factors at play, which is why so many more boys are diagnosed compared to girls and reasons to why the gender gap decreases significantly with age.


There can be a lot of reasons that a child growing up goes undiagnosed. One issue that comes up is awareness. The modern understanding and definition of ADHD is relatively new. Although documentation suggests that pediatricians had noticed symptoms of ADHD as early as the 1900s, it didn’t gain public awareness until the 1980s when it was called attention deficit disorder (ADD). Once a diagnosis was in the public health consciousness, diagnoses among kids began to climb as doctors, mental health professionals, teachers, and parents were now able to recognize the symptoms and diagnose the condition. Most of today’s adults did not have the opportunity that children have today regarding mental health.

Other barriers to diagnosis come with the difficulty of assessing normal developmental challenges for children versus ADHD. Is a disorganized child who refuses to do homework improperly motivated or struggling with a mental health issue? Is a spacey, wandering child just marching to the beat of their own drum, or dealing with something else? These are difficult questions to answer and given that half of children diagnosed with ADHD will grow out of it, sometimes it may feel like a better option to caretakers to let kids be and see what happens.


There are two main categories of symptoms, or characteristics in ADHD: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. The characteristics of adults with ADHD tend to impair performance at work and in interpersonal relationships. People with ADHD tend to have challenges with work, sustaining energy for tasks at work, doing mundane tasks, applying for jobs, attendance, and have higher rates of unemployment compared to the rest of the population. Difficulties with sustaining attention, hyperactivity or impulsivity tend to make it difficult for people with ADHD to attentively listen in conversations, wait their turn, or plan out their actions.

Inattentive Symptoms

  • Difficulty with paying close attention to details; tends to make careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted, both by external stimuli and one’s own thoughts, often daydreaming
  • Poor follow-through; difficulty sustaining attention in tasks
  • Difficulty with organization; tends to be messy, miss deadlines, and has poor time management
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities; often loses things
  • Difficulty in listening to others
  • Avoidance, dislike, or reluctance to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort; often leads to procrastination

Hyperactive/Impulsive Symptoms

  • Frequent fidgeting, tapping, or squirming while seated; extreme difficulty sitting still
  • Restlessness; acts as if being driven by a motor
  • Tends to be noisy; difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Talks excessively, interrupts others, difficulty waiting their turn
  • Often leaves seat or place in situations where remaining still is expected
  • Acts without thinking of consequences; impulsive

Can Therapy Help with ADHD?

Yes, it can. Therapy can help in a variety of ways including using techniques to increase attention span and reduce impulsivity. Therapy can be helpful in learning skills that do not come naturally and identifying unhelpful reactions. Counseling can also be used to treat anxiety, depression, or substance use which many people with ADHD also experience. Nutritional counseling can also be important to help treat symptoms.

Do I Need Insurance for ADHD Therapy?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in Portland or near the Portland area and want information or help with ADHD,



ADHD Help in Portland

Family talking with therapist about son's ADHD

If we apply the national average statistics to the city of Portland, we can estimate that about 26 thousand Portland adults have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Therapy and counseling can help people manage ADHD. Before we get into the benefits of counseling and therapy, let’s define ADHD.

What Is ADHD?

In layman terms, ADHD is a condition which causes people to have persistent issues with inattention, or hyperactivity/impulsivity which interferes with functioning in multiple areas of life. ADHD is considered a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means it’s a challenge of mental, emotional, and/or behavioral development where the onset is observable by childhood. Brain imaging shows that people with ADHD experience differences in brain development which tend to impair impulse control, planning, decision making, stress management, and emotional regulation. As a result of these brain differences, people with ADHD tend to struggle with school, social relationships, and work. Additionally, people with ADHD have increased risk for substance abuse, behavioral addictions (like video games), depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems.

Multiple Types of ADHD

Some people are the inattentive type, others are the hyperactive/impulsive type, and some people have both. Inattentive types have short attention spans while hyperactive types have impulse control challenges. For a full list of symptoms for both types, click on our ADHD Symptoms page. Some theorize that ADHD is even more complex and there may be up to seven types of ADHD.

Inattention typically means challenges with behaviors of wandering off of tasks, lacking persistence or follow-through, have difficulty sustaining focus, and disorganization. People with Inattentive ADHD can often struggle with following through with jobs that require sustained focus, carelessness, active listening, forgetfulness, losing things, and organizing.

Hyperactivity indicates excessive body movement/motor activity, excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talkativeness.

Impulsivity refers to making actions without thinking them through, or difficulty with delaying gratification. People with Hyperactive/Impulsive type ADHD often struggle with being able to sit still or engage normally in conversation as they tend to have difficulty with interrupting others.

What Causes ADHD?

It is unclear what causes ADHD and the observable differences in brain development. In the search for an answer, new research is conducted every year. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that the total spending on ADHD research ranges from $143 billion to $266 billion a year. The following possible causes are currently being investigated: genetics (studies in twins), environment during development can also be a factor, and smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy may be a factor.

An alternative idea is that ADHD is not a disorder at all, but part of the diversity of our species which is not quite as adaptable to modern life (which would explain the genetic component). People with ADHD tend to be impatient, energetic, creative, spontaneous, break societal norms, and sometimes even have a unique ability for hyper-focus on tasks they find engaging. When harnessed, these can be the traits of artists, leaders, revolutionaries, and inventors. Often, the challenge is when the base traits of ADHD impair functioning in the focused tasks our modern society requires.

Is There a Cure for ADHD?

There is no cure for ADHD, and a “cure” suggests that ADHD is an illness, rather than a challenge of adapting. It is important to note that ADHD can be managed so that people who experience it can adapt and thrive in their lives. Research demonstrates that mindfulness and meditation practices have been shown to increase attention and reduce hyperactivity in people with ADHD compared to control groups. Other research demonstrates that nutritional changes, exercise, and psychotherapy are also helpful in reducing symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Other research suggests that medication management and working with one’s support network are also helpful treatment options.

Can Therapy Help with ADHD?

Yes, therapy is an important tool for helping learn skills that may not come naturally, learning new behaviors, and finding new processes. Therapy has shown to help kids do better at school and adults do better at work. As stated above, it’s also been shown to be helpful with increasing attention and reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity. Therapy is also helpful for those diagnosed with ADHD to do better at home. At Mindful Healing Portland, we also specialize in providing meditation training and nutritional counseling.

Do I Need Insurance for ADHD Therapy?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in or near the Portland area and want information or help with ADHD,


Why is it Hard to Ask for Help When I’m Depressed?

Mindful Healing_Why is it Hard to Ask for Help When I’m Depressed_fi

Depression impacts many more people than you may think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people suffer from depression globally, about 4% of the world population. Given that the world population is not regularly screened for depression, the rates are probably even higher. In the U.S. about 6.7% of the population experiences at least one depressive episode each year. You are not alone if you are feeling depressed. Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe. Someone with a mild depressive episode can experience loss of interest or pleasure in their normal activities, low-mood, irritability, changes in sleep and appetite, reduced energy, low esteem, or problems with concentration (not necessarily all, but a mix of some of these symptoms) for at least two weeks. These challenges lead to personal distress, or difficulty in managing work, social, home or other domains in life.

Many of the barriers to seeking help include logistics, cost, and time. We covered these two obstacles in our previous post, Affordable Help for Depression in Portland. In this article, we want to cover other factors that may prevent you from seeking help and remind you that these concerns are natural and common.

“I feel I can handle it on my own.”

And to be fair, you totally may be able to endure. Plenty of people live with ongoing depression, gritting their teeth and bearing it. Getting help or therapy isn’t about being less than or make you weak. In fact, when it feels hard to ask for help, asking for help is a sign of courage and strength. Therapy is about developing insight, learning new skills to cope, and lightening your load in the meantime, so that you can handle it yourself later on.

Sometimes we don’t ask for help because there is a social stigma that we should be able to “handle it” ourselves. Terms like “pull yourself together” or “snap out of it” label depression as trivial or inconsequential. The fact is, it’s a very real condition and is no less significant than a broken bone or a severe illness. We wouldn’t encourage someone with a broken arm to just pull themselves together, nor should you have to treat a mental health disorder on your own. Typically, when we try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we face plant right into the dirt.

We may also feel that including someone else in our feelings of depression burdens them. And sometimes this may be true, other times it can be an unhelpful assumption the mind is making. In most cases, your close friends and family want to help, and want to share your burden. In fact, research shows that when we help others, we feel good about ourselves. That being said, everybody has their own capacity for emotional labor. If you’re worried about taxing somebody beyond their ability to cope, it may be helpful to ask “Hey, are you in a space to help me process? I have a lot going on and don’t want to burden you.” This eliminates the assumption and allows your friends and family to speak for themselves on what they can and are willing to handle. A professional counselor is willing to help, and is trained to deal in processing difficult emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

“I’m embarrassed about my depression.”

That’s totally normal. In fact, feelings of embarrassment, worthlessness, shame or excessive guilt are a symptom of depression. It’s ok to feel embarrassed, worthless, or guilty. Often when we experience such feelings, we tend to try to hide them from others, which paradoxically intensifies them. Communicating and sharing these feelings with others who are understanding often alleviates them. If nothing else, a therapist is sworn to confidentiality so your secret will be safe.

Asking for help may feel like a weakness and for some it may feel as if they have failed. We may also be concerned about how others will react. These are natural hesitations because they are unknowns. We may be concerned about what others think and how it reflects on us. If you choose to ask for help when it feels scary, that act of reaching out is a demonstration of strength and courage. Feeling or experiencing failure is not the end, it is a stern teacher on the path towards growth and success.

Why get help for depression?

Because, if treated, you will feel better, you won’t have to work as hard, and can find a place in which you’re thriving. Living with depression sucks. Ongoing depression is associated with developing physical health issues, decreased functioning, decreased quality of life, and increased mortality rates. Reaching out for help—either by getting professional support or reaching out to someone you trust—is an important step to overcoming the feelings of depression.

Do I need insurance to see a therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Depression,



Affordable Help for Depression in Portland

Smiling young woman with tattoos talking with counselor

Though it may feel like it, if you are struggling with Depression, you are not alone. One of the symptoms of depression is feeling alone and isolated from others. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that about 16.1 million adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of the adult American population. Here in Portland, Oregon the data indicates that even more people struggle with depression compared to the average American city.

The numbers are more staggering when you factor how many of these individuals are seeking help. Only one third of those diagnosed seek help for depression—this also does not factor in the totality of people who have not been diagnosed. Some of the barriers to seeking help include: concerns over the stigma of having a mental health issues (and that’s hard because it’s relatively normal), the notion that we should be able to fix ourselves, or guilt in asking for help and feeling like a burden. Another reason why we don’t ask for help is a systemic issue—the economy and finances.

Cost is the biggest barrier to seeking help for depression.

According to Psychology Today, almost half (47.7 percent) of those diagnosed with depression do not seek help due to assumptions about the cost of treatment. This reasoning ranks over other barriers such as not wanting to burden others, or not knowing how to seek help. Some of the pessimistic assumptions over cost are symptoms of depression itself, which causes pessimistic thinking. When we are feeling low, sad, or hopeless, we may not feel like ANYTHING will work.

Is help with depression affordable?

Help with depression is affordable and you do not need insurance. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland, LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale based on your budget and needs. Part of our mission is to provide high-quality care without adding undue financial stress to our clients. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

Why get help for depression?

Depression is a treatable condition. Mood can improve—helping you feel better, and improve energy, health, relationships, and quality of life as a whole. If that’s not enough reason, consider that depression is the number one cause of disability in the United States. Untreated mental health issues are associated with increased mortality rates, heart health issues, digestive issues, and increases in chronic pain. Reaching out for help, either by getting professional support or reaching out to someone you trust, is an important step in overcoming the isolating feeling of depression. Feeling alone and burdensome is a common symptom of depression and paradoxically asking for help can aid in in feeling less burdensome and less lonely.

If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Depression,



How Soon is Too Soon for Couples’ Therapy?

Psychologist taking notes during couple counseling session

Technically there is no “too soon” for Couples’ Therapy. There are many cases when couples begin therapy as early as 6 months or sooner. In fact, millennials are opting for couples’ therapy much sooner than their counterparts a generation ago. The biggest factor in this new trend is a better understanding of what couples’ therapy is.


There used to be the notion that couples’ therapy was an after-the-fact solution, like repairing or saving a relationship after an affair. Couples’ therapy is much more than that, it involves learning communication skills, coping styles, personal goals, problem solving, and values. Couples can experience many challenges at any stage in a relationship. Some of the most common problems include sex, finances, differences in how much free time should be spent together, differences in standards of cleanliness, jealousy, addictions, and family issues. Therapy can provide a safe and fair way for couples to navigate these issues. These are also tools that can last through the future of the relationship, too.


Conflicts, and fighting early in a relationship, do not determine if you are a good match or not. It simply means that there is a challenge in problem solving, communicating, or some other dynamic. These are skills that can be developed and refined. Some of the biggest struggles in communication that tend to end relationships include personal criticism (rather criticizing individual acts/behaviors), contempt, defensiveness, reactivity, lack of relationship repair, and disconnection/stonewalling behavior.

The biggest red flags when it comes to conflict are signs of abusive behavior, which can be emotional, physical, sexual or financial. Common examples of emotional abuse include yelling, manipulation, name-calling, shaming, humiliation, constant criticism, threats (to you or themselves), ultimatums, discouraging social time with other people, discouraging personal empowerment (denying right to work, school…etc.), withholding affection, and invasion of privacy. Common physical abuses include hitting, spitting, choking, any bodily harm, threats, intimidating postures/gestures, physical restraint, or denying your right to leave a place. Common sexual abuses include unwanted touching/fondling, rape, forced uncomfortable sexual scenarios, forced painful sex, non-consensual sex, derogatory name-calling, and withholding sex as an ultimatum. If you think you are in an abusive relationship and feel unsafe or cannot get out, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you identify as a female, a great local resource here in Portland, OR is the Gateway Center.


No. Couples therapy can do many things. It can clarify concerns, goals, and values. It helps couples learn healthier methods to interact more productively. It provides a safe and fair way for couples to be vulnerable and express themselves. It can also help you figure out how to solve your problems. Many times, these changes create healthy, growth-oriented relationships. But couples’ therapy cannot and should not fix all relationships. Sometimes people are healthier as friends, or not having a relationship at all. The goal of couples’ counseling is not necessarily to save a relationship, but to create a space for the people in a relationship to get to a healthier space and create a healthy values-based relationship as part of that interaction, whatever that looks like.


The biggest trend in healthcare is prevention. And really—it is not that new of a concept. You brush your teeth to prevent cavities. You watch your cholesterol to prevent heart disease. So on and so on. Couples’ therapy can give your relationship the best foundation possible. You can have tools coming out of the gate and prevent miscommunication from the beginning.


No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or are in need of Couples’ Therapy,



Top 3 Reasons Couples Seek Counseling in Portland

Woman and man holding hands, Happy couple holding hand in hand love in the parks, Expressing love. concept couple lover valentine day.

Portland, Oregon has a divorce rate of 12.5%, which is nearly 2% higher than the national average. When you isolate for millennials, Portland, Oregon ranks number 1 in both divorces per population and divorces per married. Unfortunately, this makes Portland, Oregon the divorce capital for millennials.

When researchers dug further into the reason for these millennial divorce statistics, it appears that the reason has less to do with the environment and more to do with the age at which couples marry. Couples in Portland, Oregon tend to marry younger than in other cities.

So, what are the primary reasons couples struggle? What tools are younger couples missing that older couples seem to have? And how can a therapist help? Good questions. Let’s tackle them one by one.


There are multiple reasons why a couple seeks therapy. Most of them can be broken into one of three categories; breach of trust, frequent conflicts, and general feeling of detachment. Below are three common reasons why couples seek counseling and how Couples’ Counseling can help.


Breach of trust is not always from infidelity or an affair. Trust is a major foundation in any relationship, and it can be weakened by lies and deceptions about finances and emotions, too. It’s hard to have a healthy relationship when we feel betrayed and it can be challenging to heal and move forward. Counseling provides a safe space for both parties to express their vulnerabilities, concerns, and move forward in a constructive way.


Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Relationships involve multiple people who have different perceptions about the world and themselves, with each person having different needs and desires. On top of that, as humans, we’re always changing. Conflict is natural, and necessary, for relationships to evolve. Healthy conflict leads to problem-solving and growth. Unhealthy conflict is often filled with contention, agitation, and leads towards distancing.

There are all sorts of unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict; for some conflict looks like full-blown shouting, others it can be violent, and with others it comes in snide remarks or passive-aggressive comments. Conflicts don’t always have to be direct or aggressive, they can internalize without the other partner even knowing it.

Another unhealthy conflict pattern can be avoidance. Often, the desire to avoid conflict causes people to avoid addressing their problems, and getting their needs met. This coping behavior tends to leave problems unsolved and builds resentment.

It can be concerning when these unhealthy conflict patterns or avoidance patterns increase in their frequency, intensity, or duration day-to-day, week-to-week. New or sudden conflicts, agitation, or irritation can be symptoms of unresolved challenges. Counseling can help identify the root of the conflict and teach coping mechanisms to manage conflict in a healthy way that lead towards growth.


Typically, in healthy relationships we feel open and connected with our partners, and in new relationships this is often the case and feels wonderful. Over time, this may change, and when our partner feels closed-off, withdrawn, or retreats inside their own head, it tends not to feel so good. Typically, we respond to our partner’s disconnecting from us by disconnecting ourselves, creating a major gap in the relationship. Sometimes this can be accepted as a new norm, or lead to resentment, hostility, or ending a relationship. Therapy can help with identifying barriers to openness, connectivity and work with you as a couple to create solutions.


While we stated that millennials have the highest divorce rate, they are also adopting couples’ therapy as a solution sooner than earlier generations. In fact, a university study about couples’ therapy reports 51% of millennial couples are likely to seek out some kind of relationship counseling.


No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in Portland or the Portland area and are in need of Couples’ Counseling,



Seeking Help with PTSD in Portland

Man and woman holding hands at a table

How Many People Experience PTSD in Portland?

Currently there is no data for the prevalence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for Portland, Oregon, so the best things we have to look at are the national data, estimates, and other relevant information. Some of the research shows that between 55-70% of the U.S. population will experience a trauma during their lifetimes; and that about 8% of the American population will develop PTSD in their lifetimes, with about 5% of the population experiencing PTSD right now. Current data suggests that cis-women develop PTSD at higher rates than cis-men, though some argue that this is a result of the fact that cis-men are more reluctant to report symptoms compared to cis-women. There is a lack of comprehensive data about non-binary and trans-folk with regards to gender statistics. Additionally, most researchers believe that due to stigma, mental health symptoms are under-reported. If we were to use the national estimates as conservative guidelines, it would suggest that over 32,000 people in Portland experienced PTSD in the last year.

What is the Difference Between Trauma and PTSD?

Trauma is simply an event that is beyond a person’s capacity to cope. Common traumatic events include: violence, abuse, sexual violence, acts of war, and natural disasters. There are many reactions that people may have to traumatic events, and not all result in PTSD. Common mental health issues that arise as a reaction to trauma include: anxiety disorders, depression, adjustment disorders, panic attacks, and agoraphobia, as well as PTSD.

PTSD is a condition that develops in response to a trauma, which includes 4 major types of symptoms: intrusive thoughts, avoidance behaviors, distortions in mood and cognition, and arousal symptoms. Sometimes PTSD has other symptoms as well, which are referred to as dissociative symptoms. The vast majority of people who experience a trauma do not develop PTSD, though some estimate that up to 20% of traumatic events lead to developing PTSD.

I Thought Only Soldiers Got PTSD

There is a long and extensive history of reactions to combat stress. Some of the earliest mentions of flashback-like dreams were documented in Ancient Greece, and there have been notations about this phenomenon throughout history. Psychology as a science developed in the 19th century, and in the aftermath of WWI the symptoms of PTSD were listed as shell shock.

As awareness throughout the 20th century grew and began including studies of holocaust survivors, victims of domestic violence, survivors of rape, and veterans of other wars, the scientific understanding has learned that severe reactions to trauma are not specific to combat, and can happen with any severe trauma.

Treatment for PTSD

With a supportive, trauma-informed therapist you can get great results with treatments. No two individuals are alike. This means that you should receive the care that is specific to you. Whether you have experienced trauma or are dealing with PTSD, therapeutic support can be life changing.

Do I Need Insurance to See a Therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with PTSD and Trauma,



What is the Difference Between PTSD and Trauma?

Modern building hallway, unfocused background

You can experience Trauma without developing PTSD

Trauma is the name of an event that occurs that is beyond our physical, psychological, or spiritual abilities to cope. The responses we have to a trauma are considered traumatic reactions, sometimes these are temporary, others cause more significant adaptations. We can experience traumatic reactions in response to a trauma we experience directly, hearing about a trauma a loved-one experienced, or repeated exposure to others’ traumas. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a particular cluster of trauma reactions that a person develops as the result of one or more traumas.

There are countless events that can trigger trauma; being neglected, natural disasters, sexual assault, violence, or serious illness. While those that experience trauma might have behavioral, social or emotional issues following the event, they may be able to heal through a supportive social network, counseling, or professional therapy. Common mental health reactions to trauma include Anxiety, Depression, Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD, Adjustment Disorders. There are several more mental health conditions that correlate with trauma and many atypical reactions that may occur. These reactions can develop immediately or years after a traumatic event.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

It is best to get assessed by a mental health professional to determine whether you have PTSD or any other mental health disorder. If you’ve experienced a trauma and notice changes in your thinking, behavioral, emotional, or arousal, and it is causing you distress or impacting your functioning, it is wise to seek treatment to get help with whatever changes you are experiencing.

There are four types of symptoms that are present in people experiencing PTSD: Intrusion, Avoidance, Alteration in Mood or Thinking, and Arousal. People with PTSD experience at least one symptom from each cluster for more than a month, experience distress or reduced functioning as a result of the symptoms, and trauma is the cause of the symptoms. If you are experiencing all of the symptoms but it’s been less than a month, you may be experiencing Acute Stress Disorder (which can turn into PTSD if it doesn’t go away/goes untreated).

Intrusion Symptoms

  • Involuntary and recurring memories of the traumatic event
  • Repeated dreams or nightmares where the content or emotion is related to the traumatic event
  • Re-experiencing the event as though it was happening in the here and now; highest intensity can be full-blown flashbacks
  • Strong psychological distress when presented with reminders of the event
  • Strong physiological reactions when presented with reminders of the event

Avoidance Symptoms

  • Avoidance of (or efforts to avoid) distressing memories, thoughts or feelings about the trauma, or that relate to the trauma
  • Avoidance of (or efforts to avoid) external reminders of the event (people, places, objects, activities, situations) or elements that are closely associated with the event

Alteration in Mood and Thinking Symptoms

  • Amnesia ( an inability to remember an important aspect of the event, or the event in its entirety)
  • Persistent and exaggerated (or intensified) negative evaluations of the world, others, or the self (e.g., nobody can ever be trusted, the world is evil, I am horrible)
  • Persistent distorted thoughts about the cause or consequence of the trauma that cause a person to blame themselves or others for the traumatic event
  • Persistent negative emotional state; typical emotions include shame, guilt, fear, horror and anger
  • Loss of interest in activities that one normally enjoys
  • Feeling disconnected or detached from others
  • Inability to experience comfortable/enjoyable emotions like happiness, love, laughter or satisfaction

Arousal Symptoms

  • Increased irritability or angry behavior with little to no provocation
  • Explosive sadness or crying with little to no provocation
  • Impulsive, reckless, or self-destructive behavior
  • Consistently feeling keyed-up or tense
  • Feeling constantly on guard, or the need to never let one’s guard down
  • Heightened/exaggerated startle response
  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Problems with sleep (falling asleep, staying asleep, staying awake)

Can you develop PTSD from someone else’s Trauma?

If a traumatic event occurs to someone you’re very close with, particularly when it happens very suddenly, you may have a traumatic reaction to it. Additionally, if your work involves repeated exposure to trauma (first responders, nurses, police officers, ER doctors, firefighters, etc.) you may also develop traumatic reactions. These experiences are called secondary trauma. Secondary trauma can lead to the development of PTSD.

How is PTSD treated?

There are many factors when treating PTSD including your specific symptoms and the event itself. There is both a need to treat the symptoms to make life more livable in the here and now, as well as treat the mindbody to heal in the long-run. Each treatment is tailored specifically to the individual. This means that, at Mindful Healing, we take time to determine the best way to help you. Asking for help is a sign of courage, and one of the first steps on your healing journey.

Do I need insurance to see a therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.

If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with PTSD and Trauma,



When to Seek Help with Depression?

woman feel depressed

How is depression different from sadness?

Everyone feels sad, empty, or lonely at times. These are normal healthy emotions to experience. They tell us when we are experiencing pain, disappointment, or loss…etc., and encourage us to slow down. Emotions like sadness tend to be short-lived feelings that come and go.

Depression is a mood, or more persistent state of mind that has significant mindbody effects. Commonly we let go of the emotional content with regards to the mood of depression as sadness or melancholy, but it also can be represented by a sense of emptiness, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, or irritability.

When thinking about the difference between mood and emotion, it can be helpful to think about the difference between climate and weather. Portland’s climate is marked with warm and dry summers and cool, rainy winters, yet the winter can have sunny days (on occasion) and the summer can have cold or rainy days. Depression is a mood state, and emotions like joy, anger, or sadness can ebb and flow, but in general the sad, empty, or agitated mood persists for most of the day, most days of the week. If this mood has been persistent for two weeks, it may be depression.

Depression does not just change mood, but presents other challenges within the mindbody. Changes in thinking may include a sense of feeling dull, problems with decision making, problems with concentration, challenges with memory, excessive guilt, hyper-focusing on the negative, dismissing positives, or suicidal ideations. Physical changes can include fatigue, exhaustion, loss of appetite, excessive appetite, and unintentional weight changes. Behavioral and emotional changes can include changes in sleep (insomnia or hypersomnia), loss of interest in normal activities, loss of pleasure in activities, feeling disconnected from others, isolation, sense of hopelessness, or desire to be dead or no longer exist.

What causes depression?

One of the things that make depression so challenging is that there is no singular cause. Many people who experience depression feel like it’s “their fault” and that is not the case. Common factors which can contribute to the development of depression include genetics, changes in brain/body chemistry, bodily injury, changes in psychological coping mechanisms, problems in social environments, environmental factors, and trauma.

When is it time to seek help?

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as you are experiencing some of the common symptoms of depression, particularly if you are experiencing them for two weeks or more. One of the most common feelings of depression is hopelessness, a feeling that there is no way forward, which can often be a barrier to seeking treatment. Treatment and counseling can get you past that.

Can depression be treated?

Yes, Depression is highly treatable. In fact, with professional help, you can feel better sooner. Depression is not a sign of weakness, and seeking help is a sign of strength. Therapy focuses on factors that contribute to depression, changing mindbody reactions, implementing health behaviors, and increasing feelings of wellness and empowerment. You will develop tools you can use for the rest of your life.

Do I need insurance to see a therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Depression,


Seeking Help with Depression in Portland

depressed woman sitting in the dark bedroom

Portland, Oregon is one of the top-rated cities for Depression

Depression is the 2nd most common mental health issue in the United States, and the leading cause of disability in adults aged 15-44. The rates are even more staggering in Portland. Research indicates that Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington are rated as two of the most depressed cities in the U.S. Portland’s own OHSU Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Alfred Lewy, agrees that depression is prevalent in Portland.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Symptoms typically include a distortion in mood. Often, people navigating depression experience a lingering sadness, emptiness, disconnection, or melancholy.
  • Irritability and anger are also typical mood disruptions that people experience during a Depressive Episode. Males are more likely than females to display irritability as the primary mood distortion, though anyone on any end of the gender spectrum can display this.
  • Other symptoms include loss of interest in activities or loss of pleasure in activities, including spending time with others.
  • Some symptoms deal with energy and changes in cognitive functioning. These include fatigue, difficulty with decision making, problems with concentration, and excessive guilt. Some people find it near impossible to get out of bed.
  • People with depression also can experience changes (increases or decreases) with appetite, weight, and sleep.
  • Other symptoms include passive or active suicidal ideations: these include thoughts of just not wanting to exist anymore, thoughts that life or others would be better off if you were dead, wanting to kill oneself, or the mind planning how to kill oneself.

What causes depression?

This is an important question, and one that has no singular answer. Many who experience depression feel like it is their fault (remember one of the symptoms is excessive guilt), and it is not. Depression is a relatively normal mental health issue and is typically a stress reaction that can occur due to a number of circumstances. These factors can include genetics, biological factors in brain/body chemistry, physical changes to the body, psychological factors in coping mechanisms, social factors, and environmental factors can all contribute to depression. Even a major life change can bring out an episode of depression.

How do I know if I need help?

Generally speaking, if you notice that symptoms are affecting your quality of life, are causing you personal distress, or are interfering with your functioning at work, home, in relationships, or other elements of life, it is a good time to seek help. Many people live with a low-grade depression (commonly called Dysthymia) and Major Depressive Episodes for several years due to stigma, shame, the energy problems depression causes, or the fact that they are functioning and can endure. If you think your quality of life can be improved by shifting your mood, it’s a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional.

If you are experiencing suicidal ideations, it is also time to seek help and know you are not alone and this can get better. When the mind starts going to the stages of planning a suicide, the risk increases significantly. If you are in the planning stages of suicide and are looking for immediate help, here are some helpful resources for crisis intervention:

  • Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-279-8255
  • Crisis Text Line:  Text “HOME” to 741741
  • You may also call 911 if you do not think you can prevent suicide

Treatment for Depression

The good news is depression can be treated and you shouldn’t be expected to do it alone. Therapy is a collaborative process with the goal of healing and developing personal empowerment. Together, we will work towards your goals, identify barriers, develop grounding skills, heal wounds, and increase your cognitive flexibility. We also take a look at physiological factors like nutrition, exercise, sleep, and other health behaviors to help treat this complicated condition.

Do I need insurance to see a therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Depression,