There are many different types of mental health issues which can affect a person’s daily life. One of the most common ones is trauma, which can be experienced by anyone, child or adult, due to an unexpected event or situation.
Trauma can have a great impact on a person, but an individual with trauma can recover from it with appropriate treatment. Let’s look at what exactly is trauma, some of its symptoms, and what treatments are available for this particular condition.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is an emotional reaction similar to that of a shock, and it occurs most commonly due to a terrible or disturbing event which had taken place in a person’s life. This may be a tragic accident, an acquired injury or disability, the death of a loved one, a disaster, persistent abuse, and even rape or sexual assault.
Trauma is often an indication that a person’s brain simply is not able to process or come to terms with what has just happened. The feelings of distress and flashback images from the event can have a negative impact and influence on every part of a person’s life.
Trauma may even come to the point where it gets completely out of control. This particular condition can affect a person physically, mentally, as well as cognitively, and can prevent one from being able to function normally on a daily basis.
Trauma can be accompanied by intense anxiety and depression, and can cause great distress to a person. It may be challenging for an individual to go to work or school if they have trauma. They may have no control over their emotions, which could result in the possibility of them bursting out in tears or experiencing a panic attack of nowhere, even in a public setting.
If not dealt with soon enough, trauma has the possibility of progressing to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD will result in the person having moments when they feel like they are experiencing the distressing event all over again, causing them to emotionally re-live the entire situation.
Symptoms Of Trauma
The symptoms of trauma can include any of the following:
- A state of shock and disbelief
- Loss of control over emotions and thoughts
- Loss of trust and fear of people or certain places associated with the event
- Denial of the event
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of enjoyment or hobbies or pastimes
- Trouble falling asleep at night or irregular sleep patterns
- Resulting fatigue and tiredness throughout the day
- Aggressive behavior toward others
- Unable to concentrate and focus in school and at work
- Social withdrawal and impacted relationship with friends or relatives
- Trouble opening up to people
- Muscle Tension
- Re-occurring intense feelings of sadness or depression
- Panic attacks due to vivid flashbacks of the event
- Frequent occurrence of headaches
- Tachycardia (faster heart rate than normal).
A mental condition caused by severe shock, especially when the harmful effects last for a long time.
Types Of Trauma
The trauma that a person can experience comes in 3 main types. These include acute trauma, chronic trauma, as well as complex trauma. Each of these slightly differs from the other, but may share a few of the same or similar symptoms.
Acute trauma can result from only a single event, which may have been an accident, any kind of natural disaster that had occurred, or the loss of a loved one. The single event is distressing or disturbing enough to create a long lasting trauma in the mind of the person.
Chronic trauma occurs as a result of something that has been going on for a long period of time, like physical abuse. Most often, people will be susceptible to developing this particular type of trauma after having experienced physical abuse or even sexual abuse as a child, or if they have been the victim of domestic violence. These ongoing traumatic events will have a severe impact on a person and can affect every aspect of their life.
Complex trauma often results from an individual having experienced a few different distressing events or situations in their life. Chronic trauma can progress to complex trauma. Sometimes, complex trauma can be interpersonal. Individuals may develop this specific type of trauma due to a number of factors including constant abuse, neglect, or violence.
What Are The Treatments Available For Trauma?
Even though trauma may be distressing and affect every aspect of a person’s life to a considerable degree, including relationships with others, it is not a condition that has to last forever. There are many treatments out there which make it possible to recover from trauma over a certain course of time.
If you have experienced symptoms of trauma for over 4 weeks (one month), or feel that your symptoms are very severe and getting out of control, there are a number of treatments you may be prescribed.
One option for an individual suffering from trauma is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a form of therapy where a therapist will use techniques to change your perception of the traumatic event after describing it. As a result, you may be able to alter your way of thinking toward the event, and be able to process and come to terms with it.
Another treatment for trauma is a type of therapy called movement desensitization and reprocessing. This treatment will include your therapist holding up their finger and moving it through the air while you describe the traumatic event.
As you speak, your eye movements will follow the finger. This particular therapy may be effective for some people because it makes the thoughts of the event less emotional or severe, due to the fact that your eyes are focused elsewhere and so is your attention.
On the other hand, you may be prescribed certain types of anti-depressants for your trauma if therapy treatment failed to work, or if your condition is severe to the point where it causes symptoms of anxiety and depression.
You can also get plenty of help and support from different websites and organizations specifically aimed at people who have experienced abuse or any emotional event that lead to trauma.
# If you want to know more, you could check this e-learning portal for online courses for mental health, resilience, and wellbeing.