Trauma

What is it? 

Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that can have a profound physical and emotional impact on a person. It can be caused by a single event, such as a car accident or a natural disaster, or by repeated exposure to stressful or traumatic situations, such as child abuse or domestic violence. Trauma can result in emotional, physical, and psychological harm. Trauma can either be physical or emotional. 

Symptoms 

Symptoms can vary greatly among individuals and can include: 

  • Flashbacks: Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event 
  • Nightmares: Disturbing dreams related to the traumatic event 
  • Severe anxiety: Persistent feelings of high alertness or fear, even in safe situations 
  • Uncontrollable thoughts about the event: Difficulty controlling thoughts related to the traumatic event 
  • Fear: Persistent fear or horror related to the traumatic event 
  • Helplessness: Feeling powerless in the face of danger or threat 
  • Dissociation: Feeling disconnected from oneself or the world around you
  • Changes in attention, concentration, and memory retrieval: Difficulty focusing, remembering things, or making decisions 
  • Changes in behaviour, attitude, worldview: Changes in the way one views oneself, others, or the world 
  • Difficulty functioning: Difficulty performing daily tasks or maintaining relationships 
  • Denial: Refusing to believe that the trauma occurred 
  • Anger: Persistent feelings of anger or irritability 
  • Bargaining: Trying to negotiate or make deals to avoid dealing with the trauma 

Causes 

Trauma is a response to an intensely stressful event that psychologically overwhelms you, often resulting in shock, denial, and changes in the body, mind, and behaviour. Trauma is typically associated with significant events such as physical or sexual assault, violence, or accidents. But it can also involve responses to repeated events, like ongoing emotional abuse or childhood neglect. Other causes of trauma include natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods, assault, loss of a loved one, witnessing an act of violence. 

Interventions 

Treatments for trauma include trauma-focused psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR). These focus on education, stress management techniques, and helping the person to confront feared situations and distressing memories. Other therapeutic techniques for trauma include Accelerated resolution therapy, Hypnotherapy, Narrative therapy. 

Please note that this is a general overview and individual experiences with trauma can vary greatly.