What is Trauma?
Trauma refers to a distressing emotional response that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope with the situation. Particularly, shock and denial are typical immediately following the event, hence later reactions may include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, avoidance of social situations, detachment from reality, inability to trust others and even physical symptoms like headaches and nausea. Examples of traumatic event include:
- Domestic/sexual abuse
- Natural disaster
In addition, trauma occurs, when a person feels a sense of violation or loss of control in a situation that affects their mental/or emotional stability.
Uniquely, treatment for trauma typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and self-care strategies, such as exercise, meditation, and healthy eating. Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-focused therapy can be effective in helping individuals process and cope with traumatic experiences.
Symptoms of Trauma:
- Avoiding reminders; like people, places or situations associated with the event.
- Change in appetite.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Detached feeling or numbness.
- Guilt and shame.
- Irritability and mood swings.
- Recurrent thoughts.
- Sadness and hopelessness.
- sleep problems.
Complications of Trauma
It is estimated that past trauma (usually experienced as a child) may have lasting effect on a person’s physical and mental health and early childhood trauma has been linked to a number of lasting complications including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mental health issues, cardiovascular problems, weight issues and stroke.
The reason for these lasting complications appears to be associated with behavioral and physical responses to trauma because people who have suffered traumatic events in the past may turn to risky behaviors, like drug or alcohol abuse, smoking and self-harm too which may cause health problems.
Recovering from Trauma
It is possible to heal from trauma. Recovering from trauma takes time and each individual will recover at their own rate; learning coping strategies, taking care of yourself, exercising and also maintaining a healthy social lifestyle will help recovery process.
Overall, it is normal to have strong reaction following a traumatic event, seeking professional help should always be considered when trying to recover.