Understanding Trauma

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What is trauma? Trauma is an emotional or psychological response, to an often life changing event, which can be both distressing or terrifying either physically or emotionally.  It can leave a person feeling overwhelmed by a range of emotions and unable to cope or function.      Causes Trauma can affect people in different ways and…

What is trauma?

Trauma is an emotional or psychological response, to an often life changing event, which can be both distressing or terrifying either physically or emotionally.  It can leave a person feeling overwhelmed by a range of emotions and unable to cope or function.     

Causes

Trauma can affect people in different ways and there are different types of trauma. 

Acute trauma is the result of a one time experience like the loss of a loved one due to their death or the end of a relationship. Physical injury due to an accident or sexual assault.

Secondary trauma is caused by witnessing or responding to other people’s trauma, like witnessing an accident, either as an individual or because you work as part of the emergency services.

Chronic trauma arises from prolonged or persistent events such as domestic violence, long-term abuse whether physical, emotional or sexual, neglect or bullying.

Adverse childhood experiences can cover a range of situations that a child may face, whether it’s directly or by witnessing events.  As a child we don’t have the coping skills we develop overtime that help us deal with these experiences, and this can result in a disruption of this development, which in turn can result in emotional damage lasting well into adulthood.

Physical Symptoms

·      Headaches

·      Sleep problems

·      Muscle tension, aches or pains

·      Problems concentrating

·      Nightmares

·      Feeling light headed or dizzy

·      Nausea

·      Feeling on edge or anxious

·      Palpitations or heart racing

·      Stomach issues

·      Fatigue

·      Changes to appetite

·      Shock

Psychological Symptoms

·      Fear

·      Shame

·      Anger

·      Panic

·      Sadness

·      Numbness

·      Hopelessness

·      Denial

Associated disorders

·      PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

·      Anxiety

·      Depression

·      Alcohol or drug abuse

·      Dissociative disorders

Behavioural Changes

·      Emotional outbursts

·      Relationship problems as a result of the trauma

·      Withdrawing from people

·      Mood swings

·      Shutting down emotionally

Self Help

The internet is full of information about organisations that can help you with feelings of trauma.  This can range from telephone help lines where you can chat to someone in confidence, to practical information on how to manage your symptoms.  Things like, self-care, eating well, taking regular exercise and tips on how to improve your sleep.  Breathing and relaxation exercises, yoga and mindfulness can all help reduce anxiety and stress.  Keeping a journal can be beneficial to help you process your thoughts and feelings.

Professional Help

You should consult your doctor if you have suffered from trauma as they will be able to prescribe you with anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication if necessary.  They will most likely recommend that you seek therapy to help you overcome the effects of your trauma. 

This can include therapies such as EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), often used for PTSD to help you whilst recalling trauma.  CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which will be trauma based and talking therapies like psychotherapy and counselling. 

Somatic experience focuses on sensations in your body rather than recalling memories of the event and can help release supressed emotions through physical responses like crying.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK).  For more free information click above link.