So, What is Trauma?

Trauma is an event that is sudden and unexpected, it causes a negative impact on the person and other people involved and can have long lasting effects. Often during a traumatic event people will feel frightened, sad, alone, angry, and devastated. These are normal emotions and a healthy way to react to a traumatic event.

People react to trauma in a variety of ways, some people are able to understand the situation and gain closure and process the situation and at times some people are not and they become transfixed with the event that happened to them. Often when a person is unable to deal with the traumatic event they experienced they begin to develop physical symptoms as their bodies way of coping with and managing the event. This physical process can appear through anxiety and panic attacks, nightmares, depression, and a variety of psychosomatic symptoms including headaches, pain at the sight of the trauma, stomach aches, and other body pains unrelated to a physical injury. Another common experience people have is they begin to reenact their trauma without realizing they are doing it, they may begin to be sexually involved with a lot of people if they have experienced a sexual trauma, or may begin to hurt themselves if they have experienced a physical trauma for example. The opposite can also be true where the person who experienced the trauma avoids all reminders of the event(s), this can include avoiding certain people, activities, events, and situations. People may also have recurrent thoughts about the trauma which may make it hard for them to focus and concentrate.

Due to the ways in which experiencing trauma impacts a persons life it can have huge negative effects of their health and happiness, their social life, their romantic relationships and ability to form healthy relationships, their education and career, and their ability to participate fully in their lives. Trauma also effects people differently based on the age the trauma occured. A young child experiencing trauma will have a much different experience and reaction than a teenager, and both a child and teenager would have a much different experience than an adult who has experienced a trauma.

So what can someone do about the effect trauma is having on their lives? Many people aren’t able to get the support they need to work through their experience in a healthy way and end up turning to self harm, eating disorders, and addictions to help them cope with their symptoms. Simply put, there is no one size fits all treatment for someone who’s experienced a trauma because every single person is an individual. There are however a number of exercised and therapeutic resources available to help the person begin to rebuild their lives. Due to the fact there are very minimal trauma therapy services currently available people will often find themselves in hospitals, in support groups, and getting services for other problems they are experiencing instead of getting help for the trauma its self. These band-aid solution therapies do help individuals manage one particular result of the trauma such as going to AA to manage their addiction but do not attempt to address the trauma its self that caused the person to feel the need to turn to substances for relief in the first place.

Thanks for reading this article on trauma and stay tuned for more articles about a variety of mental health topics and topics focused on health and wellbeing. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions or would like more information feel free to e-mail me at angela@waystowellbeing.ca

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