Mental Health

What is Trauma?

The word trauma can be used in two different contexts.
In the physical context like an injury and in a psychological context.


Today we’ll be talking about trauma in a way most people understand, as an emotional response
towards an intense negative event, like a car accident, assault, abuse or even a natural disaster or war, but it can also arise from seemingly small and insignificant occurrences, like a child perceiving a parent snatching a lollipop from their hands .

Apart from immediate short-term effects of trauma like extreme grief, shock or denial, a person’s
past trauma can have long-term effects that disrupt their daily lives and prevent them from success.

Mood swings, flashbacks, impulsiveness and strained relationships are a few

Unaddressed trauma can lead to physical symptoms, like frequent headaches and migraines,
lethargy and nausea.

Some people may be affected by it more severely and have a harder time processing it, leaving
them feeling as if they’re trapped in a nightmare which over a long period can lead to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.)

There are 3 main types of Trauma:

Acute
Acute trauma is caused from a singular distressing event that is extreme enough to threaten a
person’s emotional or physical safety. If the event creates a lasting impression within the person’s
mind and professional help is not sought, it will directly affect behavior and cognition.

Acute trauma generally manifests in the form of:
• Anxiety and panic attacks.
• Irritation.
• Confusion.
• Insomnia.
• Feeling dissociated and disconnected from surroundings.
• Unjustified lack of trust.
• Easily distracted.
• Lack of basic self-care or personal hygiene.
• Anger issues.

Chronic
It can arise when a person is repeatedly exposed to long-term, or prolonged negative
events, like physical/sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying and expose to extreme situations,
such as war.

Multiple events of acute trauma as well as untreated acute trauma may manifest into chronic
trauma. Symptoms of chronic trauma appear over a long period of time, even years after the event.
People suffering with it can struggle having stable romantic and platonic relationships
as they find it difficult to trust.

Chronic trauma symptoms:
• Labile and unpredictable emotional outbursts.
• Extreme anxiety or chronic anxiety disorders.
• Extreme anger.
• PTSD and flashbacks.
• Fatigue.
• Achy joints, headaches and nausea.

Complex
It is typically a result of varied and multiple significant interpersonal, distressing
events.

It often has a severe impact on a person’s mind, giving them delusions of feeling
trapped. It is seen in person’s who have experienced childhood abuse, neglect, domestic violence,
repetitive family disputes and civil unrest.

It affects the over-all health, relationships, and performance at work and school.
Whichever the type of trauma, if a person struggles to recover from the negative experiences and
build new coping strategies on their own – seeking help from a qualified professional who specialises
in complex trauma is absolutely necessary to help a person recover and achieve their potential.

If you or someone close to you is experiencing or has experienced a traumatic event, it can alter and affect your sense of safety.

First Aid For Trauma
Not everyone will need professional help to recover. Research has shown that, in an attempt to prevent PTSD, providing psychological help to everyone within three months following a traumatic event is not helpful and some may even have adverse effects.

However, if you or a person you know needs support, do so. There are many professional avenues of help regarding dealing with it and it’s perfectly okay to browse until you find help that feels best for you.

Professional Therapy Recommendations for Trauma:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Hypnotherapy with a practitioner
Time Line Therapy®
Occupational Therapy
Psychology

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