“To study psychological trauma is to come face to face both with human vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human nature”. (Judith Herman, M.D., Trauma and Recovery). People exposed to traumatic events experience it differently. Trauma can be described as an emotional response to an experience that makes you feel powerless, threatened, and terrified.
Trauma manifests differently in everyone. It can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Anxiety Disorders. Although it may seem that the effects of trauma are affecting all aspects of our lives and are lifelong, there is help available for individuals and communities. Trauma can isolate a victim and trap them in feelings of perceived helplessness. You don’t need to suffer in silence. You are not alone.
In this article, we provide information about trauma, common trauma triggers, types of traumas, how to cope with trauma, and helpful tools on how to recover from trauma and PTSD and feel safe again.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a people’s increased sensitivity to a life-threatening incident. Many individuals live their entire lives without ever experiencing trauma. Unfortunately, for some people stressful events destroy their sense of security, making them feel helpless in an unpredictable and dangerous world.
Trauma is trauma, there is no diagnostic criterion set as to how much harm is “intense enough” to cause trauma. Trauma may be caused by a single isolated disastrous event (like a car crash, or school shooting, or assault) or an ongoing, repeated human-inflicted atrocious trauma such as psychological or physical abuse or neglect.
Examples of traumatic events:
- Sudden loss/death of a loved one
- Child neglect or abuse
- War and combat
- Natural disasters such as fire, hurricanes, floods, etc.
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
- Emotional abuse
- Witnessing someone else get severely injured or killed
Common Trauma Triggers:
Trauma triggers form during the traumatic event and occur spontaneously in the aftermath. It often retraumatizes a person. It is impossible to eliminate all trauma triggers. By becoming aware of trauma triggers we can reduce its negative impact and take the first step towards healing. Following are examples of external trauma triggers:
- A song
- A specific place
- Certain smells
- An argument
- An end of a relationship
- Witnessing a car accident
Be kind to one another. We never know what people are going through.
Types of Traumas:
Acute trauma is characterized by acute distress in the immediate aftermath of a one-time occurrence, and the reaction is brief. A car accident, a violent or sexual attack, or the unexpected death of a loved one are all common examples.
Adverse incidents that are repeated or sustained might result in chronic trauma. It can develop as a result of repeated psychological and emotional abuse, neglect, physiological, or sexual assault, or prolonged domestic violence.
Complex trauma can result from repeated or many stressful situations from which there is no way out. The feeling includes a sense of being entrapped. It causes an impaired sense of security in the world and leads to anxiety or the constant (and exhausting) monitoring of one’s surroundings for the prospect of potential danger.
Effects of Trauma
Disturbing situations stimulate the amygdala, a brain region involved in recognizing dangers. It responds by alerting multiple body processes to be ready for defense. The sympathetic nervous system goes into a high-alert state, causing the production of adrenaline, and cortisol hormones, which start preparing the body for a fight-flight-or-freeze reaction. Stress, anxiousness, horror, and anger/aggression are all common reactions to trauma. Such bad emotions fade when the crisis passes and the experience fades from recollection, but for other people, the distressing emotions remain, disrupting their daily lifestyle.
Treatment for Trauma:
Traumatic events call into question human relationships. If left untreated, trauma can negatively affect almost every area of one’s life. It can cause hyperarousal, sleep abnormalities, changes in appetite, brain fog, irritability, substance abuse, and risky behaviors that can lead to a loss of steady income. Furthermore, untreated trauma can disrupt and devastate relationships with your loved ones and colleagues.
Recovery occurs in three stages:
- Establishment of Safety
- Remembrance and Mourning
- Reconnection with Ordinary Life
At My Psychiatrist, our certified clinicians can ensure you or your loved one receives the best mental healthcare. We know how hard it can be to find a counselor whom you feel a connection with. Schedule a time to consult about how My Psychiatrist may be able to help you successfully recover from trauma. Contact us if you think you can benefit from the following treatment options:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
- Medication Management
- Narrative Exposure Therapy
- Group Therapy
If you are looking for how to heal from psychological trauma, we are here to help.
Coping with Trauma
Recovery begins with feeling safe. Recovery is possible. Consider healthy lifestyle changes as an early treatment option. Prioritizing self-care, eating well, exercising, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, getting enough relaxation, meeting loved ones, and spending quality time together can help to alleviate trauma symptoms. Let’s break the stigma of mental health and strive toward a trauma-free life.
Psychotherapy can assist a person in developing resilience, successfully utilizing coping strategies, and addressing harmful thoughts that are leaving them trapped. Explore different dependable treatment modalities for trauma and PTSD such as Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or medication management.
Coping with stressful and traumatic events is challenging. You don’t need to do this alone. Lean on your loved ones, friends, and family for support. Be patient with them and with yourself. The healing journey might take time. Set realistic expectations.
Look into online groups, forums, and other digital resources to connect with people that share similar experiences. Try volunteer work. Sometimes the best way to help yourself to find meaning and find purpose in life is by shifting attention outward.
Consider getting a pet for emotional support. Caring for another and exchanging unconditional love may inevitably increase levels of endorphins and dopamine. Sign up for classes, acquire a new skill, or practice mindfulness. “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” (Sigmund Freud)
Find the Right Help
At My Psychiatrist, our goal is to ensure you receive the best mental health care.
Find a highly qualified psychiatrist or therapist in Miami, Hollywood, Oakland Park, or Boca Raton, Florida, and get personalized mental health care designed to help you feel better faster and experience superior clinical results.
Our diverse team of board-certified psychiatrists and clinicians offer online and in-person therapy. Discover how licensed providers at My Psychiatrist can help you relieve symptoms of depression, and anxiety, and heal from trauma.
My Psychiatrist partnered with major insurers to make sure you have the treatment you need. Get matched with a provider that fits your needs and accepts your insurance.