Psychological trauma consists of extremely stressful circumstances that destroyed your sense of safety and left you feeling helpless in a hazardous environment. You may struggle with troubling feelings, memories, and anxiety as a result of psychological trauma. You might also experience feelings of numbness, alienation, and lack of confidence in other people.
Traumatic events frequently involve a danger to one’s life or physical safety, but they can also be caused by any circumstance that makes you feel helpless and alone. Your personal emotional reaction to the event, not the objective facts, defines whether it qualifies as traumatic. You are more prone to experience trauma depending on the intensity of your particular experience.
Unlike general stressors in life, traumatic experiences are very sudden and unexpected, with an actual threat to people’s physical and mental well-being.
A bad experience that has a long-lasting effect on the victim’s mental and emotional health might result in trauma. The majority of causes of this syndrome are physical acts of violence, while some are psychological in nature. The following are a few typical contributing factors:
- Domestic abuse
- Natural catastrophes
- loss of a close relative
- severe injuries/accident or illness
- observing a violent activity
- witnessing a death
- war or terrorism-related experiences
Even though a traumatic incident frequently triggers trauma, it is not always the case. One could occasionally experience shock as a result of seeing something from a distance. After a stressful experience, young children should be psychologically checked because they are more susceptible to this disorder. The child’s emotional health will be improved as a result.
It typically takes 4-6 weeks after the event to get over the first shock. This is seen as the distinction between a post-traumatic reaction (often after 4-6 weeks) and an acute stress reaction (within 4 weeks of the event). Trauma-related short-term fear, anxiety, shock, and aggression are all common reactions. As the crisis passes and the experience fades from memory, these unpleasant emotions subside. However, for some people, the upsetting emotions can persist and interfere with day-to-day activities.
People who deal with trauma symptoms for elongated periods of time are more susceptible to developing various other mental health conditions including extreme anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), anger issues, or a sense of detachment from the world. PTSD is a specific sort of anxiety illness that modifies how the body reacts to stress and affects stress hormones. People with this condition require continuous counselling as well as significant social support. PTSD is a common problem for military veterans.
Any thought or memory of the incident might trigger a severe physical and emotional reaction in people with PTSD. Following trauma, it may last for months or even years.
People dealing with trauma are constantly in defense mode and on high alert for potential threats and thus may struggle with sleep issues or physical pain. They also endure conflict in their personal and professional relationships and feel less valuable than they should.
Trauma survivors can believe they are to blame. Despite the fact that it wasn’t your fault, this can result in extremely strong feelings of guilt or shame.
The following are some causes of self-blame:
- It might be an attempt on your part to make sense of what has happened and to keep from experiencing extreme emotions like rage, grief, or betrayal.
- It’s how you’ve managed to stay alive in dangerous or demanding circumstances, like sharing a home with someone who has mistreated you.
- Despite the fact that you couldn’t have acted on it, you wish you could have at the time.
- Someone else made you feel guilty or responsible for what occurred.
- Even though self-blame can be extremely difficult to deal with, it can also be a defense mechanism your mind uses to keep you safe, so changing how you feel might take some time and help. If someone else claims it wasn’t your fault, you could feel confused or overpowered, however hearing this might also be relieving.
Managing traumatic responses-
After a traumatic occurrence, there are numerous techniques to assist in your emotional recovery:
- Try to maintain engagement in daily activities like work and social life to prevent avoiding anything in your life.
- Even if you don’t feel like it, spend time with other people to prevent being reclusive.
- Pursue interests or hobbies.
- Share your story with loved ones, close friends, or in a journal you keep in your diary or online.
- Recognize that you need time and that you cannot command everything.
- Attend a local or online support group for others who have gone through a similar event, or ask those who care about you for support.
- Find a support group that is facilitated by a qualified professional.
- Try to maintain a healthy diet, engage in regular exercise, get enough rest, and refrain from drugs and alcohol.
- Consult a healthcare professional if you think you may be suffering from signs of a substance use disorder. They can assist you in developing a treatment plan and establishing connections with helpful services.
- Keep up a daily schedule of scheduled activities.
- Avoid making important life decisions right away, including changing employment or moving.
Finding out about the phases of healing can be upsetting or inspiring. Regardless of how you may feel, your response is appropriate. You can use the energy of your emotions to contact a qualified therapist by acknowledging your emotional reaction to the stages of healing.
You should be able to discover a therapist and a therapeutic technique that works best for you. There is no miraculous cure that will make you better overnight, and there is no one type of psychotherapy that is ideal for everyone. Recovery parallels a marathon in a way that it takes planning, consistent practice, bravery, determination, and other people’s assistance, including that of a qualified coach or therapist.
Like other conditions, trauma also requires a mixture of medications as well as psychotherapies based on the severity of the issue. We have listed the best-proven treatment options for trauma which can be taken together or separately;
- Behavior therapy – Exposure therapy is the most popular type of behavior therapy. In exposure therapy, the feared outcome is avoided by gradually confronting one’s concerns, such as recollections of painful events. This exposure frequently teaches the person that their fear or other unpleasant feeling is unfounded, which causes their fear to lessen.
Exposure treatment has been shown to promote social adjustment, lessen anxiety and despair, and organize the trauma memory.
- CBT – The foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the premise that a person must correct and modify false beliefs while also gaining information and abilities. The following are typical components of cognitive behavioral treatment for trauma: educating people on breathing techniques to help them cope with stress and distress, educating people about typical responses to trauma, recognizing, assessing, and replacing negative, false, and irrational thoughts with more true but less negative thoughts.
- Medication – Medication can manage a variety of symptoms related to trauma including irritation, hypersensitivity, emotional responses or depression. Pain and trauma reactions may not go away when one takes medication. Medication can only assist to lessen the severity and make the symptoms more tolerable.
- If you choose to take medication, speak with a psychiatrist first. Then, stay in contact with that psychiatrist throughout the duration of your medication use. Tell the psychiatrist how the drugs are making you feel.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)– Using this therapy, people concentrate on their trauma with the aid of visual stimulation. While the stimulation aids in reducing the emotion and physiological response to the trauma, thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations are triggered. The trauma-related negative thoughts can then be processed again using more accepting and uplifting beliefs.
- Support groups – For trauma survivors, there are numerous groups available. Therapists facilitate some groups; peers facilitate others. There are groups that are primarily therapeutic in nature, and others that are primarily instructional or support-focused. The best results from groups come when they are used in conjunction with individual therapy. It’s crucial for trauma survivors to select a support group that matches their stage of recovery.
No matter how permanent the feelings of trauma may appear at one point, always believe that with the correct set of interventions, you can gradually overcome these emotions and flashbacks attached to your memory. Having a mental health professional to guide you through every step and hand you back control of your own life is one of the most important steps in the journey of healing. Lastly, you need to maintain faith in yourself and the whole process so you can successfully reach the other side that will allow you to flourish.
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