Trauma is any event that causes someone to think “the world is no longer a safe place.” Those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) are affected with symptoms on a daily basis long after the event has subsided.
Trauma is any experience in which a person feels their own life or the life of another has been threatened physically, emotionally, or psychologically. Many of us, have experienced some form of trauma in our life whether it be from a car wreck, the sudden death of a loved one, abuse or neglect, natural disaster, victims of terror and violence, or exposure to war. Trauma can be prolonged such as in abusive adult relationships or physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in childhood.
Depending on the severity of the traumatic event, some people recover with time and through the support of family and friends, bouncing back with great resiliency, but for others, the effects of trauma are lasting, causing a person to live with deep emotional pain, fear, confusion, or post-traumatic stress far after the event has passed. In this case, a person may become stuck in the traumatic and develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) are affected with symptoms on a daily basis long after the event has subsided. PTSD sufferers can experience flashbacks of the events, recurring nightmares, extreme irritability, difficulty focusing, and constant anxiety. Social situations and crowds can be extremely overwhelming causing panic and intense fears to be triggered. Many people find they become more and isolated. PTSD is an extremely distressing experience for sufferers and their loved ones.
When this happens, you may find your mind will replay the memories and images of the incident over in your minds as a means of processing and creating meaning out of the event. For a small period of time usually days or weeks, we may experience emotional distress with an increase in anxiety, worry, and flashbacks. All of this is a normal reaction to trauma and is the mind's natural way of healing. With time, the memories and images will lose the emotional impact they once had and we will slowly return to our normal functioning where thoughts of the event no longer cause emotional distress.
Even though many people have experienced the effects of trauma, there are few safe places to talk or share the after effects. Psychotherapy is the most effective form of treatment for trauma. Two effective therapies for trauma sufferers are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) enables trauma sufferers to connect thoughts, feelings, and reactions so that they can be more aware of their experience and feel more in control. ACT is a behavioral treatment based on the idea that suffering comes not from feeling emotional pain but from our attempts to avoid that pain. Both these therapies integrate your physical and emotional experience thus reducing many of your symptoms while also helping you makw sense of the traumatic experience.