Trauma refers to a psychological and emotional response to deeply disturbing or distressing events and one’s inability to cope with the experience. Many traumatic events happen to groups of people, including natural disasters, wars, and school shootings. Other trauma occurs on a more personal level, such as trauma that occurs in childhood, abuse, bullying, stalking, and sexual assault. All trauma responses have long-lasting impact on personal wellbeing. When trauma persists and begins interfering with daily life, it is referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
After experiencing one or more traumatic events, it is normal to feel a wide range of emotions and have trouble processing those feelings. Traumatized individuals can isolate and withdraw, experience emotional outbursts disproportionate to the situation, and have flashbacks of their traumatic experience(s). In addition to the psychological impact, physical symptoms are also common. These include sleep problems like insomnia and nightmares, digestive issues, chronic headaches, and a state of hyperarousal, or being unable to relax, as well as many others. Regardless of the cause, trauma can be treated most effectively though a holistic approach to recovery.
Treatment for trauma begins with therapy. By working with a trauma informed or trauma focused therapist, you have the opportunity to be treated by a professional who recognizes the impact trauma has on your wellbeing. Forming a therapeutic relationship with someone who seeks to recognize the impact of trauma and is trained to avoid re-traumatization can help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and decrease symptoms related to your trauma.