TRAUMA: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES?

Many people experience trauma in their lives, but what is it? According to the American Psychology Association, it is “an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster.” Trauma can be lead to a number of both physical and emotional symptoms, and there are actually different types. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop trauma. Those who do will develop symptoms in different ways – some peoples symptoms last just a few weeks, whereas others may experience long-term effects. Some might notice effects soon after the event, others might not experience symptoms until a long time has passed.

Those who experience trauma might feel overwhelmed, shocked, helpless, and often find it hard to process their experience. It can also cause physical symptoms including long-term or chronic illnesses.

So what are the different types of trauma? There are several:

  • Acute: resulting from a single stressful or dangerous event
  • Chronic: resulting from repeated/prolonged exposure to highly stressful events. For example, domestic violence, child abuse, bullying
  • Complex: resulting from exposure to multiple traumatic events
  • Secondary aka vicarious trauma: resulting from close contact with someone who has experienced a traumatic event

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on a number of factors such as: characteristics, other mental health conditions, previous exposure to traumatic events to name a few. Those who experience trauma can have a wide range of emotions including:

  • denial
  • anger
  • fear
  • depression
  • confusion
  • shame
  • anxiety
  • numbness
  • guilt

They may also have emotional outbursts and experience flashbacks, which is where they relive the event in their mind.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • headaches
  • digestive symptoms
  • fatigue
  • racing heart
  • sweating
  • insomnia

Trauma can be effectively treated with several treatments, and therapy is a first-line treatment. CBT is effective in helping people change their thought patterns to influence their behaviour and emotions, and evidence suggests that this form of therapy is the most effective approach for PTSD.

If you are experiencing trauma, get in touch with Dalton Wise today.

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