What is Trauma?

In its simplest form, trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. We can probably all think back on a time in our life that was deeply distressing or disturbing — life is hard, and we all experience hard things. When dealing with trauma as it relates to mental health, we’re talking about the effects that traumatic events have on a person. Everyone deals with traumatic experiences differently, and some people recover from distressing or disturbing experiences without lasting negative effects. However, trauma, especially when not properly processed, can cause long-term emotional and mental health disturbances.

While trauma can come in the form of one big event, such as a natural disaster or a traumatic physical injury, it can come in smaller, more pervasive forms as well. While it’s easy to recognize a bad car accident as trauma, it’s important to know that something like years of physical or emotional abuse, while not as obvious, can be just as traumatic and detrimental to mental and emotional health.

Types of trauma include:

  • Violent personal assaults
  • Natural or human-caused accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Combat
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Loss
  • Neglect or deprivation
  • Other forms of violence

Effects of trauma include:

  • Cognitive – the ability to process thoughts and make good judgments
  • Emotional – feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anger, pain
  • Physical – muscles, joints, metabolism, sleep, immune system
  • Spiritual – worldview and understanding of the meaning of life, society and the world
  • Social – relationships with loved ones and other people

Many people have intense responses immediately following traumatic experiences, often for weeks or months after the trauma has occurred. They can impact not just emotional health but also physical, and the aftereffects can hinder cognitive functioning as well as social interaction and spiritual wellbeing. For most, these responses lessen with time.

Healing From Trauma

The best way to recover from such events is to spend time with trusted and supportive loved ones and try to maintain normal routines of eating, sleeping, and staying active. It’s best to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. It takes time to recover from trauma, so giving yourself room to heal is necessary. For some, however, these feelings can persist or worsen over time. If symptoms of trauma don’t resolve after a few months, you may be dealing with PTSD.

What is PTSD?

While many people can process and recover from traumatic experiences, some experience prolonged stress, anxiety, and other mental health disturbances. Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a mental health disorder that stems from a traumatic experience such as a terrifying, violent or extremely stressful event. This is a serious disorder that requires proper treatment.

Many people associate PTSD with those exposed to war or violent combat, but it can happen to anyone who has experienced any type of trauma. While most symptoms of PTSD happen soon after a traumatic experience, symptoms may manifest months or even years after trauma has occurred.

PTSD can cause the following:

  • Flashbacks, or feeling like you are reliving the traumatic event
  • Frightening thoughts or memories of the trauma
  • Trouble sleeping, nightmares
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Feelings of worry, anger, or sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Numbness or feeling detached
  • Startling easily

Severe PTSD, if left untreated, can significantly impair a person’s ability to function at work, home, and in social environments. If you or someone you love is experiencing the above symptoms of PTSD or trauma, it’s important to seek help from a trained professional.

Trauma, especially childhood trauma, can cause deep and lasting negative issues when left untreated and unresolved.

Severe PTSD, if left untreated, can significantly impair a person’s ability to function at work, home, and in social environments. If you or someone you love is experiencing the above symptoms of PTSD or trauma, it’s important to seek help from a trained professional.

Trauma, especially childhood trauma, can cause deep and lasting negative issues when left untreated and unresolved. It can also cause deeply rooted thinking patterns characterized by worry, fear, and worthlessness. Trauma sufferers often have difficulty in personal relationships and struggle with low self-esteem due to the feelings associated with the trauma they have experienced. Trauma sufferers are also at a higher risk for alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and other co-occurring disorders.

Here at Serenity View, we seek to treat the whole person when addressing any mental health or addiction disorders, and that includes looking for any underlying trauma that needs to be addressed. We know that trauma can often cause, perpetuate, or complicate mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders, so it is important to look for trauma and its effects when formulating a personalized treatment plan for our clients.

Whether trauma is simply an underlying cause of another mental health or addiction issue or is actively manifesting itself in the form of PTSD, our trained professionals seek to find and address any and all forms of trauma in a person’s life. Mental health disturbances like PTSD and addiction are often co-occurring disorders, so whether you come to treatment for PTSD or it is found to be an underlying cause of addiction, we will find the proper treatment for any and all disorders you may be experiencing. It’s been proven that treating them together gives you the best possible chance for long-term, lasting recovery. 

 

Get answers to your questions

If you or a loved one would like to know more about treatment at Serenity View Recovery Center, please give us a call to speak to one of our trained intake coordinators for assistance. 

Call 214-556-0907