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.