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Emotional and Psychological Trauma.

Posted by Wendy, 15 November 2013 · 1128 views

Emotional and Psychological Trauma.

The word "trauma" gets thrown around on this site a lot and I want to make more mention of what trauma actually is; I want to give more insight as to why we have trauma, what we can do to cope and, in some cases, how we can even find that we have been through trauma. In any case, though, trauma can play a particular role in holding us back - whether it be anxiety-based or dissociation, trauma makes it hard for us to process ourselves and the things around us, sometimes even subconsciously.

What is Emotional and Psychological Trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of a huge stressful event that shatters your sense of security - leaving you helpless and vulnerable in a world we everything can be perceived as dangerous. Traumatic events often involve a thread to safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and along can be traumatic, even if it does not involve physical harm. It's not the facts that whether an even is traumatic, but your emotional experience of the event - the more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to feel either emotional or psychological trauma.

What can cause trauma?

Well, it can be many things, ranging from the preparedness you had towards a certain issue that arose or how powerless it could have made you feel. An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if:
  • It happened unexpectedly.
  • You were unprepared for it.
  • You felt powerless to prevent it.
  • It happened repeatedly.
  • Someone was intentionally cruel.
  • It happened in childhood.
Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by a single-blow or it can become prominent from ongoing and relentless stress. It all depends on how much the situation affects you emotionally or how much it could affect your living conditions.

Commonly overlooked causes of emotional and psychological trauma:
  • Falls of sports injuries.
  • Surgery.
  • The sudden death of someone close.
  • A car accident.
  • The break-up of a significant relationship.
  • A deeply humiliating experience.
  • The discovery of an illness or disabling condition.
Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma:

Following a traumatic event, or repeated trauma, people react in different ways, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to think, feel or respond to trauma, so don't judge your own reactions or those of other people.

Some emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma:
  • Shock, denial, or disbelief.
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings.
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame.
  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Feeling disconnected or numb.
Some physical symptoms of trauma:
  • Insomnia or nightmares.
  • Being startled easily.
  • Racing heartbeat.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Fatigue.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Edginess and agitation.
  • Muscle tension.
Finding a trauma specialist.

Sometimes people are highly against getting any type of therapy for issues, but I'm actually advocating it here - trauma can be significant to someone's life and can almost even make some individuals have trouble with day-to-day activities. I highly recommend seeking a trauma specialist if you know you have been through trauma and trauma is affecting you.

Seek help for emotional or psychological trauma if:
  • Having trouble functioning at home or work.
  • Suffering from severe fear, anxiety or depression.
  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships.
  • Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares or flashbacks.
  • Avoiding more and more things that remind you of the trauma.
  • Emotionally numb and disconnected from others.
  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better.
Since there is a risk of re-traumatization, the healing work is best done with the help of an experienced trauma specialist - finding this specialist may take some time, but it's very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating trauma. The quality of the relationship between the therapist is just as important too, so, trust your instincts - if you don't feel safe with your therapist, find another. There should be a sense of trust and warmth between you and your trauma therapist.

Treatment for psychological and emotional trauma.

In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, one must face and resolve the unbearable feelings and memories that individual has long avoided. Successful trauma treatment must address this imbalance and re-establish your physical sense of safety - otherwise, they will return again and again, unbidden and uncontrollable.

Trauma treatment and healing involves:
  • Processing trauma-related memories and feelings.
  • Discharging pent-up "fight-or-flight" energy.
  • Learning to regulate strong emotions.
  • Building or rebuilding the ability to trust other people.
Trauma therapy treatment approaches:
  • Somatic experiencing takes advantage of the body's unique ability to heal itself. The focus of therapy is on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what's happening in your body, you gradually get in touch with trauma-related energy and tension.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements and other forms of rythmic, left-right stimulation. These back-and-forth eye movements are thought to work by "unfreezing" traumatic memories, allowing you to resolve them.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma. While cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn't treat the physiological effects of trauma, it can be helpful when used in addition to a body-based therapy, such as somatic experiencing or EMDR.

Recovery Tips.

Recovering from emotional and psychological trauma takes time - give yourself time to heal and to mourn the losses you've experienced. Don't try to force the healing process - be patient with the pace of recovery and be prepared for difficult and volatile emotions. Allow yourself to feel whatever you're feeling without guilt.

Trauma Tip #1 - Don't Isolate.

Following a trauma, you may feel the urge to withdraw from others, but isolation makes things worse. Participate in social events, even if you don't feel like it. Do "normal" things with other people, things that have nothing to do with the traumatic experience. Join a support group for trauma survivors because nothing says "support" like people being in the same boat as you.

Trauma Tip #2 - Stay Grounded.

In order to stay grounded after a trauma, it helps to have a structured schedule to follow. Stick to a daily routine, with regular times for waking, sleeping, eating, working, and exercise. Make sure that you break the larger jobs in smaller and more manageable tasks; take pleasure in accomplishing anything, even if it be something little. Find activities that make you feel better and keep your mind occupied, more tips on grounding if you click the tip link.

Trauma Tip #3 - Take Care of Your Health.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid drugs or alcohol (excluding any medication)
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
Recovering from trauma is not impossible, it just takes time and a bit of effort. Hopefully this shed more light on trauma, cheers.

--------

Emotional and Psychological Trauma: http://www.helpguide...ical_trauma.htm
Finding a Therapist: http://www.helpguide..._counseling.htm
Selig's blog post on Social Interaction: http://www.dpselfhel...n-for-recovery/
Blog post on Grounding Techniques: http://www.dpselfhel...nding-can-help/




Great entry.

Great entry.

 

Thanks!

Cool post, and great syntax I might add.

Very informative entry.

Great stuff! One of the most informative and truly useful posts I've seen on this site.

Very informative :)
Very informative :)

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