Traumatic events are overwhelming situations that involve the threat of death, helplessness, serious harm, and/or threaten your integrity. Reactions to trauma can range from minor disruption to serious impairment of everyday functioning. Trauma can cause Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, stress, relationship issues, panic attacks, and chronic pain.
Traumatic events can cause symptoms of:
- Intrusive thoughts (nightmares, flashbacks, memories)
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma
- Experiencing strong emotional and physical reactions when reminded of the trauma
- Detachment from others
- Feeling numb/empty
- Hypervigilance - always feeling on guard or watchful
- Racing thoughts
- Shame and blame
- Feeling anxious and/or depressed frequently
- Trouble sleeping
- Fatigue or low energy
- Panic attacks
- Consistent negative thoughts
- Mistrusting others
How do I know it's time to get treatment?
If symptoms continue for over a month, its time to seek professional counseling. Studies show that if symptoms persist for over 3 months, then symptoms are unlikely to go away without treatment. It's also time to seek counseling if attempts to deal with trauma lead to unhealthy coping behaviors such as excessive drinking and/or drug use.
Examples of Traumatic Events:
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Childhood neglect
- Physical attack, robbed, beaten
- Military combat
- Sexual assault
- Car wreck
- Natural disaster
- Animal attack
- Surviving life threatening illness
- Victim of stalking
- Institutional betrayal
People can experience traumatic events on a regular basis. This can lead to what is referred to as Complex PTSD or Developmental PTSD where being in survival mode is a way of life.
Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for all kinds of traumatic stress. Take action today for reclaiming your life!