If you have been exposed to a traumatic experience at some point throughout your life, you may have found that the incident left you struggling with complex and upsetting emotions, anxiety disorders, phobias, a sense of impending danger, or reoccurring memories that frighten you, or disturb your regular sleeping pattern. On the other hand, you may find that you feel emotionally and physically disconnected from the world around you, and have trouble maintaining meaningful relationships or trusting other people. When terrible things happen to us, it can take some time to completely move past the pain that was caused so that we can begin to feel safe again. However, with the right support and treatment, you can begin to feel like yourself again and speed up your recovery.
Psychological and emotional trauma can shatter your usual sense of security and make you feel vulnerable in what appears to be a terrifying and generous world. Traumatic experiences can involve a threat to your safety or life, but any situation that overwhelms you, harms you, or damages you in anyway way can be considered traumatic, even if you do not suffer from physical pain. The more helpless or frightened an event makes you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized by it, and this trauma can manifest in various psychological conditions and disorders.
The Common Causes of Trauma
An event could lead to psychological disorders or emotional trauma if:
- It happened during a vulnerable stage in your life, such as childhood
- You felt powerless to prevent whatever it was that happened to you
- The event happened unexpectedly and without warning
- You were repeatedly exposed to the same threatening events
In some cases, trauma or PTSD can develop as a response to a single event that has a huge impact on an individual’s life, such as a natural disaster, violent attack, death, or accident. However, it can also arise as a reaction to consistent or ongoing stress, such as struggling with a chronic illness or living in a neighborhood that regularly experiences crime.
Risk Factors That Increase Vulnerability to Trauma
Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other forms of lasting psychological damage such as depression. Some people can rebound relatively quickly from shocking and tragic experiences, whereas others may be devastated on a larger scale by events that seem to be less distressing on the surface. Various risk factors can increase a person’s susceptibility to emotional trauma. For example, an individual is more likely to be traumatized by an experience if they are already experiencing general anxiety, under a great deal of stress or have suffered from a string of recent troubles such as loss within the family. Individuals may also be more likely to suffer from trauma if they have been subject to traumatizing events during their childhood.
Therapy and Treatment for Trauma
When someone is suffering with the symptoms of trauma, they often feel as though they have been frozen into a perpetual state of fear and hyper-arousal. Your nervous system may feel as though it is working in over-drive, and the imbalance can lead to various problems in your quality of life and wellbeing. You may begin to experience panic attacks alongside various emotional and physical symptoms that make it difficult for you to carry on with life as normal.
Successful treatment for trauma must consider the imbalance in your emotions and help you to re-establish a sense of security within your life. Some of the following therapies can be useful in treating psychological trauma:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing uses the back and forth movements of your eyes to help add motion to traumatic memories, so that you may unfreeze and resolve them.
- Somatic experiencing focuses on bodily sensations rather than your memories regarding the traumatic event, helping you to get in touch with the tension in your body so that you might better control your flow of energy into forms of physical release, such as crying and shaking.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you to carefully process and evaluate your feelings and thoughts about whatever it was that happened to you so that you can challenge unhealthy reactions in the future.
Choosing the treatment that is right for you will depend largely on your own experiences, preferences, and the severity of your trauma symptoms. If you feel as though you would benefit from help given by professionals trained to assist you through this difficult time in your life, please call Creative Care today.