Trauma & PTSD

WHAT IS TRAUMA AND PTSD?

Trauma is where the body or mind becomes overwhelmed by traumatic events. Psychological trauma occurs as a result of a distressing event or series of enduring events that lead you to feel totally overwhelmed and unable to cope. If you experience trauma you may feel numb, socially disconnected and isolated. You may find yourself feeling more afraid and vulnerable than before the event.

Psychological trauma is the minds reaction to an event that not everyone will react to in the same way. For example some people would find falling from a height distressing but others love going bungee jumping. The time it takes for the symptoms to show is different for everybody and may take weeks, months or even years.


SYMPTOMS OF TRAUMA

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol/ Drug Abuse
  • Depression
  • Emotional detachment (dissociation),
  • Flashbacks
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Stress

An emotional trauma contains three common elements:

  • It was unexpected
  • The person was unprepared
  • There was nothing the person could do to prevent it from happening

Traumatic events can include; Abuse, accidents, bereavement, brain conditions, catastrophic events, physical injury, terminal illness and violence.

Like most mental health conditions trauma covers a wide spectrum ranging from milder forms to the more severe forms of symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) such as flashbacks and insomnia.

It is especially important to seek help if you’re experiencing the above symptoms.


WAYS TO TREAT TRAUMA

  • Ask for help – For some, asking for help is the hardest part of dealing with a traumatic event. Recognising you're not coping is imperative and can help you to move forward.
  • Don't isolate – It can be very easy to fall off the social radar after a trauma, but connecting with others will help you to heal. Keep a strong support network around you whether it's your friends, family or a support group.
  • Participate in social activities – By taking part in activities you used to enjoy, you will remind yourself of who you are as a person and this will help you reconnect to your old
  • Volunteer to help others – Many sufferers feel helpless following their trauma and one way to challenge this is by volunteering to help others in a similar situation. This helps you move on from your trauma and remind you of your strengths.
  • Stick to a daily routine – Keeping a routine going after a trauma will help to keep you grounded and will help you feel more like 'you' and less like a victim.
  • Acknowledge your feelings as they occur – For some, feelings and memories can arise at any time. Being prepared to acknowledge and deal with them can be key to recovery.
  • Look after yourself – Try to get as much rest as possible, eat well and exercise if you can. Looking after yourself physically will lead to you being able to look after yourself emotionally.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs – These can lead to self-destructive behaviour and won't help you recover or move on.
  • Learn relaxation techniques – Reducing stress and easing tension with meditation, yoga, deep breathing or massage therapy will help you to calm down and rationalise your thoughts.
  • Speak to a therapist - Recommended treatments are CBT and Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR). EDMR is a form of psychotherapy where eye movements are used to unlock past distressing negative memories that are then processed properly and positively. Therapy helps no matter how major or minor your traumatic experience and the sooner you seek this help improves your chances are of speedily overcoming the issues related to this event.