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What Is Trauma?

What Is Trauma?

In the event that you are considering therapy for anxiety or depression, know your struggles may be rooted in past experiences. Trauma can occur because of any distressing experience or event. To clarify, this issue can make it more difficult to function as part of everyday life. Such distressing events can inflict lasting psychological, emotional or physical damage, causing symptoms like anxiety and depression. However, therapy can help you work through and overcome your symptoms for healthier and happier daily living.

Symptoms of trauma include:

  • Intrusive thoughts and memories, often called flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance, feeling too on-guard and sensitive to your surroundings
  • Hyperarousal, being on edge or highly alert
  • Feeling unsafe around people, places or situations

With these symptoms of trauma are a range of emotional and psychological effects. These can include:

  • Concentration problems
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Anger, mood swings and irritability
  • Withdrawal from others and once-loved activities
  • Guilt, self-blame and shame
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Numbness or feelings of disconnection
  • Depression

Many people experiencing the effects of this also have physical symptoms. These may include sleep problems, nightmares, fatigue, racing heartbeat, aches, pains and muscle tension. Therefore, as you can see, the combined psychological, emotional and physical effects are wide-ranging and disruptive. But therapy can help.

Types of Trauma

Traumatic experiences and events are wide-ranging. But some of the most common scenarios include:

  • Abuse
  • Rape
  • Assault
  • Loss of employment
  • Auto accidents
  • Serious illness
  • Death of a loved one
  • Military combat
  • Physical injury
  • Terrorism
  • Violence
  • Divorce
  • Imprisonment
  • Natural disasters
  • Family or parental abandonment
  • Witnessing violence, injury or death

You can experience trauma after one-time events or ongoing issues. Both the causes and effects of traumatic experiences are highly individualized. What affects one person in these ways may not similarly affect another.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a more severe form of trauma. Typical traumatic reactions are certainly distressing, on their own. But PTSD includes more severe and intense symptoms. While you may go through a traumatic event and experience identifiable symptoms in the aftermath, PTSD is more complex and takes time to diagnose. 

PTSD symptoms include:

  • Lost interest and detachment
  • Isolation from others
  • Avoidance of situations, people or activities
  • Unhealthy coping behaviors like substance abuse

Although PTSD is a complex collection of symptoms, therapy can help you get your life back on track. It is important to seek therapeutic treatment as the symptoms typically will not go away on their own. In fact, they can grow worse over time. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

Not all traumatic events or experiences lead to a diagnosis of PTSD or another related condition. But when the effects of your past experiences create problems in your daily life, it is important to see a therapist. An experienced trauma-informed therapist will determine whether you meet the diagnostic criteria for a disorder related to past stress or trauma. 

After diagnosis, talk therapy provides the support you need to overcome many symptoms and learn coping skills for everyday living. Accordingly, treatment is highly individualized and often involves a combination of psychotherapy and self-care. 

In conclusion, if you have experienced and struggle with any of the above symptoms, Greene Psychology Group in Raleigh, NC can help. Our skilled professionals offer a range of therapies and treatment methods proven to help individuals work through their difficult experiences for a more enjoyable life. Call us today at 919-205-5339 for scheduling.

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