Trauma and PTSD
Trauma is an emotional response to an event or experience that the individual perceives to be physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening. It results in lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning. In the United States, 61 percent of men and 51 percent of women report exposure to at least one lifetime traumatic event. And, 90 percent of clients in public behavioral health care settings have experienced trauma.
Regardless of its source, trauma contains three common elements. Firstly, it was unexpected. Secondly, the person was unprepared. Thirdly, there was nothing the person could do to stop it from happening. Simply put, traumatic events are beyond a person’s control. It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone. Rather, it is the individual’s experience of the event and the meaning they attach to it.
Not everyone who goes through something traumatic develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, many people show some of these symptoms right after a stressful event but gradually return to normal within a few months or weeks. On the other hand, when PTSD does develop it requires specialized treatment. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms listed below, you may have developed PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms listed below, you may have developed PTSD.
· Recurrent and intrusive thoughts or memories of the event.
· Nightmares or bad dreams related to the trauma you experienced
· Feeling like the really stressful situation is
happening all over again (flashbacks)
· Feeling triggered or anxious when you are reminded of the traumatic situation. This may even include physical reactions
· Avoiding upsetting memories, thoughts or
feelings related to the traumatic event
· Avoiding things that remind of you of the stressful situation.
· Difficulty remembering some parts of the
· Symptoms of depression such as frequently
feeling bad (fear, anger, guilt or shame), feeling
disconnected from others or not feeling interested in things you used to enjoy.
· Getting angry more easily than usual
· Reckless or self-destructive behavior
· Feeling always on edge and/or easily startled
· Difficulty concentrating
· Sleep problems-trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, not feeling rested and/or nightmares