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Trauma is defined as being a psychological state that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a particularly distressing event.
It’s a psychological wound that lingers long after the distress that caused it has passed, and can affect anyone no matter their age, gender, race, or financial status. When this wound goes untreated, the damage to the mind becomes a mental health problem that usually leads to the development of secondary issues, like anxiety and depression. The effects of trauma can therefore drastically impact quality of life, overwhelming an individual to the point where coping with everyday tasks becomes impossible.
They live in a heightened state of stress, fear, and worry that goes on to affect all areas of their life, from relationships with friends and family to work and everything between. Fortunately, trauma treatment exists that can help people begin to heal and regain control over their lives once more.
The strict social isolation measures have had a larger impact on the mental well-being of individuals than we can even start to imagine. The anticipated consequences of self-isolation are key risk factors for our psychological wellbeing. Humans and social interaction are interlinked and plays a huge roll in our overall mental resilience.
The aftermath of Covid is still very unclear as it is still an ongoing crisis. But researchers suspect that the impact will have profound consequences. Keep reading to get an insight into the topic of trauma.
Dealing with traumatic stress post-Covid
It takes time to rebuild a city after a hurricane sweeps through. So will it take time to recover emotionally after a traumatic event transpires. Luckily there are different steps you can take to help yourself or a loved one in need.
Remind yourself that there’s no “wrong” or “right” way to feel
When it comes to trauma, people react in different ways. So don’t tell yourself or let someone else dictate how you should be feeling or thinking.
Never ignore how you feel
Ignoring how you feel will only slow down your recovery process. Allow yourself to feel the way you do without self-judgement. Even some of the most intense feelings will fade after a while if you allow yourself to feel the way you do.
Stop obsessively reliving the traumatic event
Reliving the traumatic events over and over again can overwhelm your central nervous system. We suggest partaking in activities that will keep your mind off of the traumatic event. Reading a book or watching a movie makes for a great distraction.
Re-consider making major life decisions
When you need to make serious life decisions we suggest putting them on hold for a while when dealing with trauma. It is best to overcome the traumatic event and to wait until the dust settles. When you are able to think clearly and you’ve regained emotional balance you can return to those major decisions that awaits you.
Re-establish a healthy routine
We as human beings find comfort in the familiar. After you’ve experienced a traumatic event, getting back to normal can help minimize the impact of it. Try and schedule your day with regular eating, sleeping and relaxing times. The structure and familiarity of routine might help alleviate some stress symptoms.
Emotional symptoms of traumatic stress can include
Shock and disbelief
You might struggle accepting the reality of what has happened, disconnect or even feel numb.Fear
You might fear that the exact same situation might occur again.Sadness or grief
This might occur when you or the people you love have been facing life-altering consequences.Helplessness
When sudden, unpredictable situations pop-up you might be feeling helpless and these can even trigger internal anxiety or depression.Guilt
It is natural to feel some sense of guilt after a traumatic event. Especially in cases where people passed away and you survived.Anger
Anger is easily triggered after a traumatic event. You might be prone to emotional outburst due to a feeling of responsibility over the traumatic event.
Disorders Associated with Trauma
It’s important to remember that trauma and its effects are unlikely to pass without intervention, and therefore it’s a good idea to know what signs to look for so that you can get the help you need before the situation gets out of control. There are few disorders related to or associated with trauma, and these include PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), adjustment disorders, acute stress disorder, reactive attachment disorder, and disinhibited social engagement disorder.
Out of these, PTSD is one of the most common ways in which trauma manifests in an individual. It speaks to the feeling of being unable to move on with life after a traumatic experience – endlessly stuck in the present moment of that most intense terror. Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur when something distressing happens to you, or even witnessing something horrific happen to someone else.
Key symptoms of PTSD include constant, unrelenting, and pervasive feelings of anger, fear, and guilt. These emotions often overwhelm an individual and disables them from living a fulfilling life. They tend to relive the traumatic event over and over in vivid flashbacks or upsetting nightmares and without trauma help, are prone to depression and anxiety as a result.
Substance abuse is also common among those suffering from PTSD, who turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of numbing them to the intense feelings associated with the trauma. Someone with PTSD usually has trouble sleeping, lacks concentration, suffers from panic attacks, and has self-destructive thoughts as well.
Although the causes for trauma mentioned previously are rather broad, there are certain people who predisposed in a way. These include people who have suffered rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, life-threatening illnesses, abuse and other acts of violence, children who have experienced verbal, sexual, or physical abuse and neglect, and then also survivors of extreme events, like car accidents, natural disasters, plane crashes, war, etc.
It is believed that living through any of the aforementioned circumstances puts an individual at risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, where they struggle to cope with the effects of the emotional and psychological consequences of their situation. Ignoring this struggle in the hope it will go away on its own is not advised.
The Dangers of Trauma Left Untreated
At first, symptoms of trauma may seem manageable, but an individual’s brain can only deal with a limited amount of intense anxiety and stress. The type of trauma does not dictate the extent of your symptoms because everyone responds differently to traumatic situations, but one certainty is that trauma cannot heal itself.
If the overwhelming feelings of depression, panic, and fear are left to go on without treatment, acute symptoms will gradually worsen over time. Severe clinical depression, addiction to drugs and alcohol, anxiety disorders, problems with anger and unpredictable moods, and suicidal thoughts are just some of the developments that can stem from untreated trauma.
In this state, an individual will begin to notice their work life suffering, and personal relationships with friends, family, and partners will disintegrate. After a while, physical symptoms will join the emotional and psychological ones. People living with trauma that hasn’t been treated often present with gastrointestinal distress, palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These physical reactions are often unrelated to any immediate stimuli, and can be traced back to residual feelings associated with the initial trauma.
Nobody should have to live their lives riddled with angst and fear, especially when there is trauma treatment available. If you know someone struggling with trauma, or have experienced trauma yourself, give us a call or contact us. Our specialists are ready to provide any information and help you may need.