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Traumatic Experiences Guide

Traumatic experiences are experiences that cause emotional or psychological trauma that may be difficult to cope with and can result in various other psychological disorders. People who have suffered a traumatic experience such as abuse, being in an explosion, a terrible wreck or war may show signs of post traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder or MPD, or one of many other psychological disorders.

When bad things happen, the mind may naturally take a while to get over the emotional pain that is associated with the traumatic experience. It may take weeks or even months before the individual feels safe again and for some the pain can last for many years. Depending on the severity of the traumatic experience, the age of the individual and the coping mechanisms that are used, various types of treatment may be offered in order to help an individual to recover from the emotional and psychological trauma associated with traumatic experiences.

Traumatic Experiences Symptoms

Traumatic experiences will usually involve a threat to life or to the individual’s safety. Any situation that leaves the individual feeling overwhelmed and alone may be considered a traumatic experience no matter how threatening or (not threatening) it is. It’s the emotional experience of the individual and how they cope with an event that determines whether the event was a traumatic experience or not. The more scared or frightened an individual is as a result of an experience or event the more likely that event is to be considered traumatic.

Not all stressful events are considered traumatic experiences. Some stressful events carry certain characteristics that are likely to cause the event to be more traumatic than others. For instance, if the event happened unexpectedly or the individual was unprepared for it there is an increased likelihood that the stress can cause emotional or psychological trauma. Additionally, stressful events that happen repeatedly such as physical or sexual abuse may also be considered traumatic. Childhood abuse of any kind is often traumatic to the individual.

Risks Associated with Increased Vulnerability to Traumatic Experiences

Although most everyone will suffer a traumatic experience at least once in their lifetime, not all traumatic experiences will lead to lasting emotional or psychological damage. For some people, a traumatic experience can be quickly overcome and the coping mechanisms are in place to result in a full recovery from the emotional trauma but for others certain experiences may cause lasting shock, devastation and trauma.

Certain risk factors do make an individual more susceptible to emotional trauma or psychological damage as a result of traumatic experiences. People who are under heavy stress at work or at home are more likely to suffer from a traumatic experience that leaves them traumatized. Additionally, those who have already suffered a series of traumatic experiences and who may seem to be coping well with the issues are at an increased risk of further emotional or psychological damage if another traumatic event were to occur.

Traumatic Experiences During Childhood

Children who suffer traumatic experiences are likely to have lasting effects emotionally and psychologically. Certain traumatic events such as being abused physically or sexually can cause serious changes in the psychosis of a child that lasts well into adulthood. Childhood trauma that is left unresolved can carry into adulthood and may even set the stage for future trauma as an adult.

Anything that disrupts the child’s sense of safety or security is considered childhood trauma and may cause significant emotional and psychological damage. Children who have unstable living shelters or who live in an unsafe environment, those who have a serious illness or who must endure intrusive medical procedures (especially at an early age under 3 years old) may have serious emotional and psychological damage as a result of the traumatic experiences. Neglect, bullying or sexual, physical or verbal abuse can also cause emotional instability in a child.

Symptoms of Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma symptoms may include shock or denial or disbelief of an event or of the occurrence of an event. People suffering from emotional trauma may be confused and have difficulty concentrating and they may even have fear or anxiety associated with the traumatic experience. Feelings of numbness, depression and sadness are all possible. Some people who suffer from traumatic experiences will also feel guilt, shame or anger when they think about the traumatic experience that they endured.

Physical Symptoms of Trauma

Physically, the symptoms of trauma include being startled easily and having a racing heartbeat. People who have suffered traumatic experiences may have trouble sleeping, suffer from insomnia or have frequent nightmares related to the event. Fatigue and difficulty concentrating as well as muscle tension and aches and pains are all common physical symptoms of trauma. The physical symptoms of trauma may only last a few days or a few months and in most cases will subside as the individual gradually processes the traumatic event and learns how to cope appropriately.

Treatment for Psychological or Emotional Trauma

There are various treatments available for those who have suffered from traumatic experiences. Healing from trauma is a long term process and may involve being faced with feelings and memories that the individual would much rather avoid. The process of healing from trauma related memories and feelings involved rehashing those thoughts and learning how to effectively cope with the emotional and psychological pain associated with the memories.

Various types of therapy exist to treat emotional and psychological trauma. Somatic experiencing, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing as well as cognitive behavioral therapy may all be used to help an individual who has suffered traumatic experiences to cope with the pain. Depending on the severity of the experience and the symptoms, some people may also respond well to medication based treatment which may involve the use of antidepressants and other prescription medications to treat the emotional and psychological trauma that is left behind.

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