Trauma occurs in various different ways and as a result of different experiences and environments. When a person experiences a life threatening event, or what is perceived as a life threatening event, the body responds by activating the ‘fight – flight - freeze’ response. While recovery from such events is the norm, sometimes the ‘trauma response’ can remain active and in some cases can effect how our brain responds to everyday events creating a state of constant fear and hypervigilance.
While symptoms can appear within weeks of the event, some people may not realise the impact of a traumatic event until years later when the symptoms eventually create other difficulties or intensify to a problematic level. Typical examples of traumatic events include:
Symptoms manifest in a variety of ways and can include distressing memories such as flashbacks or night terrors, ruminating or reliving the event, experiencing strong emotional and physical reactions. A person’s mood may turn more negative and feelings of detachment and hopefulness can creep in. People can also display self-destructive behaviour, irritability, aggressive behaviour and have trouble contentrating or sleeping.
An important step forward is to recognise that you have gone through something traumatic and may need to access help. Talking about your feelings and the event itself is key, as bottling things up will only exacerbate the issue. In addition, activation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) needs to be regulated and this can be integrated into the therapy. As you recover, try to be patient with yourself, get enough rest and take some exercise if you can.
If your symptoms are not subsiding and your life, work or relationships are being impacted, it may be wise to seek professional help.
IAHIP Psychotherapists are trained to help navigate people through Trauma and PTSD. You can search the IAHIP Psychotherapist Directory for this particular issue or any of the issues that may have developed from these changes.
On the Directory page, simply type the issue into the ‘Areas of Interest’ Box:
For more information on Trauma, you can access articles from our professional journal - Inside Out. Go to the top left of this website page and enter ‘Trauma’ into the search box.