Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel a range of emotions and experiences.
Response to a traumatic event varies significantly among people. Some basic common symptoms Emotional signs such as sadness, anger, denial, fear and shame. These can lead to nightmares, insomnia, difficulty with relationships. Common physical symptoms include nausea, dizziness, altered sleep patterns, changes in appetite, headaches. Psychological disorders may include PTSD, depression, anxiety, dissociative disorders, substance abuse. Not every traumatized person develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some people develop some symptoms like those listed above, but they go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder (ASD).
When the symptoms last more than a month and seriously affect the person’s ability to function, the person may be suffering from PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show symptoms for months after the event itself. And some people deal with PTSD symptoms of a traumatic experience for the rest of their life. Symptoms of PTSD can escalate to panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings, drug abuse, feelings of being isolated and not being able to complete daily tasks. Therapy can help by understanding the underlying causes and triggers of your trauma, both conscious and unconscious, by talking through your feelings in such a way that enables you to fully process the traumatic experience and by developing ways to manage your day-to-day life – this usually involves both cognitive (how you think about it) and behavioural (actions, tasks, homework etc) work.