Tuesday, May 28, 2013


What is a trauma?  You hear about trauma almost every day.  Someone or some group of people are suffering from the trauma of a natural disaster, or a plane crash; not to mention rail disasters or auto accidents.  As these days and years progress, mass shootings are the cause of trauma not only for the victims yet for the loved ones of victims as well.  So how is trauma defined?  Simply, trauma is a disordered physical or behavioral reaction resulting from severe mental, emotional, or physical stress.  In short it is an emotional upset.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop following any traumatic event which may threaten either your safety or cause you to feel helpless.  Most people associate PTSD with soldiers who have been at war.  It is the most common cause of PTSD in men whom have fought in a war or have survived wounds or have gone through emotional stress; yet you should know that any overwhelming life experience can cause trauma especially when you don’t for see the experience and there is no control over the situation.  PTSD can affect people who witness catastrophic events, emergency rescue crew members, members of the police department and fire departments as well; even friends and family members whose loved ones have experienced a traumatic event.  It develops differently in each person, where it will develop, the hours or days after an experience, it may even take weeks, months or even years before the symptoms of PTSD appear.  Remember, any life shattering or emotional experience which leaves you feeling helpless or without hope can lead to trauma.
There are three main types of symptoms for PTSD:  (1) Re-experiencing the event, (2) Avoiding reminders of the event, (3) Increased anxiety and emotional arousal.  Others symptoms which are common of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are:  Anger, Guilt, Self Blame, Drug Addiction, Alcoholism, Mistrust, Hopelessness, Suicide, Alienation and Physical pain.  There are risk factors which involve the nature of the traumatic experience, risk which may increase your vulnerability.  A threat to your life or safety can ensure a traumatic experience and the more extreme, the greater the chances are of a person suffering from PTSD as a response.  Human inflicted harm or pain is more traumatic than the destruction bought about through nature, or a person’s ability to escape from such disasters or other traumatic events.  Two risk factors I have read about are: (1) History of mental illness and (2) Lack of coping skills; each involving escaping memories, avoiding memories and feelings and coping while under the onset of stress.
Treatment for PTSD consist of the person suffering from trauma to get involved in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which involves the patient exposing themselves to their thoughts and emotions of situations which would remind them of the certain traumatic experience.  Therapy involves indentifying thoughts about the event especially thoughts, that could be distorted or non-sensical and then replacing them to gain balance.  Medications relieve some symptoms such as depression or anxiety. 

Written by Donald S.

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