Trauma can happen to anyone at any point in their lives, leaving many with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aspect of clinical psychology is concerned with a person's response to distress and mental illness.
Many people have gone through traumatic experiences at least once in their lifetime. Sometimes, the symptoms of stress dissipates after a few days or weeks, and other times, they can linger. If the symptoms last for many weeks and begins to interfere with your mental health, work or relationships, this is an indication that you should seek help.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is an event that causes deep stress and a lasting impact. It can be caused by anything from a nasty comment from someone close to you to an event you don’t fully remember. You might not be directly involved in the event causing the stress; witnessing a horror-filled event can lead to trauma or being diagnosed with a medical condition.
Symptoms of trauma can be unpredictable— numbness, flashbacks, dissociation, headaches, and nausea. Trauma can be acute, chronic, and complex. Each type of trauma has its limits and severities. The most common example of trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While it's common to associate PTSD with combat situations and veterans, the fact is it can be faced by people who’ve been in any type of significant event, including being sexually, physically, or mentally assaulted or abused. Accident or disaster victims can also suffer PTSD. Anyone can develop the disorder at any age.
How to Seek Help for Trauma
Although it can be difficult to carry out any type of physical tests to ascertain who’s at risk of PTSD, some factors can point out the dangers. Also, since trauma symptoms vary from person to person, it's impossible to find a specific 'one size fits all' treatment. The human brain largely determines how well and fast traumatic patients respond to treatment.
PTSD manifests in people’s brains differently. A singular treatment of therapy often takes about 5-20 sessions, each of which lasting around 60 minutes. The severity and cause of PTSD mainly determine the session and timeframe.
Another form of treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy, where people are helped to change their thought patterns to influence their emotions and behaviours. It is also important to note that medications alone can’t cure PTSD but can help you manage its symptoms.
People impacted by trauma can try online therapy if arranging a physical session with a psychologist is too overwhelming. There are various online interfaces where people can get remote help with the assistance of a licensed mental health professional.
When Should You Seek Help?
Some people can recover from a traumatic event after speaking with a trusted relative or friend. It's necessary to understand what will work for you. The way people deal with traumatic experiences is different, so it's difficult to state when you need to seek help.
How to Recover
When facing trauma, the default setting is to dissociate from people and withdraw. The goal people want to achieve with this act is to recover or prevent people from labelling you. Speaking with people and opening up about your situation can be the first step towards healing.
Try meditation or exercises that require deep breathing. You can do physical activities like yoga, jogging, or walking. Rest well, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and avoid reliance or overuse of alcohol or drugs.
Do what works best for you. Some people might recover after speaking with someone they trust and respect. If you want to help a friend with trauma, be patient and allow them to express their feelings in a way that's safe and comfortable for them.