There are different types and levels of Trauma
When most people when hear the word trauma, they think of a terriblly painful or horrible ordeal. This is understandable because trauma is defined as damage caused by physical harm from an external source.
However, all trauma is not equal. Trauma can result in a wide “pain range” from light to excruciating. When trauma is on the excruciating end of the scale it can be severe enough to cause damage to the person’s psyche. This type of “major trauma” is called psychological trauma.
Effects of Trauma
Some people who experience light traumatic pain have no problems shrugging it off. They treat it as a learning experience, something to avoid in the future.
While others who experience a relatively heavier traumatic encounter develop a certain kind of fear or negative characteristic. The list below contains some of the “possible” negative characteristics to be developed. This is borrowed from an article published online by the University of New Hampshire:
- unrest in certain situations
- being “shut down”
- being very passive
- feeling depressed
- eating problems
- needing to do certain things over and over
- unusual fears
- always having to have things a certain way
- doing strange or risky things
- having a hard time concentrating
- wanting to hurt yourself
- being unable to trust anyone
- feeling unlikable
Identifying and Hiding Trauma
The reasons for trauma symptoms are not always obvious. Unfortunately, some people have these symptoms and have not realized why. On the other hand, there are individuals who are aware of the traumatic experience but opted to keep it a secret for varying reasons – fear of it happening again, embarrassment, etc.
Either way, not resolving traumatic experiences is unhealthy. It does not only affect one’s self, but others as well. There is a tendency for traumatized individuals to hurt the people around them, push them away, in order to avoid another painful encounter or memory.
Here are some examples of a major trauma events:
- A severe accident
- Abuse in any form (sexual, physical, emotional)
- Being neglected / unaccepted
- War experiences
- Personal major illnesses, surgeries, and disabilities
- Sickness or death of a love one or family member
- Unfortunate events like being loss, close encounter with natural disasters,
Dealing with Trauma
Seeking professional advice and assistance is the best way to deal with trauma – especially if we are talking about a very violent encounter that is severely affecting the current lifestyle of the individual.
However, there are thousands of “self help guides” published on the internet. Unfortunately, with the numerous choices to choose from, it might get confusing and may not produce acceptable results. Before following one, don’t forget to consult and discuss the procedure with a professional.
Trauma is Everywhere
Dealing and facing a major trauma is a serious matter and is extremely prevalent in our society.
As indicated on the statistics gathered and published by FCADV (Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence – http://www.fcadv.org/projects-programs/trauma-mental-health-domestic-violence#stats):
- Between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually (American Bar Association, 2009).
- Across studies of US and Canadian women receiving services for domestic violence, rates of depression ranged from 17% to 72%, and rates of PTSD ranged from 33% to 88% (Warshaw & Barnes, 2003).
PTSD and Crime
Lastly, extreme cases of trauma may lead an individual to commit a crime. A good example would be the murder case of Iraq War Veteran Eddie Ray Routh for the shootings of Chad Littlefield and Chris Kyle – a former Navy SEAL, author, and whose life story was the inspiration for the recently released film “American Sniper”
According to the news, the defense of Routh will revolve around the state of mind of their client and that 15% of Iraq and Afghan war veterans have PTSD.