We understand as psychic or psychological trauma, the consequence of a threatening emotional event or a negative event that happens to an individual ; which causes permanent or prolonged injuries and damage to the subject’s psyche.
Traumatic experiences are often life-threatening, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed can turn traumatic, even if it is not physical damage.
What determines whether an event becomes traumatic or not is the subjective experience of each individual . A negative and highly stressful event creates psychological trauma when the individual’s ability to cope is overwhelmed. In this case, the subject becomes a prisoner of the negative emotions that trauma entails and loses the ability to cope with it.
According to the definition of trauma given by the Sidran Institute, it refers to the book »How to face and overcome trauma: A guide to self-understanding» by the American psychologist Jon G. Allen, where he reminds us that there are two components that make a experience is traumatic: the objective and the subjective:
“It is the subjective experience of objective events that constitutes the trauma… The more you think you are in danger, the more traumatized you will be… Psychologically, the bottom line of trauma is overwhelming emotion and a feeling of utter helplessness . There may or may not be a bodily injury, but psychological trauma is, together with physiological disorder, the plays a major role in the long-term effects “(p.14).
Not all people react the same to a negative event , because for some that event can become traumatic and for others it cannot, therefore it is not possible to generalize the causes that could trigger psychological trauma.
Causes of psychological trauma
The causes that can generate trauma at a psychological level are diverse, among them we find:
- Accidents and injuries
- S er victims of violence or witnessed incidents of violence (especially within the family)
- Relentless stress
- Natural disasters
- Death of a close relative
- Breakup of a significant relationship
- Humiliating or deeply disappointing experience
- Victims of sexual abuse
People with psychological trauma have a number of patterns and similarities that help their therapist determine which stressor was the trigger for the trauma.
Symptoms of psychological trauma
There are two types of symptoms that are taken into account when differentiating a psychological trauma: emotional symptoms and physical symptoms.
- State of shock
- Go to
- Feeling of guilt and shame
- Feeling of grief
Physical symptoms :
- Frequent dizziness
- Stay on your toes
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress is defined in psychology as a reaction that alters the behavior of the mind to a highly stressful and physically threatening event, which often presents symptoms for an extended period of time. Some of the symptoms that persist during post-traumatic stress episodes are: anxiety , flashbacks, hypervigilia , depression , panic attacks , phobias, and personality disorders.
People who experience PTSD may continue to feel fearful, insecure, or anxious, even when they are not in the presence of a dangerous situation.
How is a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosing a post-traumatic stress disorder is to perform a physical examination of the patient. Said examination will be performed to rule out that the patient has any health condition that is generating symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Then blood tests will be performed to rule out that some hormones that affect mood are affecting the patient symptomatically.
From these two studies, we will take note of mental health. A pass will be given to a mental health professional who will ask you questions about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Next, the psychiatrist or psychotherapist will make a diagnosis based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. According to the manual, to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorders, an individual must show the symptoms associated with said disorder for at least one month. You must also have experienced or witnessed traumatic events, physically threatening events, or have learned from a traumatic event that was experienced by someone close to you.
Treatment of psychological trauma
Unresolved trauma is one of the most common reasons people seek counseling or therapy.
The most effective treatment for people who suffer from mental trauma is psychotherapy , which helps to minimize and face the effects caused by a traumatic experience.
With psychotherapy , it is possible to reach the focus of the trauma and with the advice of his therapist, the individual takes certain guidelines to deal with it.
The psychotherapist will provide the subject with the necessary tools so that he can overcome his condition in the healthiest way possible, in addition to helping him organize the feelings that were misplaced in the mind due to a highly negative event.
In some cases, the psychotherapist may prescribe medications, such as antidepressants, anxiolytics, and mood stabilizers, which are used to help manage the more difficult symptoms of PTSD.
The therapies most used and recognized for their efficacy for the treatment of trauma are: cognitive-behavioral therapy, desensitization and reprocessing therapy for eye movements and hypnotherapy.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy helps the patient process distressing memories and beliefs. According to the experts in this therapy, when a traumatic experience occurs or an experience that distresses the subject, it can cause normal coping mechanisms to fail and memory and its associated stimuli begin to be processed improperly, causing memories to be stored in an isolated memory network, therefore, it would not be easy to make them conscious again.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.