What is Trauma?
The word ‘trauma’ mainly refers to the idea of a person possessing a ‘wound’. For a long time throughout history, trauma would only be possible if you suffered a physical injury. The world of psychology began to see trauma differently recently, however. Trauma as a mental and emotional condition emerged due to several areas of social concern: violence against women and children, e.g., rape, abuse, and domestic violence, and the mental health field recognizing PTSD as a medical illness. The mental health field continues to acknowledge the negative affect of trauma as more people begin to share their personal story that involves trauma.
Effects of Trauma
The brain is impacted negatively by trauma. A major part of the brain that helps a person fight against danger becomes over-active. When this occurs, the brain may create too many stress hormones which may cause people to be more vulnerable to disease. A person may also not have proper skills to manage her emotions if she has been impacted by trauma. Sufferers of long-term trauma may experience some of the following emotional issues: anger outbursts, guilt, survivor’s guilt, dissociation, and the inability to feel pleasure. Lastly, a decreased level of self-worth is a severe emotional issue that may stem from a person who experiences trauma.
Speaking Up Against Injustices
Social injustice events throughout the US may also be creating traumatic experiences for individuals. These events, one way or another, are bringing up the following issues into the light: physical and sexual abuse, sexual slavery, spousal abuse, and verbal and emotional abuse children and women suffer frequently. Validating a person’s experience of her trauma is becoming more urgent part of allowing a person to heal from trauma that impacts the body, the mind, and the brain; trauma may impact all these areas within a person often at the same time.
Response from Mental Health Professionals
More recently, mental health professionals are beginning to acknowledge the various ways trauma impacts someone’s life. We have made tremendous progress to recognize and treat the effects of trauma in people. Therapists recommend the following 3 skills to begin the healing process if you have been impacted by trauma.
- Start off your day by identifying a breathing technique that may help you identify how your body responds to trauma symptoms.
- Identify one physical exercise that you can incorporate into your weekly schedule.
- Identify what people, things, or places may trigger symptoms due to trauma. (Identifying triggers is one important step you have to take forward to begin the healing process.)