Traumatic events are overwhelming situations that involve the threat of death, serious harm, and/or threaten your integrity. Your reactions to trauma can range from minor disruption to serious impairment of everyday functioning. Many traumatic events can occur in one person's life. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Social Anxiety, physical pain, and/or changes to one’s beliefs about safety and intimacy are some of the reactions caused by trauma. 

Traumatic events can cause symptoms of:

  • Intrusive thoughts (nightmares, flashbacks, memories)
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  • Experiencing strong emotional and physical reactions when reminded of the trauma
  • Detachment from others
  • Irritability 
  • Feeling numb/empty
  • Hypervigilance
  • Racing thoughts
  • Shame and blame
  • Feeling anxious and/or depressed
  • Trouble sleeping

How Do I Know it’s Time to Get Help?

For some people, natural coping allows for traumatic stress reactions to diminish. Taking care of your basic needs and connecting with friends/family can be helpful. But if symptoms continue after a month, its time to seek professional counseling. It's also time to seek counseling if attempts to deal with trauma lead to unhealthy coping behaviors such as excessive drinking and/or drug use. 

Examples of Traumatic Events:

  • Near drowning
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Physical attack
  • Military combat
  • Sexual assault
  • Kidnapped/Hostage
  • Car wreck
  • Natural disaster
  • Animal attack
  • Serious medical illness
  • Victim of stalking

People can experience traumatic events on a regular basis. This can lead to what is referred to as Complex PTSD or Developmental PTSD where survival mode has become a way of life.