Trauma

Facts

  • About 50% of all U.S. adults will experience at least one traumatic event in their lives.
  • About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives.
  • It is possible for some people to develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being exposed to a major traumatic event. Of those who experience PTSD, an estimated 36.6% have serious impairment.
  • More than 20% of active duty military and veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Trauma is a direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury; threat to one’s physical integrity, witnessing an event that involves the above experience, learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death, or injury experienced by a family member or close associate.

Psychologically traumatic experiences often involve physical trauma that threatens one’s survival and sense of security. Typical causes and dangers of psychological trauma include harassment, embarrassment, abandonment, abusive relationships, rejection, co-dependence, physical assault, sexual abuse, partner battery, employment discrimination, police brutality, judicial corruption and misconduct, bullying, paternalism, indoctrination, being the victim of an alcoholic parent, the threat or the witnessing of violence (particularly in childhood), life-threatening medical conditions, and medication-induced trauma.

Catastrophic natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, large scale transportation accidents, house or domestic fire, motor vehicle accident, mass interpersonal violence like war, terrorist attacks or other mass victimization like sex trafficking, being taken as a hostage or being kidnapped can also cause psychological trauma.

Long-term exposure to situations such as extreme poverty or other forms of abuse, such as verbal abuse, exist independently of physical trauma but still generate psychological trauma.

During war or conflict, military Service Members and civilians are exposed to a number of potentially traumatic events. This exposure can increase their chances of having PTSD or other mental health problems.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school or spend time with people you care about.

But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, if you were directly exposed to the trauma or injured, you are more likely to develop PTSD.

Symptoms of Trauma and PTSD include:

  • Persistent, frightening thoughts and memories of the event(s)
  • Nightmares and sleep problems
  • Feeling detached or numb or easily startled
  • Impairment in a person’s ability to function at work, at home and socially
  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks of the event(s)
  • Substance Use
  • Experience of disasters and natural disasters,including war, abuse, violence, mechanized accidents (car, train, or plane crashes, etc.) or medical emergencies

While overcoming the effects of trauma can seem impossible, help is available at CenterPointe Hospital of Columbia. By receiving professional treatment, the long-lasting effects of trauma can be lessened or prevented altogether.