The experience of trauma comes from feelings of helplessness and powerlessness related to the fear of imminent harm or death. Trauma can arise from situations that involve emotional abuse or neglect, physical injury or assault, or witnessing a disturbing event, such as a death or accident. Trauma can also result from proximity to a natural disaster or war, and may be passed down, generationally.
Trauma may come from a prolonged experience or a single incident, and can happen to children or adults. Not all people are traumatized by events or situations that would appear to be traumatic. For example, some people are able to walk away from a car accident having only experienced acute stress, while others develop ongoing nightmares about the accident and an accompanying fear of driving. Re-experiencing the original event or situation for a long period of time may be an indication of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD can manifest as flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and a cluster of fear-based symptoms and behaviors, such as disconnect and dissociation, hypervigilance, hyperarousal, startle syndrome, superstitious and ritualistic behavior or thoughts, reckless behavior, self-harm, drug abuse, alcoholism, and eating disorders. Due to the way we defend against feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, symptoms of trauma do not always present at the time the trauma occurs.
Best treatments for trauma include: