A trauma is a single life event, or a series of life events that were disturbing and has a long lasting psychological impact on the person causing the loss of functions.
Events that are traumatic include:
- Sexual abuse in childhood
- Physical abuse in childhood
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Being held hostage or imprisoned
- Natural and man-made disasters
- Receiving the diagnosis of a life threatening illness
Symptoms relating to untreated trauma and childhood attachment problems include:
- Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Risk-taking behaviours
- Feeling helpless
- Feeling hopeless
- Compulsive behaviours
- Irritability, anger and rage, mood swings.
- Poor concentration
- Violent behaviours
- Poor sleep patterns
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
The symptoms of PTSD are:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event in a range of sensory forms. This phenomenon is called a flashback.
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma by avoiding or numbing emotions. In some cases, we call it dissociation.
- Chronic hyperarousal of the nervous system. This is called disregulated arousal.
It is important to note that these symptoms are normal to experience immediately after traumatic event. If some of these symptoms persist one month after the traumatic event, a diagnosis of PTSD can be formulated.
When the symptoms of PTSD are chronic, they can lead to psychological disturbances such as:
- Acute anxiety and panic attacks.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Loss of appetite.
- Sexual dysfunctions.
- Difficulties with concentration.
- Difficulties with relationships.
People trying to cope with unresolved psychological trauma often lead an unsatisfying life. Without treatment, it is difficult to recover from the effects of unresolved trauma and its lasting impact on the mind and body.