What is Trauma and What are Some of Its Forms?
Trauma refers to the damage done to a person’s brain and emotional
state due to a particularly stressful event. The stress is more than the
person can handle, so the weight causes negative emotions, thoughts, and
behavior. In many cases, this can lead to mental illness and addiction.
Some people mistakenly think that “trauma is trauma”, but that’s
not necessarily the case. There are four different forms of trauma:
- acute trauma
- chronic trauma
- complex trauma
- secondary or vicarious trauma
Acute trauma is trauma derived from one singular event. For example, a
person may experience acute trauma from a horrible car accident. Chronic
trauma typically develops after prolonged exposure to trauma. An example
of chronic trauma is long-term domestic abuse.
Complex trauma is trauma that someone experiences for an extended period
of time. However, it also involves vivid, traumatic moments that in themselves
would cause trauma. Secondary or vicarious trauma is when someone experiences
trauma because of the trauma someone else suffers from. For example, a
child watching an abusive relationship even though they were not abused
Causes of Trauma
A wide number of things can cause trauma. Examples of things that can cause
- Sexual assault
- Medical trauma
- Being kidnapped
- Acts of terrorism
- Natural disasters
- Historical trauma
- Community violence
- Being robbed or attacked
- Traumatic grief/separation
- Witnessing trauma or crime
- Life-threatening illnesses or events
- System-induced trauma due to situations like being removed from the home
The cause of the trauma will likely have a strong influence on how it impacts
a person later in life. For example, someone who experienced a traumatic
car crash may have different triggers and fears than someone who lived
through abuse. In many cases, trauma-based therapy will try to identify
the cause of the trauma to create the best treatment plan.
Signs and Symptoms of Trauma
If you or someone you know is suffering from trauma, it’s important
to get help. However, you need to recognize the symptoms before you know
if there is an issue. There are psychological, behavioral, and physical
signs of trauma.
Psychological signs of trauma are manifestations in a person’s mindset
and psyche. Some psychological signs of trauma are:
Trauma may even affect the way a person behaves and interacts with others.
Some behavioral signs of trauma are:
- withdrawal from friends and family
- alcohol or drug use to self-medicate
- failure to perform home and work responsibilities
Trauma can even take its toll on the body and a person’s appearance.
Some physical signs of trauma are:
- heart palpitations
- digestive problems
Trauma Resolution Therapy
If someone has turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with trauma,
trauma resolution therapy might be the best option. Trauma-based therapy
works to pinpoint the cause of the trauma to cure the addiction. The theory
is that when you attack the root of the problem, the results will be more
Trauma therapy makes a point to care for the patient beyond their addiction
while in treatment and after.
Contact Grace Land Recovery Center to learn more about trauma therapy and how it can help you or your loved one.