If you’ve had a traumatic experience, you may be struggling with disturbing emotions, frightening memories or a sense that something bad is going to happen. You might also feel numb, disconnected and unable to trust others.
Emotional trauma results from extremely stressful events that shatter your sense of security, leaving you feeling helpless and vulnerable.
Traumatic events often threaten your life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed can traumatize you, even if you are not physically harmed. These events may be one-time occurrences, such as a natural disaster or violent attack. Sometimes the trauma is caused by ongoing, chronic stress, such as extended unemployment or struggling with cancer.
Some risk factors make people more susceptible to trauma- especially those who are under stress or have recently suffered a string of losses. If you’ve experienced childhood traumas such as serious illness, separation from a parent or sexual or physical abuse you are at increased risk for trauma as an adult.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an outcome of psychological trauma. This can happen when someone has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to his or her own physical integrity. In PTSD, the person responds with intense fear, helplessness or horror. (Children may respond with disorganized or agitated behavior.)