Traumatic events can cause some side-effects that can have an impact on individuals both emotionally and psychologically. Those who have suffered trauma in their lives are at increased risk of addiction. Traumatic events can include emotional, sexual or physical abuse, being bullied, domestic violence, witnessing armed combat, living with someone with mental health problems, bereavement or having a loved one in prison.

Trauma in childhood increases the risk of addiction and those who have had more than one traumatic event in their lives will have a greater chance of developing an addiction. While not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will develop an addiction, many will experience other side effects including an inability to trust others, a continuous sense of danger, or frightening memories.

Some individuals will develop severe anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can affect their relationships with others and can have a negative impact on their quality of life.

Emotional trauma occurs when it is unexpected, when the person was unprepared for the event and when there was nothing that could be done to prevent the event from happening. How a person experiences an event rather than the event itself determines whether or not it is traumatic. Not everyone will react to the same event in the same way. Some people will find it easier to cope with a particular event than others will.

Examples of Traumatic Events

A traumatic event is one that causes intense upset to a person. It is one that feels like a threat to safety or wellbeing. Many individuals will suffer trauma after a life-threatening event. Below are a few examples of events that can cause psychological or emotional trauma:

  • violent acts such as war, terrorism, and armed robbery
  • natural disasters such as hurricanes, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, or tornados
  • accidents such as workplace accidents or car accidents
  • violence such as domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, or child abuse
  • injuries
  • surgery
  • divorce
  • the sudden death of a loved one
  • diagnosis of a terminal illness
  • miscarriage
  • traumatic childbirth
  • prolonged bullying.

Psychological and emotional trauma can occur after one horrific event such as rape or car accident, or because of a series of repeated events such as sexual abuse or domestic violence. It is not always necessary for the traumatic event to happen to the person. Just witnessing a traumatic event can be enough to cause emotional or psychological trauma.

Risk Factors for Trauma

Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will suffer from psychological or emotional trauma. Some people can deal more effectively with traumatic experiences than others can, and there are a number of risk factors that make trauma more likely.

Those who have already been dealing with a lot of stress or who have experienced some losses recently are more likely to suffer trauma after experiencing a traumatic event. Those who have suffered from trauma in the past are more likely to be affected again by a new stressful event.

Adults who have been exposed to trauma in childhood may have a higher risk of lasting damage, especially if their trauma was not resolved when they were younger.

Symptoms of Trauma

There are a number of side effects that may be experienced after a traumatic event. In most cases, these symptoms will subside but others may last for much longer and can affect the day-to-day life of the person. Symptoms of trauma can be emotional, physical or psychological. Below are a few examples:

  • flashbacks and memories of the event
  • aches and pains
  • constantly being alert for danger
  • exhaustion
  • insomnia
  • being easily startled
  • confusion
  • social withdrawal
  • disorientation
  • nightmares
  • poor concentration
  • depression
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • irritability
  • anger
  • guilt
  • feeling hopeless or sad
  • crying continuously
  • rapid heartbeat.

People react differently to traumatic events. The above symptoms are normal reactions to traumatic events, but when the symptoms take over and affect the quality of life, they need to be treated. At Recovery Lighthouse, we understand the importance of treating trauma effectively. We know that when left untreated, it can develop into a serious problem that can lead to severe depression, paranoia and addiction. In the most severe of cases, those affected may develop suicidal tendencies or become violent with others.

Long-Term Side Effects of Trauma

Emotional and psychological trauma can cause long-term difficulties for a person, which can negatively affect their lives. Traumatic experiences can cause individuals to develop addictions to substances such as alcohol or drugs as they turn to these chemicals in a bid to block out the painful memories.

Some people who suffer from trauma may go on to develop compulsive behaviours or be unable to make healthy lifestyle choices. Others will go through their whole lives with feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt, or shame. Some may feel as though they are permanently and irreparably damaged.

Trauma sufferers may be unable to maintain a healthy relationship with others and may suffer from sexual problems. They could become socially withdrawn and regularly argue with others.

Treating Trauma

Sometimes, the symptoms of trauma will subside and the individual in question may begin to function normally once again. However, the symptoms may sometimes return and leave the person feeling devastated once again. Another stressful situation might cause the symptoms of it to return, or something may happen that causes that person to relive or remember everything all over again. If this happens, the person may need treatment such as counselling or therapy.

Here at Recovery Lighthouse, we understand how it can affect individuals and we know that left untreated can begin to infiltrate a person’s life to the extent that normal daily life is negatively affected. Relationships can be damaged and long-term side effects can occur.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective treatment for trauma and one that we have extensive experience with. Our aim is to identify the cause of it and to help patients deal with this effectively. As well as cognitive behaviour therapy, we have a range of other tools and techniques designed to help trauma sufferers overcome their problems. Call us today for more information on how we can help if you are suffering from any of the above.

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