Trauma 101

Understanding Trauma

Emotional trauma results from events or experiences that leave us feeling deeply unsafe and often helpless—that could be a single event, such as a car accident, or be an ongoing experience, such as repeated abuse. We can even feel emotional trauma from witnessing a traumatic event, for example being a witness to a violent attack.

After experiencing a traumatic event, it is possible to develop the mental health condition post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People struggling with PTSD can show a significant change in behavior, mood, and thoughts after a trauma. Depending on the circumstance, PTSD can show up immediately after a traumatic event or much later.

Coping with Trauma

The effects of a traumatic experience can be long-lasting and can impact our mental and physical health. Ignoring our reaction to trauma can lead to unhealthy ways of coping and may worsen the trauma. There are ways to recognize that we or someone we know is struggling with trauma. And with the right support from loved ones and mental health professionals, we can learn to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic experience in healthy ways.

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