Trauma is an emotional response to a tragic event. Feeling shock and disbelief are common symptoms following a traumatic event. A traumatic event consists of an experience (either a single episode or recurring events) that overwhelm an individual to the point where they are unable to cope and join together ideas and emotions involved with the experience. While the feelings people experience are normal to an abnormal event, some people experience difficulty with moving forward in their day to day lives. Although trauma can surface by a large array of events, there are usually a few common components to it. Usually, there is a violation of the person’s ideas about the world and human rights causing extreme confusion. Also when the individual is dependent upon another for survival, trauma can stem from the violation of that power through some form of abuse. Some other factors contributing to trauma can be:
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Being the victim of an alcoholic parent
- Catastrophic events
- Long term exposure to difficult situation
- Natural disasters
It is important to remember that people will react differently to similar events. One theory as to why this occurs is that a person’s beliefs and experiences can shape their perception and interpretation of the event. Thus if a person perceives danger, they are more likely to experience symptoms of trauma. The level of trauma experienced will differ with a person’s encounter of tragic events throughout their lifetime, and the outcome of how they coped with such events. One way to determine a person’s progress to dealing with trauma is looking at a person’s sense of self-efficacy (the belief in ones capability in achievement). Once trauma is diagnosed, you would have several treatment options. Some of those options include the following:
- Individualized psychotherapy – this form of counseling helps an individual become more aware and better able to cope with their problems. It provides support and help by examining some of the underlying reasons of trauma. There are many methods of therapy including cognitive, behavioral, and psychoanalysis.
- Psychotherapy and support groups – support groups are a great option to relate to and connect with others. Group members learn from each other. Oftentimes this option helps to not feel alone.
- Medication – medications are used to treat people with severe trauma. It helps to correct the imbalances of certain brain chemicals.
- Alternative therapy (though field therapy, acupuncture, natural remedies) – though field therapy provides a quick relief of symptoms. Recently, people have been trying alternative methods prior to medication.
- Educational classes – offers material to help one learn to understand and cope with trauma.
- Self-care – learning to pay attention to one’s lifestyle, eating, and exercising habits.
Individual therapy is offered to help one learn about coping skills, problem solving, learning ways to increase motivation, and understanding underlying causes of one’s anxiety.