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What is Trauma and What Are Common Triggers?

Everyone has experienced a traumatic experience in their lives. Whether it’s an event such as a car accident, a natural disaster, or a life-changing ordeal, many people can identify with the experience of being “in shock.” In more severe cases, being “in trauma” is a physical and mental condition that can develop after an experience that involved suddenly, repeatedly, or excessively high levels of stress. 

The effects of being in trauma can be subtle or extremely severe, depending on the person and the circumstances. This article explains what trauma is, what trauma triggers, and how you can avoid being a part of the trauma equation.

What is Trauma?

A person who has been in trauma can often describe the experience as being in “shock.” Shock is a term used to describe the temporary, physiologically-induced withdrawal that follows an overwhelming, unexpected, or dangerous experience. Over time, this withdrawal can cause physical and/or emotional symptoms, such as intense anxiety or insomnia.  

Some people have a “fight or flight” response that kicks in immediately after an experience that involves extreme stress. Others experience a “freeze” response, which causes them to temporarily lose their ability to respond to external stimuli. In either case, being in trauma can cause a person to go into shock.

What Are the Signs of Being in Trauma?

People who are in trauma often show a number of different symptoms, but the four most common are listed below:

  • Physical: Physical symptoms such as a headache, muscle spasms, muscle loss, a pounding heart, and nausea may indicate that a person is in trauma. 
  •  Mental: Emotional symptoms such as an intense anxiety or a sense of detachment from reality, may indicate that a person is in trauma.  
  • Somatic: The loss of hair, teeth, nails, and other body parts, as well as internal organ damage, may indicate that a person is in trauma. 
  • Behavioral: Behaviors such as pacing, talking to themselves, or running away may indicate that a person is in trauma.

How to Help Someone Who Has Experienced Trauma

People who are in trauma often need help understanding what has happened to them. This may be done in the form of psychological support groups, community mental health nurses, or individual counseling. People who are able to talk about what happened to them and express their feelings towards it can receive support in these ways.  

Sometimes, people need help in the area of medical care. A person with a “Brain injury” may not be able to recognize that they have a problem or understand the effects of their actions. A doctor who doesn’t know how to handle a complex medical issue may order unnecessary and harmful tests, procedures, or treatments.

Common Trauma Triggers

As mentioned above, there are many different triggers for trauma. However, the most common ones are exposure to violence, an unhappy childhood, and a difficult relationship. 

  • Exposure to violence: If someone is regularly exposed to violence, they may be more likely to experience trauma. This could be due to a “high-risk” gene that may be passed down from one family member to another, or it could be due to the fact that people who have experienced violence are more likely to be in stressful situations that put them at risk for experiencing it.  
  • An unhappy childhood: We all have emotions, and it’s important for people who have experienced trauma to grieve their loss. This can feel really hard, but it’s necessary. If someone is unable to grieve for the things that they’ve lost, then the memory of that thing will likely stay with them for the rest of their lives, and they may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of it. 
  •  A difficult relationship: This one is tricky. It’s easy to say that you don’t want to be in a relationship that causes you negative emotions, but then you also need to be able to communicate with your partner and be able to tell them how you feel. People with trauma often aren’t aware that they have a problem until they start to experience the effects of it, so you may notice that you’re having trouble communicating with your partner and feeling alone when you’re in the situation that’s causing you so much stress.

Concluding Thoughts

The effects of trauma can be subtle or extremely severe, depending on the person and the circumstances. The symptoms of trauma are similar in many ways, but they’re different enough so that a first-time patient could be misdiagnosed. 

While everyone experiences trauma at some point in their lives, the effects of being in trauma can be particularly harmful to people with PTSD. This is because the symptoms of trauma are often similar, and people with PTSD often lack the coping skills needed to deal with them.  That said, there are ways to reduce your risk of being in the trauma equation, and this guide will help you understand what that looks like so that you can try to avoid it.

Oasis Recovery Center Can Help

If you feel that you or a loved one may be struggling with unresolved trauma, you are not alone. These issues can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services.

 Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
  • Aftercare Services

Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with trauma on your own. We are here to help. 

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