Trauma and PTSD

The term “trauma” is used to describe situations or experiences that are emotionally overwhelming, distressing, and painful, and cause difficulty in coping with life.  Examples of traumatic events include the loss of a loved one, being in an accident, experiencing sexual assault, or witnessing and/or experience violence. Experiencing a trauma can sometimes lead to emotional responses like shock, denial, anxiety, sadness, and even re-experiencing aspects of the trauma. Additionally, relationships can become strained and physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea can arise as a result of trauma.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have lived through a traumatic event(s). While it is natural to experience a range of emotions and responses after a trauma, many recover from those initial reactions on their own. Those who continue to experience difficulties may be diagnosed with PTSD. People with PTSD often experience a significant amount of fear and distress even when they are no longer in danger.

Common PTSD experiences include:

  • Nightmares
  • Reliving the trauma over and over again
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
  • Losing interest in activities that were in the past enjoyable
  • Feeling tense, and on edge
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Angry outbursts
  • Startled easily
  • Negative thoughts about self or the world

For more information on PTSD: