TRAUMA : How it affects our Mind?
Questions which cross our mind when we talk about Trauma involve, What is Trauma? What can a traumatic event do to the victim? How does it affect the victim's life? What are its symptoms? And how to recover from it?
Let's talk about Trauma and find their answers together!!
Trauma is more than simple stress. Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience caused by an overwhelmingly negative event which has a long lasting impact on the victim's mental and emotional stability. Traumatic events like serious accident, rape, acid attack, physical/sexual abuse, death of a loved one, entrapment, domestic violence etc. can cause immense psychological or emotional Trauma in a victim.
Trauma makes the victim feel lonely and depressed, trapped with our memories, horrifying memories from the past. We feel imprisoned in the place where we have no hope of escape and no ray of light to enlighten our soul. We suffer and are left with nothing but misery and sorrow within. We feel like getting trapped or drowning in deeper and deeper and witness our life experiencing a negative turning point.
What's the news?
- 2020 Beirut explosion affected lakhs of people causing the death of 171+people, making 3 lakh people homeless and 6000+ injured.
- 'Tongue cut’, UP teen raped and killed.
- Gang of seven, rape teen after throwing her brother into well (Madhya Pradesh).
- Surge in domestic violence cases worldwide during lockdown.
- Assam and Bihar floods affected more than 80 lakh people and the total death toll reached 120+.
The trauma, severe stress , anxiety and a sense of loss experienced by these victims or their family members during the event/situation could lead to the development of acute stress disorder(ASD), which later may turn into Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).These highly stressful situations/ experiences can affect the person's capacity to regulate themselves and manage in the face of it. Trauma basically breaks down our sense of self and people are no longer able to function properly temporarily or permanently if not reached out for help.
What does research and statistics suggest about victims of different Traumatic events:-
- In a study done on disaster survivors it was found around 62% of the survivors met the criteria for having acute stress disorder.
- A report suggests that victims of domestic violence are at risk of developing PTSD by 75% and depression by 54%.
- Another report says 80% of teenage girls tend to suffer from mental illness after physical/sexual assault.
A report on children suggests that children who experience traumatic events in their early life are four times more likely to develop a serious mental illness.
Common Symptoms which victim may experience during trauma:-
- Initial reactions to high stressor involve confusion, irritability, concentration problems, change in appetite, feeling fear/anger/frustration, sense of loss/grief, dissociation, avoidance etc.
- Generally Followed by Post Traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) which involves symptoms like Recurring Nightmares and flashbacks of that horrific incident, anxiety, insomnia, depression , reliving that event again and again, social isolation (withdrawal from other people) and possibly substance abuse to deal with symptoms etc.
PTSD usually lasts for more than 1 month and symptoms may appear immediately, or not occur until 6 months or later after the traumatic event.
Memory of a traumatic event stays extremely clear and has a strong emotional quality as when a person's life is at risk or at stake all the senses become activated and one feels a lot of different emotions. These memories are called ‘flashbulb memories’. Recalling/Trigger of such distressing memory can bring the emotional responses, causing one to feel what they once felt before. So, they relive that traumatic event again and again with the same feeling of fear, pain and horror of what they felt earlier. These memories usually persist for lifetime but with the passage of time one learns to control and avoid such memories. Loud noises or any kind of activities associated with the past Traumatic event can trigger Trauma, for example a soldier or victim of physical abuse may show symptoms of Trauma like anxiety or restlessness when exposed to loud noise or any violent act.
HEALING FROM TRAUMA:
Some of the coping strategies to help deal with Trauma:-
- Patience + Hope are the key: Trauma symptoms may last for a week to few months. So, it is very important that you must be patient and hopeful for a better tomorrow.
- Seek medical help: Trauma symptoms vary in intensity from person to person. So, it is important when you find things getting out of hand you must seek help as none of these symptoms are Healthy for anyone and they must be controlled and stopped.
- Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle can really help to speed up our recovery and make things better.
- Maintain Healthy Social relationships: Social isolation is not solution during Trauma. People who have experienced traumatic event can be best recovered when they have social support and they believe in themselves and others.
- Spirituality: Spiritual frame can strengthen the sense of self and spending time with nature accompanied by meditation can really help to keep the mind relaxed and calm. Thus, boosting the recovery.
Recovery from trauma is indeed possible. One can grow from it and flourish in the best way by being supportive together in a safe company. ‘You don't have to do it alone’.