Trauma can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, economic status, or ethnicity. It is a distressful event or experience that causes physical and emotional harm, and often leaves individuals struggling to cope with the aftermath. Trauma can lead to profound changes in behaviour, and can affect an individual's quality of life if not properly addressed. But how do people respond to trauma? How are trauma responses experienced, and what are the most common ways to respond? And most importantly, can these responses be healed? This blog will explore these questions and more, providing information on common trauma responses, and the importance of seeking the right support to heal.
After experiencing a traumatic event, individuals may respond in various ways. The most common trauma responses can be categorised into three core areas: hyperarousal, intrusions, and avoidance.
Hyperarousal is a physiological response to a perceived or actual threat, causing intense arousing sensations such as sweating, increased heart rate, and panic. This response activates the "fight or flight" reaction that can help individuals react to a threatening situation quickly.
Intrusions are a cognitive response of trauma, which can involve flashbacks, nightmares, memories, and distressing thoughts that can cause the individual to relive the trauma repeatedly.
Avoidance is where individuals may avoid any reminders of the trauma altogether. This can entail avoiding people or situations that hold negative associations, or refusing to engage with certain thoughts or feelings that trigger distressing memories.
It's normal to experience these responses after a traumatic event. However, if an individual continues to experience these responses for prolonged periods, it could potentially lead to PTSD and other mental health conditions. Fortunately, treatments such as EMDR therapy and talk therapy can be highly effective in helping individuals heal and manage these responses.
EMDR therapy, or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, helps individuals process negative feelings and memories using visual and auditory stimuli, while talk therapy provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals to talk through their experiences and emotions.
It's important to understand that healing from trauma is a unique and personal journey for each individual. While some people may find relief in a few sessions of therapy, others may require continuous support. The key takeaway is that each person deserves proper support and care to be able to cope with trauma and heal. Seeking early treatment can help prevent long-term negative effects from trauma exposure.
Trauma responses are normal reactions after experiencing a traumatic event. Acknowledging and understanding these responses is an important step in the healing journey. By providing the right support and care, individuals can learn to manage and deal with their responses in a healthy way. EMDR therapy and talk therapy are both options for healing, and individuals seeking help should feel comfortable exploring these options with a mental health professional. Remember, it takes courage to seek help, and everyone deserves the right to live a fulfilling and happy life free from the grips of trauma.
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.