Psychological trauma is an injury in the mind which takes place as a result of distressing events.

Trauma according to American Psychological Association (APA) is defined as the emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event.

People exposed to trauma develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when the events of the cause of this trauma are not properly managed.

TYPE OF TRAUMATIC EVENTS

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sexual Assault
  • War Experience
  • Heart Break
  • Domestic Violence or Witnessing Domestic Violence
  • Terrible Accident
  • Loss of a Loved One
  • Natural Disaster

INCIDENCE

As at October 17th, 2019 60% of men and 50% of women face Psychic Trauma in their lives.

In the United States 70% of adults face Psychic Trauma at least once in their lives (up to 223.4 Million People)

EFFECTS OF PSYCHIC TRAUMA

  • Substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Sexual Problems
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Suicidal thoughts

When an individual is unable to cope with these traumatic events, after 46 weeks of overwhelming traumatic reaction the individual is likely to have post-Traumatic stress disorder.

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

DEFINITION: it is a debilitating mental disorder that follows an experience or witnessing an extremely traumatic tragic or terrifying event. It can affect those who personally experience the trauma, those who witnessed it or those who tried to manage the situation (e.g fire fighter or first responder)

CAUSES OF POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

  1. Actual or threatened death or traumatic memories or experiences related to death, serious injury, threat to psychological integrity.
  2. Attack, rape, kidnapping, child abuse or sudden death of a loved one, genetic or constitutional vulnerability.
  3. Neurochemical/Neuroendocrine factors – biochemical changes in the brain and body; chemical balance in the neurotransmitter.
  • Increased sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis with a strong negative feedback of cortisol, due to a generally increased sensitivity of cortisol receptor PTSD individual will show decreased cortisol output.
  • Traumatic events or emotional experiences trigger a release of stress hormones, like adrenaline which then act on amygdale and memory is then stored or consolidated.
  • Hyper function of sympathetic nervous system. Amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus are shown to be strongly involved in the formation of memories, especially those that are fear related.

Clinical manifestation-symptoms may develop after a period of latency; usually six months to one year after the trauma events and can include: –

Anger, irritability, insomnia, guilt, shame or self-blame, hypervigilance, dissociation, anorexia, anxiety, hyper arousal, avoidance, substance abuse, feelings of mistrust or betrayal, self mutilation, depression, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, or a suicidal tendency.

TREATMENT

The main treatment is psychotherapy, which involves visiting a psychologist.

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