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What is Trauma?

Trauma has recently become a word we use frequently to describe stressful events in our daily lives. It would be more explanatory to define it as experiential events that develop suddenly and unexpectedly, disrupt the daily routine, evoke feelings of anxiety, horror, panic, and that the person cannot make sense of, even though there are experiences that leave important and effective signs of injury on the person in terms of body and soul. As can be seen, it is important to distinguish psychological trauma from an unpleasant, unpleasant life event. In order to call an event traumatic, the person's event; perceiving it as a threat to life, perceiving it as a threat to bodily integrity, perceiving it as a threat to loved ones, or perceiving it as a threat to the belief system.

The traumatic event may occur as a result of another person's actions or may result from an accident. For example; fire, earthquake, physical or sexual assault, harassment, war, acts of terrorism, car or plane crashes, domestic violence…


What are the Causes of Trauma?

In addition to the components of the trauma listed above, there may be many reasons why a bad event causes trauma. The person is faced with an unknown situation, this situation or event catches the person unprepared, it is not limited to one time, that is, it is repetitive (such as an abusive or violent partner), it is caused by someone else's bad intentions, it occurs in the most vulnerable period of the person, that is, in childhood, The event may leave a traumatic trace due to reasons such as feeling powerless in the face of the event.

What Are the Symptoms of Trauma?

Many people experience strong emotional or physical reactions after a traumatic event. In most cases, these irritating reactions will subside over time after the threat is gone. However, depending on the severity of the event and its significance for us, the symptoms of psychological trauma may worsen or persist for a longer period of time. Some of the most common symptoms are: disturbing thoughts about the event, nightmares, confusion, timidity, anxiety, feeling like you are reliving the event, turbulent mood.

Trauma Process and Stages

Not everyone who experiences trauma is injured in the same way. However, it is necessary to deal with painful emotions, taking time to process what has happened, to heal. It is possible to deal with psychological trauma in four steps. Like the electrical system, the nervous system of humans can be subject to overstimulation. This also happens when a traumatic event occurs. The body tends to shut itself down and only function at a basic level. This is the first stage. Some describe themselves as numb or in shock at this stage, while others report feeling emotionally disconnected. After this initial effect wears off, feelings and emotions begin to return. The person may seem to be constantly talking about the event. They can use writing or drawing as a means of processing what happened to them. This is a way to release feelings of overwhelmed so that healing can begin. Getting into action seems to give people the sense of control they need after the traumatic event. Because their sense of powerlessness has a paralyzing effect. In this period, even ordinary actions such as sending cards to people, visiting hospitals, cooking for someone cannot be denied. Things that give a person a sense of purpose can promote healing. Another healthy way to heal is to be with others. Talking to those who have experienced a similar event is another way to release the pain of the event. At this stage of the healing journey, people report reconnecting with their goals and entering deeper connections with others.

There are also studies that examine trauma in 5 stages. In the first impact stage, that is, immediately after the trauma, feelings of anxiety and fear are in the foreground. In the second phase, many people work at the expense of themselves mentally and physically to cope with the consequences of their disaster. This is called the hero phase. In the honeymoon phase, the person feels great gratitude for surviving and for the help received. The fourth stage is the awakening stage. During this time, people experience feelings of anger and frustration. These feelings are often caused by the authorities not doing what needs to be done in a timely manner. In the last stage, perceptions become more realistic. People accept to take responsibility in order to produce personal solutions to the problems they encounter. This is called the restructuring phase. People's mental and emotional processes are evolving. For this reason, this is the stage where psychotherapy is expected to be most productive.

Childhood Trauma

Many people did not have an ideal childhood and were exposed to traumatic events in their early lives. Physical or sexual abuse, negligent attitudes or violence are unbearable and difficult experiences for children. This person may escape painful childhood memories in adult life. But facing the pain of these experiences is not easy, but necessary. Because when not treated, such traumas continue to make the person pay a price with various mental disorders.

Indirect Trauma (Secondary Traumatic Stress)

Many people experience traumatic stress in life, and this causes us to empathize with them. A caregiver for someone struggling with traumatic stress disorder may experience a secondary trauma. While caring for the patient, it can leave a scar on the eye, a secondary effect of trauma. This is a possible effect of the caregiver being exposed first-hand to the patient's emotions such as pain, distress, terror, and fear, listening to the patient's story over and over again. Although the severity of this trauma differs from person to person, it can lead to prominent symptomatic changes in the perception of the world, self and society.

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