How to Deal With Psychological Trauma

November 30, 2022

6 min read

How to Deal With Psychological Trauma

Meta title: How to deal with psychological trauma

Meta description: Psychological trauma is a reaction to a stressful occurrence. It is essential to know its symptoms, the reasons behind it, its effects on daily life, and how to cope.

Introduction

Trauma is a psychological reaction to a distressing event like a natural disaster, violent attack, sexual assault, prolonged exposure to physical or emotional abuse or accident. In the long run, trauma can lead to psychosomatic pains, inability to express abnormal emotions, unhealthy relationships, and even physical discomfort, such as stress, insomnia, eating disorders or nausea.

 

What is psychological trauma?

Though, highly stressful events that make you feel helpless and insecure can lead to emotional and psychological trauma. As a result, you may struggle with brain fogging, conflicting feelings, memories, stress, low self-esteem, fear and anxiety. You may also experience feelings of numbness, alienation and distrust.

 

Reasons behind psychological trauma

The reasons behind psychological trauma may include the following:

  • Environmental factors

    These include experiencing traumatic events that frequently recur, such as bullying, domestic violence or parental neglect, fighting a life-threatening illness, or living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood.

  • Psychological factors

    These include surgery (especially during the first three years of life), the unexpected death of a loved one, the end of a meaningful relationship, or an embarrassing or profoundly disappointing experience.

  • One-time factors

    These include accidents, physical injury, or being the recipient of a violent attack, especially during childhood.

Symptoms of psychological trauma

Psychological or emotional symptoms of trauma may include:

  • Shock or disbelief

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Mood swings or rude behaviour

  • Fear or anxiety

  • Shame and guilt

  • Isolating yourself

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness

  • Feeling disconnected.

Physical symptoms of trauma may include:

  • Nightmares

  • Fatigue

  • Getting frightened easily

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Headaches and nausea

  • Insomnia.

Effects of psychological trauma

Here are some possible effects of psychological trauma:

  • Attempting to avoid thinking about or discussing the traumatic event.

  • Avoiding objects, people and situations that bring back memories of the traumatic event.

  • Negative mindset or thoughts about others or the world.

  • Feelings of hopelessness when thinking about the future.

  • Memory loss issues

  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

  • Feeling cut off from friends and family

  • Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable

  • Difficulty in experiencing happiness

  • Lack of emotional responses

  • Getting startled or frightened easily

  • Being on constant alert for danger

  • Indulging in binge drinking or speeding

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Anger flare-ups, irritability, or aggressive behaviour

  • Overwhelming feelings of shame or guilt

  • Unsettling dreams may contain elements of the traumatic event.

  • Overeating or disliking of food which once you binged on

How to overcome psychological trauma

Here’s how you can overcome your psychological trauma:

 

 

Get moving

  • Exercise: Exercise boosts energy and refreshes the mind and soul. Make a habit of exercising for 30 minutes or divide this into three 10-minute spurts daily for more significant results. Walking, swimming, basketball, running and dancing are highly beneficial ways to move. Listen to music/mantras, or take your loved one for a walk. ( It can be a pet too! )

  • Meditation to relieve stress and anxiety: Meditation is the best technique for attaining a state of tranquillity. It not only relieves stress and anxiety but also reduces the risks of heart problems. Here’s a step-by-step guide to meditation, and you can also refer to these meditation videos. You can start with two mins and then gradually increase the time over some time.

  • Do yoga: Practicing yoga encourages spiritual growth and releases stress and anxiety. You can learn the different asanas and benefits of yoga here.

  • Muscle Relaxation Technique- This can be done while sitting or lying down. You can start from head to toe or vice versa. If you start from the head, tighten the muscles of the head, hold on for five/ten seconds and then gradually release it; repeat the same one by one for the neck, shoulders, arms, forearms, hands, chest, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and then toes. If you wish to start from your toes, you can end up at the head muscles. You can repeat this as and when required to relieve the stress stored in the body.

Do not withdraw

  • It’s okay not to talk about trauma: Being around people does not necessarily mean talking about trauma. However, try not to withdraw from connecting with people due to fear of trauma. Connecting with friends and family will help divert your mind and gain acceptance. You can politely refuse to talk or discuss your pain with your friends and relatives if you don’t want to talk about it.

  • Ask for help: It is essential to communicate and share feelings face-to-face with someone who does not judge you, such as a friend, parent, or sibling school counsellor or psychologist.

  • Reconnect: Make an effort to reconnect with old friends.

  • Join a support group of trauma survivors: Communicating with people who went through the same conditions and hearing ways to cope with trauma can reduce feelings of isolation.

  • Be a part of social activities: Although people experiencing trauma generally do not like participating in social activities, reducing negative thoughts’ risks is essential.

  • Help others: Helping others or volunteering for social work helps you cope and reduces feelings of helplessness post-trauma.

  • Make new friends: If you don’t have family nearby, try to make new friends. Find people with similar interests who are easy to connect with.

Take care of your health.

  • Get sufficient sleep: Sleeping for 6-8 hours at night can cure most health conditions. Try to regulate your sleep cycles. Try to go to bed at a fixed time and keep gadgets at bay during bedtime.

  • Cut out substance abuse: Avoid Alcohol and drug abuse because they can exacerbate trauma symptoms and increase stress, anxiety, and loneliness.

  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy and balanced diet keeps you fit and lessens trauma symptoms. Include omega-3-rich foods such as salmon, walnuts and soybeans in your diet. Avoid fried and sugary foods.

Try medications and therapy.

  • Medications: While medications cannot completely heal trauma, they can help a person manage symptoms, including anxiety, depression and insomnia. The doctor may suggest antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

  • Therapy: Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Cognitive Drill Therapy (CDT) are effective treatment methods for psychological trauma. It helps people regulate their thought processes, improving their emotions and behaviours.

Conclusion

However, intense reactions you have to psychological trauma are normal. Many factors cause psychological trauma, and the various symptoms can make you feel mentally unstable, but the condition is manageable. Communicating with friends and family and seeking medical care can help us effectively overcome psychological trauma’s effects.

References
[1] Emotional and psychological trauma – Helpguide.org.”
[2] “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” Mayo Clinic, 13-Dec-2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/. [Accessed: 22-Dec-2022].
[3] Wikipedia contributors, “Psychological trauma,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 17-Dec-2022. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/.

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