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Trauma is an emotional response to an event that can impact your mental, behavioral, and physical health. Experiencing trauma can make it difficult to function in your daily life, maintain relationships, and pursue goals. Fortunately, seeking support from a therapist or counselor can help you manage your symptoms and build a life of long-term wellness.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to an event or situation where emotional, physical, or life-threatening harm occurred either to yourself or as a witness. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), it is not unusual to experience extreme emotional and physical reactions like shock and denial or nausea and headaches after going through something traumatic. However, some people have difficulties managing those emotional extremes, which can cause trauma to develop into a disorder like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance abuse disorder (SUD). 

Common Signs of Trauma

Common signs of trauma include:

  • Struggle with typical daily life stress
  • Difficulties trusting others
  • Trouble thinking and processing information
  • Issues with memory and attention span
  • Avoidance of people and places

Trauma Statistics

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 70%, or 223.4 million adults have experienced at least one type of traumatic event in their life. While the impact of trauma on adult experiences may stem from childhood, there are also numerous children currently struggling with trauma. An article from APA on “Children and Trauma” states that a significant number of children and adolescents have been exposed to a traumatic life event by the time they are 16.

  • 39% to 85% of children witness community violence
  • Up to 66% experience victimization
  • 25% to 43% are exposed to sexual abuse

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Moreover, research shows boys have a higher exposure rate to trauma than girls in the context of community violence, serious injury, and poverty. Regarding gender, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), notes that 60% of men experience a traumatic event compared to 50% of women. However, women are more likely to experience sexual assault and sexual abuse in childhood with an eight percent chance of their trauma developing into PTSD compared to four percent of men.

Risk Factors for Trauma

There are multiple risk factors for trauma, including:

  • Childhood neglect or abuse
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse 
  • Violent accident
  • Natural disaster
  • Witnessing violence
  • War
  • High-risk jobs
  • An unexpected loss of a loved one
  • Life-threatening medical diagnosis
  • Surgery
  • Poverty
  • Community violence
  • Cultural, intergenerational, and historical 
  • Discrimination
    • Race/ethnicity
    • Gender identity and expression
    • Sexual orientation
    • Country of origin

Health risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart, lung, and kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Suicide
  • Autoimmune diseases

Other risk factors for trauma include:

  • Family history of PTSD or depression
  • SUD
  • Family history of SUD
  • Caretaker
  • Mental health disorders
  • Limited or unhealthy coping strategies
  • Lack of social support
  • Prolonged stress

Why Is Treatment for Trauma Important?

A life filled mostly with joy and fulfillment is something everyone deserves, but untreated mental health disorders can make that feel difficult to achieve. If you’ve experienced trauma, you may struggle with daily functioning, have trouble maintaining relationships, and find it hard to pursue your life goals. 

Seeking support from a therapist or counselor can help you address your trauma, process your feelings, and build coping strategies to support your well-being. Moreover, making a commitment to yourself and to treatment can support you in managing your daily symptoms, reconnecting with your loved ones, setting goals, and finding joy in yourself again.

In addition, reaching out for support after trauma exposure is an important resilience factor to prevent your trauma from developing into a mental health disorder or health issue.

What Does Trauma Feel Like?

The psychological and physical symptoms of trauma can look and feel different for each person. As noted in Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 57, trauma is not a one size fits all condition. Responses can vary, ranging from a normal traumatic stress reaction to exceeding your capacity to cope. In addition, a traumatic stress response does not have set criteria to form one-time, multiple, or long-lasting repetitive traumatic events that can result in a diverse array of reactions.

Some factors can determine an individual’s reaction to trauma, including:

  • Characteristics of the individual
  • The type of event(s)
  • Characteristics of the event(s)
  • Developmental processes
  • What the trauma means to you
  • Sociocultural factors

Trauma can affect people in several different ways. Psychological and emotional symptoms of trauma include:

  • Shock and disbelief
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Issues with concentration
  • Avoidance and withdrawal
  • Guilt
  • Shame 
  • Irritability 
  • Feelings of disconnection
  • Flashbacks

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Sleep issues
  • Fatigue
  • Hypervigilance
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle tension
  • Easily startled
  • Aches and pains
  • Eating issues

What Makes Our Program Unique?

At Mindfuli, we provide trauma-informed care to support you on your wellness journey from the comfort of your home. Our flexible communication platform options offer a variety of options. These options include real-time video, audio-only, and chat-based communications. You can receive social, emotional, and crisis support that best fits your need as you process your trauma in a collaborative safe space. 

To support you and your specific needs on your wellness journey, our licensed therapists and care counselors recognize and are committed to ensuring your well-being with the four Rs of trauma:

  • Realize trauma is widespread
  • Recognize the symptoms of trauma
  • Respond to the trauma
  • Resist re-traumatization

Getting Help

If you feel like you are experiencing symptoms of trauma, seeking support can help you address, process, and heal from your symptoms. Trauma can make it difficult to function in your daily life, maintain your relationships, set goals, and find fulfillment. With the support of a care team and our commitment to trauma-informed care, you can get back to living a life that brings you joy. You can reconnect with yourself and others. At Mindfuli, we will collaborate with you to build a treatment plan designed for your specific needs on your journey to lifelong wellness.

To learn more about how Mindfuli works, visit our FAQ page.

Trauma can make daily life and relationships difficult to manage. With treatment, you can process your trauma as you build life skills and reclaim your well-being. At Mindfuli, our virtual platform and commitment to trauma-informed care can help you reconnect with yourself for lifelong healing. Call (888) 703-3004 to learn more.

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