How to Deal With Trauma
If you have experienced a terrible event like a severe car crash or an ongoing stressful event like harmful acts of violence, this is known as a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a shocking, scary or dangerous experience that can affect someone emotionally and physically. Traumatic events can leave us with feelings such as horror, numbness, loneliness, helplessness and anxiety. In some cases, there is also the threat of serious injury after the event is over.
We at Seneca Health Services understand that it can often take time to get over the pain and feel like yourself again after a traumatic event. Our mission is to help our patients find the life that they want to live. And if you are looking for an ally, we want you to know that our team is here for you too. You are never alone.
Continue reading to learn more about how to deal with trauma.
What are the Symptoms of Trauma?
It is necessary to understand that we all react to trauma in different ways. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, responses to trauma can be immediate or delayed, brief or prolonged. In most cases, people experience intense emotional reactions immediately after the event, but these emotions can continue for several weeks and months into the future. These feelings are normal, and they should lessen in severity over time. Some emotional symptoms of trauma include:
- Feeling anxious, sad or angry
- Trouble concentrating and sleeping
- Continually thinking about what happened
You may also experience physical symptoms after a traumatic event. Some physical symptoms of trauma include:
- Stomach pain and digestive issues
- Feeling tired
- Racing heart and sweating
- Being very jumpy and easily startled
In some instances, individuals who experience a traumatic event go on to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the CDC, PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of the event that last for many weeks or months after the traumatic event has occurred. If you think you may have PTSD, you should seek professional help. Some symptoms of PTSD include:
- Extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the event
- Feeling guilty
- Extreme fear of harm
- Numbing of emotions
- Uncontrollable shaking, chills or heart palpitations
- Tension headaches
- Staying away from activities, places, thoughts or feelings related to the trauma
- Feeling detached or estranged from others
- Being overly alert or easily startled
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Lack of concentration
How to Heal From Trauma
A traumatic event is reminiscent of loss. And whether there was a physical death involved or not, you may (at minimum) feel like you have temporarily lost the safety and security that you once knew. Therefore, you need to allow yourself time to grieve that loss. Consider the following tips to help you learn to cope, heal and move forward.
- Get moving: Trauma disrupts your body’s national equilibrium and freezes it into a state of hyperarousal and fear, but exercise can help your body repair its nervous system. Therefore, one of the best things you can do to help yourself heal is to get out and move. According to WebMD, deep breathing, gentle stretching and walking are all excellent choices, but if you want to challenge yourself a little more, that is fine too.
- Don’t isolate yourself: It is natural to isolate yourself following a traumatic event, but that isolation can intensify and enhance the feeling and emotions associated with loss and grief. Instead, try to reach out to trusted family members and friends. Maybe they can relate to your situation because they have experienced something similar. Or perhaps, it will just be beneficial to have a conversation with a loved one and not talk about the trauma at all. Additionally, you may want to consider joining a support group for trauma survivors. This can greatly benefit you in your recovery process. A medical professional can help you find a support group in your area.
- Self-regulate your nervous system: No matter how anxious you feel, remember that you can control your brain and calm yourself down. Help Guide suggests strategies like mindful breathing, experimenting with different sensory input techniques, staying grounded and allowing yourself to feel what you feel when you are feeling it.
- Take care of your health: To heal from trauma, you must take care of your overall health. Some tips to improve your health are to be sure to get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol and drugs, eat a well-balanced diet and reduce stress as much as possible.
Finding Help | Seneca Health Services
Working through trauma can be scary, challenging, and re-traumatizing. And sometimes, it may be necessary to consider professional help in your journey to healing.
At Seneca Health Services, we believe effective treatment is different for each individual; therefore, we personalize patient care. That is why we manage each patient’s case individually and provide support to develop the skills they need to manage their illness symptoms. We have therapists certified in various types of therapy, including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy which can assist our patients in coping with a traumatic experience. When a patient enters our therapy services, they will find compassion, companionship, understanding and much more. If you need help or have questions, do not hesitate to contact the Seneca office nearest you or use the link provided here.
Greenbrier County, West Virginia: (304) 497-0500
Nicholas County, West Virginia: (304) 872-2659
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: (304) 799-6865
Webster County, West Virginia: (304) 847-5425