Traumatic Events and Mental Health

Traumatic Events

GenPsych August 2018

A traumatic event is a frightening, shocking, life-threatening or dangerous event someone experiences which affect them emotionally. These events could be a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake or could be from people in the form of a car accident, act of crime, or a terrorist attack.

How people respond to these traumatic events is an important area of research in mental health. Researchers are looking into the factors which help people get over these events and the factors which cause mental health problems afterward.

Warning Signs of Trauma

People respond and experience traumatic events differently. Usually, people experience intense responses directly after the event occurs, and can suffer the symptoms for several weeks or months. These responses vary from person to person and can include:

Trouble concentrating at work/school and sleeping disorders

Continually reliving or thinking about the event

Constantly feeling anxious, sad, or angry

In most cases, these are normal responses to traumatic events and these symptoms will generally decrease as time passes. Recommended ways of coping with the symptoms during this time period are to avoiding alcohol and drugs, spending quality time with supportive people such as family and friends, doing your best to maintain your normal routine for eating, working out, and sleeping. Staying active keeps your mind busy, your body strong and is a great way to cope with stress.

In some cases, the symptoms of the trauma continue for a longer than expected time and interfere with everyday life. For those people who can’t seem to get past the trauma, it is recommended they seek professional help.

Signals that an individual may need professional help include:

  • Constant worrying and/or feeling very anxious, sad, or afraid

  • Excessive crying

  • The inability to think clearly

  • Frightening thoughts, and/or reliving the traumatic event

  • Acting out and feeling angry all the time

  • Regular nightmares and problems with sleep

  • Avoiding places or people which trigger bad memories or feelings

Physical responses to trauma which could indicate a person needs professional help:

  • Regular or intense headaches

  • Stomach pain and digestive issues

  • Feeling tired all the time

  • Racing heart and unusual sweating

  • Acting very jumpy, uneasy and easily startled

People who previously had mental health issues or had already experienced traumatic events in the past, or who are faced with ongoing stress and lack support from friends and family are more likely to experience stronger symptoms and could need additional help. In some cases, people turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with these feelings. Substances can temporarily cover up these symptoms and feelings, but in the long run, they make life more difficult.

GenPsych’s Adult Psychiatric Programs The Anxiety/Trauma Track

The Anxiety Disorders/Trauma track is designed to educate clients on managing safety, trauma, and anxiety symptoms, to improve social and self-interactions, balance, presence, and control in their daily lives.

Individuals in this track will participate in group therapy, individual sessions with a therapist, and family sessions if desired. Mindfulness, motivational, educational, CBT and DBT approaches are utilized. In all tracks, clients are provided with mood/medication counseling and management.

For more information on our Adult Mental Health programs, click here.

Call (855) 436-7792 or click here to request an appointment.


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