Traumatic experiences affect people’s lives every day. Generally, trauma is defined as the emotional response to an experience or event that causes you to feel extraordinarily distressed or disturbed. Many experiences can result in trauma responses and disorders, and while some may be more severe than others, it’s important to remember that trauma affects everyone differently. According to a 125,000 person survey conducted by the World Health Organization, at least a third had experienced some level of trauma in their life. Since everyone’s threshold for trauma is different, it’s challenging to determine which experiences and events would cause post-traumatic type symptoms or disorders. 

Symptoms and Responses

Symptoms of a traumatic event or experience can vary depending on the person. Generally, an individual’s trauma responses can result in these symptoms:

Physical

  • GI Issues
  • Headaches
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle tension

Emotional

  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Denial
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Depression and anxiety

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Common among many adults, PTSD is a mental health condition that causes various trauma-induced responses as a result of experiencing a traumatic event. For those that suffer from PTSD, common symptoms may include night terrors and flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable worrying. It makes the ability to cope and adjust to certain situations more difficult and can directly interfere with day to day functions. PTSD symptoms can arise during different periods of time, and they can have varying levels of severity. During periods of high stress, symptoms may be more prevalent, and specific events can become triggers that signal PTSD responses and traumatic memories.

Developmental Trauma Disorder 

Developmental trauma refers to trauma that’s experienced during the early years of life, typically between birth and age three. This form of trauma is the result of emotionally, mentally, or physically damaging events such as abuse, abandonment, or general neglect. When these various forms of traumatic events impact a child, they tend to interfere with cognitive, neurological, and psychosocial development directly. Consider the importance of early childhood development. The events that occur early in life have an impact on how we respond and cope with stress. Dealing with damaging traumatic experiences disrupts regular development and can often result in various psychological diagnoses such as early on anxiety and depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and multiple learning disabilities.