Experiencing trauma is unfortunately common with up to 65% of people be exposed to some type of traumatic event during the course of their lifetime. Most people will have some kind of emotional reaction. Whilst each person's experience is different, there are a number of common responses experienced by the majority of people. It is important to realise that whilst these feelings may be very unpleasant they are normal reactions to an abnormal event.
Some normal reactions to trauma include:
• disbelief at what happened or feeling numb - as if things are unreal
• of a recurrence or the safety of oneself or one’s family, or a generalised sense of danger
• at who caused it or “allowed it to happen”, the injustice and senselessness, or generalised anger and irritability
• about the losses, both human and loss of safety and security, or feeling depressed for no reason
• for having survived when others didn't, or for appearing helpless or emotional or behaving in certain ways
• withdrawal from friends/family/colleagues and the need to be alone - easily irritated by others • loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities and hobbies and sexual interest
• not wanting to go to work, poor motivation and/or poor concentration and attention
• increased use of alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs, or loss of appetite or increased eating
• difficulty getting off because of intrusive thoughts, restless and disturbed sleep, nightmares • feeling tired and fatigued
• easily startled by noises
• general agitation and muscle tension, palpitations, trembling or sweating, breathing difficulties
• nausea, diarrhoea or constipation and many other physical signs and symptoms
THINKING & MEMORIES
• frequent thoughts or images of the incident and/or thoughts or images of other frightening events
• frightening dreams and nightmares
• attempts to shut out the painful memories
• difficulty making simple decisions
These symptoms generally subside over time and people gradually return to their normal daily functioning. However, sometimes symptoms don't go away, or resurface again during or soon after another stressful event. Counselling can help resolve some of these feelings and alleviate distress.
Unresolved trauma can create long-term problems in your life and may result in self-destructive and impulsive behaviour, an inability to make healthy lifestyle choices, an inability to maintain close relationships, sexual problems, social withdrawal or substance abuse issues.
To arrange a confidential discussion or make a counselling appointment, please contact us during business hours on 1300 559 196 or book online today.
DEBORAH FARRELL (MCounPsych)