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HEALTH FOR HEROES     Strengthening Each Link In The Chain

Trauma

Trauma

Physical trauma refers to a physical injury. In medicine, however, the words “trauma patient” usually refer to an individual who has suffered serious and life-threatening physical injury resulting in secondary complications such as shock, respiratory failure and even death.

At Health for Heroes, we commonly treat pain as a result of physical trauma, as well as emotional trauma and its symptoms.

For most of us, stress dis-regulates our nervous systems, but only for a relatively short period of time. Within a few days or weeks, our body’s systems calm down and we revert to a normal state of equilibrium. Such a return to normalcy is not the case when a person has been traumatized.

Anyone – even professionals who work with trauma victims or others close to a traumatized person – can become traumatized. Developing symptoms of  “secondary traumatization” is never a sign of weakness. Symptoms should be taken seriously and steps should be taken to heal, just as one would take action to heal from a physical ailment. And just as with a physical condition, the amount of time or assistance needed to recover from emotional trauma will vary from one person to another.

Symptom List for Emotional Trauma

  • Eating and sleep disturbances
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Low energy
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Irritability, anger, resentment
  • Compulsive or obsessive behavior
  • Emotional numbness
  • Withdrawal from normal activities and relationships
  • Memory lapses
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling distracted
  • ADHD symptoms

 

Additional symptoms of emotional trauma are commonly associated with a severe precipitating event, such as a natural disaster, exposure to war, rape, assault, violent crime, major car or airplane crashes, or child abuse. Extreme symptoms can also occur as a delayed reaction to the traumatic event. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares
  • Sudden floods of emotions or images relating to the event(s)
  • Amnesia
  • Avoidance
  • Detachment
  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Altered sense of time
  • Hyper vigilance or jumpiness
  • Overreactions including sudden unprovoked anger
  • Obsessions with death

 

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) is diagnosed when stress symptoms last longer than 2 days and up to 30 days after a traumatic event.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed when stress symptoms persist for longer than 30 days after a traumatic event.  

Early stage treatment is necessary to avoid diagnosis of ASD or PTSD and potential long-term disability.

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