Trauma involves an experience or ongoing experiences that are overwhelming, frightening and in which you feel powerless. Often this is an experience in which your life is in danger, such as a serious accident, violent assault, ongoing abuse or a diagnosis of a life threatening illness.
After a trauma people commonly experience:
- Flashbacks and nightmares in which you relive the event over and over
- Feeling numb, or strong> at others times like you have no feelings
- Avoiding any situations that remind you of the trauma
- Feeling on guard all the time
Often these problems happen immediately after the trauma but they may only develop after a few weeks or months. They are the way our minds help us to understand the experience we have been through. Usually these symptoms gradually disappear over a few weeks as you slowly come to terms with what happened. However for about 1 in 3 people these problems carry on for longer. This is known as PTSD.
A number of therapies can be helpful for trauma including EMDR.