Human emotions are one of the most complex series of thoughts and feelings that are not completely understood by science. This is large because of their randomness; however, certain events can trigger a series of negative emotions, known as trauma. It is caused by traumatic events, and here are some interesting facts about it:
1. What is Trauma?
Traumatic events are a part of life, some people experience them slightly while others undergo intensely traumatic events in their lives. Trauma is an emotional response to events such as losing a loved one, accident, rape, or natural disaster. There are two responses followed by such events. The first one is shock and denial, and the second response is long-term, which includes emotional instability, flashbacks, and nausea. Although it is completely natural to feel this way after a traumatic event, these feelings begin to interfere with an individual’s day-to-day life.
2. Distinguishing Trauma
As briefly mentioned previously, trauma occurs because of a traumatic event, and based on the intensity of the event, trauma is categorized as big T and small T. The former is usually the result of a life-threatening event or sexual abuse, and this has prolonged psychological, as well as physical effects. Small T usually results from a non-life-threatening condition. For instance, having to move place abruptly or having an unwanted argument with a loved one. Interestingly, accumulation of small T over a period can result in big T trauma.
3. Types of Trauma
Officially, traumas are divided into three categories:
- Acute Trauma: This type of trauma results from a single traumatic event, such as a car accident.
- Chronic Trauma: Chronic trauma is the result of repetitive and prolonged periods of abuse.
- Complex Trauma: A series of traumatic events of various degrees for a long period results in complex trauma.
4. Trembling is normal
Trembling after a traumatic event is as natural as the shutting of the eyes when flashed. As our body and mind go into fight-or-flight mode, stress chemicals are released, along with defensive energy. During this, the muscles contract to prepare the body for potential harm, and after the event, trembling is the body’s way to release this trapped energy. Interestingly, an individual can experience a contraction of muscles well after a traumatic event, causing trembling because they are not over the trauma. Prolonged contraction of the muscles can lead to pain and stiffness, therefore, it is essential to seek professional help to learn how to relax these muscles.
5. Induces addiction
Aftermaths of trauma are overwhelming, and most people seek substances to be able to cope with the trauma. Therefore, it is easy to see why the majority of people that underwent trauma end up becoming addicted to substances. It should be noted that addiction is not limited to drugs, as people often find solace in food. Following a traumatic event, a person can end up eating a certain kind of food for comfort causing weight gain or an eating disorder. Hence, increasing the need to seek professional help.
6. Rewires the brain
A traumatic event processed by a child differs completely from an adult. Children are not able to withstand escalated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that is released during traumatic events, and this sends their brains into overdrive. This rewires their brain on how they process fear, anxiety, stress, and other difficult emotions.
7. Gloomy statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 30,000 people commit suicide in the United States because of trauma each year, and it is the fourth leading cause of death. In 2020, the World Health Organization states that trauma is the third-largest contributor to disorders. Approximately, 60% of children experience some form of trauma in the United States. Four of every ten children claim to have experienced physical assault in a year.
8. Freezing is natural
Similar to how our body responds with either fight or flight during a stressful event, freezing is also a natural response to such events. It may feel like one is unable to respond or couldn’t respond; however, the hypothalamus signals the body to literally freeze, as the brain sees this as the adequate response for survival.