When you experience a traumatic event, it can only be defined as an experience that has put you or someone close to you at risk of coming close to death or severe harm. It can include:
- Prolonged abuse
- Serious illness
- Road accident
- Natural disaster
Let’s look at what happens to you when you have had a traumatic event.
When experiencing an event so traumatic, your body’s defenses will kick in and develop a stress response; that could make you feel all kinds of physical symptoms, act differently and start to experience some pretty intense emotions.
You have a fight or flight response when your body is flooded with chemicals that prepare you for another emergency that can lead to some symptoms like this:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased sweating
- Loss of appetite
All of this is completely normal, your body is responding to what it feels is an emergency, planning for a way to make it easier for you to fight or run.
Most of the time right after the ‘event’ some people might go into shock or experience full denial. It can come out throughout several hours, days or even months and cover a wide range of feelings like anger, guilt, and sadness. Many people start to feel better and gradually recover.
If the feelings persist, they will probably lead to more severe problems mentally than what you even are expecting, and it may not hit you for months. A mental health problem like PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder can come along with depression.
People that experience PTSD may feel anxious and brought quickly to tears for years after the trauma has happened, even if they did not get physically injured.
Some common symptoms might be re-experienced with PTSD such as flashbacks or nightmares, trying to avoid places or things that are associated with where the event happened, poor concentration, sleep disturbance, and panic attacks. You will often see emotional numbing, alcohol or drug misuse, anger outbursts, and depression.
It seems the best therapeutic method for those with long-term, severe PTSD is to be with a clinical psychologist for talking treatments, where the patient with PTSD is urged to discuss the experiences they have had in detail. It could involve cognitive therapy or behavioral approaches.
There may be antidepressants prescribed to help with the depression or anxieties that the patient is experiencing.
With PTSD you may find that you feel like you are cured for some time (with the help of medications) and you are doing great, and an event, even a happy occasion for some reason will bring a flood of emotions over you that is the same as the day of the trauma. It is challenging to understand how a happy time can trigger such an emotional downer. But, talk to anyone who has PTSD, and they will tell you that it does happen. You are ‘on guard’ at all times for it to ‘smack’ you again and feel dread because you cannot shake it.
Because of the drain on your body due to the emotions involved, you will feel exhausted, and some will feel tired and emotionally drained because of the fight or flight response they seem to be going through so much of the time. It feels like PTSD can suck the life out of you if you let it. It is a good reason why you should seek professional help.
If you find yourself feeling any of these emotions and are having difficulty dealing with them, please come to 24/7 Trauma Care in Richmond, TX, and we will be happy to get you on the right track to feeling better emotionally. Trauma and Emergency Care in Richmond are there for you all the time.