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Understanding Trauma

Lifestyle & Fitness • by Paul de Beyer • 15 September 2020
 
At some point in our lives we’re all likely to experience some form of traumatic experience, something that will stay with us for a long time, and, potentially, change the way we see the world.

Understanding how to identify and deal with that trauma can go a long way in helping you recover from it.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an extreme or disturbing event that leaves you with a feeling of being overwhelmed and distressed for a period of time afterwards.

Traumatic events can be both physical and psychological which can include any types of physical violence like a mugging or motor vehicle accident, or psychological abuse such as bullying.

After experiencing a traumatic event, the body can experience symptoms in two distinct patterns:

Signs of Trauma

  1. Physical symptoms include trembling, shaking, nausea, headaches, sweating and tiredness
  2. Difficulty dealing with normal aspects of life like sleep, appetite or sex-drive
  3. Deep physiological symptoms like anxiety, fear, sadness, feelings of loss, difficulty concentrating or remembering, anger, irritability and an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and senselessness
  4. Reliving or flashbacks to the event are commonplace
  5. Avoiding situations or thoughts that are associated with the traumatic event

Each person will experience trauma in a different way, and the signs can vary from person to person. There may be other signs that are unique to each situation. If you’ve experienced trauma and are suffering any signs that are not normal for you, reach out to someone immediately.

Dealing with Trauma

If you do believe you’ve experienced a traumatic event, there are a few immediate steps you can take to help understand and process the event:

GetSavvi Health members

Can use our Member Wellness Programme for counselling, support, awareness and advice on a range of topics.

Non-GetSavvi Health members

Can contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). It is Africa's largest mental health support and advocacy group. Or simply contact Lifeline South Africa for free national counselling on 0861 32 23 22.

References:
Post-Traumatic Stress Explained
What is trauma? What to know
What Is Trauma?

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