BHS-440: Understanding Trauma

BHS-440: Understanding Trauma course provides an overview of different types of trauma as well as the effects of traumatic experiences on a person’s physical, emotional, sociological, cognitive, and spiritual domains. It investigates the effects of trauma throughout a person’s life. It provides a brief overview of trauma, as well as informed care assessment and treatment, as well as the ethics of working with trauma victims.

Trauma occurs when something bad happens that makes you feel unsafe and scared. And because this experience was a big deal, it has an ongoing impact on your life.

Lots of different kinds of events can cause trauma.


Psychological trauma is a response to an event that a person finds highly stressful. Examples include being in a war zone, a natural disaster, or an accident. Trauma can cause a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms.

Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event develops trauma. There are various types of trauma as well. Some people will experience symptoms that will go away in a few weeks, while others will experience long-term consequences.

People can address the trauma’s root cause and find constructive ways to manage their symptoms with treatment.


several types of trauma


  1. Acute trauma: This results from a single stressful or dangerous event.
  2. Chronic trauma: This results from repeated and prolonged exposure to highly stressful events. Examples include cases of child abuse, bullying, or domestic violence.
  3. Complex trauma: This results from exposure to multiple traumatic events.

Another type of trauma is secondary trauma, also known as vicarious trauma. This type of trauma occurs when a person comes into close contact with someone who has been through a traumatic event.

Vicarious trauma can affect family members, mental health professionals, and others who care for those who have been through a traumatic event. Symptoms are frequently similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

symptoms of trauma


Trauma symptoms range from mild to severe. Many factors influence how a person reacts to a traumatic event including:

  • their characteristics
  • the presence of other mental health conditions
  • previous exposure to traumatic events
  • the type and characteristics of the event or events
  • their background and approach to handling emotions

some responses to trauma include emotional and physical responses

emotional responses include:

  • anger
  • fear
  • sadness
  • shame
  • confusion
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • numbness
  • guilt
  • hopelessness
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  •  denial

They may have emotional outbursts, struggle to cope with their feelings, or isolate themselves from others. Nightmares and flashbacks, in which a person relives a traumatic event in their mind, are both common.

Physical reactions
Trauma can cause physical symptoms in addition to an emotional reaction.
a reliable source, such as:

  • headaches
  • digestive symptoms
  • fatigue
  • racing heart
  • sweating
  • feeling jumpy


A person may also experience hyperarousal at times.
When someone feels like they’re always on high alert, they’re dealing with a trusted source. It may be difficult to sleep as a result of this.

Other mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, may develop as a result of the treatment.

the following as possible trauma triggers:

  • bullying\harassment
  • Abuse can be physical, psychological, or sexual.
  • assault on a woman
  • collisions in traffic
  • life-threatening illnesses during childbirth
  • The unexpected death of a loved one, or the kidnapping of a loved one, are all acts of terrorism.
  • natural calamities
  • war

Traumatic events can be one-time occurrences or ongoing occurrences. A person can also be traumatized after witnessing something traumatic occur to another person.

People react to traumatic events in different ways. Those who have experienced the same natural disaster, for example, can react very differently even though they have witnessed the same event.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


If you’ve been through trauma for a long time or are dealing with an extreme event, your brain can be put under a lot of strain. You may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of this. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, you may be suffering from PTSD.

  • Stressful memories of the event that pop up often and distract you during the day
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • Flashbacks which make you feel like you are reliving the traumatic event
  • Feeling jumpy and on edge
  • Feeling emotionally or physically bad when you are reminded of the event
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Negative feelings and thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
  • Difficulty feeling positive or happy emotions
  • Desire to avoid people, activities, or places that remind you of what happened
  • Angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering things that happened before or after the traumatic event
  • Blaming yourself for what happened

Risk factors for developing PTSD include:

  • previous trauma
  • physical pain or injury
  • having little support after the trauma
  • dealing with other stressors at the same time, such as financial difficulty
  • previous anxiety or depression

Most people who experience a traumatic event do not develop PTSD. The National Institute of Mental HealthTrusted Source estimates that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the United States is 6.8%.


Childhood Trauma

Negative events that are emotionally painful and overwhelm a person’s ability to cope are referred to as trauma. An earthquake or hurricane, an industrial accident or a vehicle accident, physical or sexual assault, and various forms of abuse experienced as a child are all examples of such events.

The types of trauma that have the most negative psychological consequences are those that are caused by interpersonal or intentional violence. Abuse and neglect of children are examples of these.

This type of developmental trauma can wreak havoc on the brain’s normal development. As a result, trauma, particularly ongoing trauma, can have a significant impact on a child’s emotional development, mental health, physical health, and behavior in the long run.

The feeling of helplessness and fear may last into adulthood. It puts the individual at a much higher risk. Future trauma effects from a reliable source.



Several treatments can help people with trauma to cope with their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Therapy is the first line of defense against trauma. Individuals should ideally work with a therapist who is trauma-informed or trauma-focused.

The following are some of the types of therapy that a traumatized person might benefit from:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • Somatic therapies :

    To help the mind and body process trauma, some therapists use somatic or body-based techniques. these therapies include:

  • Somatic experiencing: This approach involves a therapist helping a person to relive traumatic memories in a safe space.
  • Sensorimotor psychotherapy: This type of therapy combines psychotherapy with body-based techniques to turn traumatic memories into sources of strength.
  • Acupoint stimulation: This involves a practitioner applying pressure to specific points on the body, which induces a state of relaxation.
  • Touch therapies: Other touch therapies include healing touch and therapeutic touch therapy.



Medication alone cannot cure trauma or PTSD, but it can help a person manage symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. A person should talk to their doctor about their options.


Mindful breathing and other mindfulness-based exercises can ground people in the present, which can stop them from reliving the traumatic event.

StudiesTrusted Source suggests that mindfulness-based treatments are a promising intervention for PTSD, whether alone or in conjunction with other treatments.


When should you seek assistance?

People who are experiencing persistent or severe trauma symptoms should seek mental health treatment. Seek help right away if your trauma symptoms are interfering with your daily life or your relationships with others.

Even those with minor symptoms can feel better after speaking with a professional.


At some point in their lives, almost everyone will be exposed to a traumatic event. Some people may experience shock and distress, but most people will recover quickly.

A small percentage of people will suffer from long-term traumatic effects, such as the development of PTSD. Those who have persistent trauma symptoms can benefit from therapy and self-care to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.



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