Trauma is the experience of severe psychological distress following any terrible or life-threatening
event. Trauma survivors may develop emotional disturbances such as extreme anxiety, anger,
sadness, survivor’s guilt, or PTSD. They may experience ongoing problems with sleep or physical
pain, encounter turbulence in their personal and professional relationships, and feel a diminished
sense of self- worth caused by the overwhelming amount of stress.
Although the initiating event may overpower coping resources available at the time. It is still possible
to develop healthy ways of coping with the experience and lessening its effects. Research on trauma
identifies several healthy ways of coping. For example: avoiding alcohol and drugs, seeing loved ones
regularly, exercising, sleeping, and paying attention to self-care.
While there are no objective criteria to evaluate which events will cause post-trauma symptoms.
However, the circumstances typically involve the loss of control, betrayal, abuse of power,
helplessness, pain, confusion, and/or loss. The event need not rise to the level of war, natural
disaster, nor personal assault to affect a person profoundly and alter their experiences. Traumatic
situations that cause post-trauma symptoms vary quite dramatically from person to person. Indeed,
it is very subjective and it is important to keep in mind that it is defined more by its response than its