• Trauma

    A traumatic event is usually an event that involves an encounter with death, or the experience of severe injury.  However, some events are considered to be traumatic even though they may not have resulted in death or injury but the person believed that it could have done.  For example a person might say “I thought I was going to die.” Intense emotional feelings usually accompany trauma. These feelings are fear, helplessness and horror.  The traumatic event can be a one off event or repetitive and on-going over time.

    For example a one off event would include disasters such as bush fires, floods, being physically or sexually assaulted, being involved in a life threatening accident, being  kidnapped, being  threatened with a weapon. Repetitive or on-going events include war, childhood sexual or physical abuse, being tortured, childhood neglect or even being diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

    Witnessing these types of events happening to others, or learning that these types of events have happened to loved ones, may also be traumatic for some people.  Unfortunately, traumatic experiences are common.  In Australia about 65% of people have experienced at least one traumatic event and many will experience more than one event in their life time.

    Warning Signs of Trauma

    □ You have been through an event during which you experienced intense distressing emotions such as fear, helplessness or horror.

    □ Intense memories/thoughts of the event keep re-occurring and are highly distressing.

    □ You get emotionally upset when something reminds you of the event.

    □ You have unpleasant dreams or nightmares about the event.

    □ When you think about the event you feel sweaty, tense, your heart races and your breathing increases.

    □ You try to avoid activities, places, or people that remind you of the traumatic event.

    □ You avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations that are associated with the trauma.

    □ You are having difficulty sleeping, concentrating and/or you feel highly irritable since the event.

    □ You feel depressed or have low motivation.

    □ You have high levels of irritability or anger that is interfering with your relationships.

    □ You feel intense guilt about the event.

    If it has been over 4 weeks since the traumatic event and some or all of the above symptoms are interfering with your ability to carry out the things you usually do, such as work or study TAKE ACTION NOW.  Arrange to speak to Julia Cull -  Psychologist.  She has a special interest and significant expertise in treating trauma.

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