The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describes trauma as “an event, or series of events, that causes moderate to severe stress reactions that are characterized by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.” Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by ongoing stress (e.g., bullying, domestic violence, childhood neglect, etc.), one-time events (e.g., a violent attack, an accident, sudden injury, etc.), or life-changing events (e.g., sudden death of a loved one). For most individuals, traumatic experiences do not result in long-term impairment. It is typical to experience such events across the lifespan, and most often, individuals, families, and communities respond to them with resilience.
Perhaps one of the most common forms of trauma is emotional abuse. The University of Texas at Dallas defines emotional abuse as “any abusive behavior that isn’t physical, which may include verbal aggression, intimidation, manipulation, and humiliation, which most often unfolds as a pattern of behavior over time that aims to diminish another person’s sense of identity, dignity and self-worth, and which often results in anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” Psychology Today explains that people who suffer emotional abuse may experience short-term difficulties (e.g., confusion, fear, difficulty concentrating, and low confidence, as well as nightmares, aches, racing heart, etc.) and long-term repercussions, such as anxiety, insomnia, and social withdrawal. Emotional abuse can take many different forms, which lends it to be a kind of trauma that is easily hidden or unrecognized.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The most well-known trauma disorder is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it is listed under the new category called Trauma- and Stressor- Related Disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is a mental health condition that is characterized by “intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks of past traumatic events, avoidance of reminders of trauma, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbance, all of which lead to considerable social, occupational, and interpersonal dysfunction.” Examples of the most common causes of PTSD include the following, provided by the American Psychiatric Association (APA):
- Childhood abuse
- Sexual assault
- Military combat
- Violent assault
- Natural disaster
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) identify certain factors that may increase one’s risk for developing PTSD, some of which include the following:
- Getting hurt
- Seeing another person hurt, or seeing a dead body
- Living through dangerous events and traumas
- Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
- Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately ten percent of women and five percent of men are likely to experience PTSD at some point in their lifetimes.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org