What are Trauma Responses?

What are Trauma Responses?

Most people have experienced some form of trauma in their life. Regardless of what type of trauma you have encountered, it is valid and you deserve proper healing.

There is not a trauma that is “better” or “worse” than another trauma. Trauma is often at least partially responsible when people develop mental health issues like substance use disorders (SUD), mental illness, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Types of Trauma

Trauma can be classified as “big T” or “small t” traumas. “Big T’s” are traumatic events that include the following:

  • natural disasters
  • mental or physical illness individually or within your family
  • violent crimes
  • war
  • car accidents
  • physical or sexual abuse
  • death

These experiences typically leave individuals feeling powerless. Additionally, experiencing repeated small t traumas over time can have just as much of an impact as big T Traumas can. An event does not have to be incredibly distressing for it to classify as a big T Trauma, as each individual responds to situations differently.

“Small t” traumas are traumas that many people may experience daily. These experiences may include things such as microaggressions, high levels of stress, financial worries, life transitions, interpersonal conflict, and infidelity. These experiences, although they may seem smaller than big T Traumas, are still valid and deserve empathy for the distress they can cause.

Trauma Responses

Trauma responses are reactions developed in reaction to trauma as a result of the many emotions experienced in the face of the traumatic event. Essentially, trauma gets “stuck” in your brain, making a lasting impression and causing similar situations to trigger your fight or flight mode. The stuck trauma manifests as a response, and may look like:

  • Losing hope for the future
  • Feeling distant or detached from others
  • Losing a sense of concern for others
  • Being unable to concentrate or make decisions
  • Feeling jumpy and getting startled easily
  • Feeling on guard and alert all the time

Trauma responses can be frustrating, even debilitating, and become a normal part of life. This does not mean something is wrong with you, it means your body is trying to protect you from further potentially traumatic situations.

Healing From Trauma

Healing from trauma is a journey. It often requires treatment with professionals who specialize in treating trauma and use modalities such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which is proven to be effective in healing trauma.

Although it is scary, healing from trauma allows you to own your story and feel empowered because of it, not despite it, and allows you to rekindle a relationship with your true self.

Trauma responses are how you learn to cope, survive, and navigate the world after traumatic experiences. Oftentimes, these responses keep you stuck in old patterns and prevent you from reaching the goals you have in recovery. At Avalon Malibu, we understand how difficult it can be to break these patterns, process traumatic experiences, and lean into healing. Our team of professionals is here to support you as you unpack trauma to achieve healing. To learn more about our mental health treatment programs, call Avalon Malibu at (844) 857-5992.

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