"Understanding Trauma: Exploring the Complexities of Trauma"

Dr. Sohail Nibras Psychiatrist Sugar Land, TX

Dr. Sohail Nibras is a psychiatrist practicing in Sugar Land, TX. Dr. Nibras is a medical doctor specializing in the care of mental health patients. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Nibras diagnoses and treats mental illnesses. Dr. Nibras may treat patients through a variety of methods including medications, psychotherapy or talk... more

What is trauma?

Trauma is an emotional reaction to a terrible event such as an accident, rape, or natural disaster. This means that trauma is a distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope. Traumatic events can vary widely and may include natural disasters, accidents, physical or sexual assault, domestic violence, war, or the sudden loss of a loved one.

When a person experiences trauma, it can have a significant impact on their mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The effects of trauma can be long-lasting and may interfere with various aspects of a person's life, including their relationships, work or school performance, and overall quality of life.

Types Of Trauma

Here are some of the most common types of trauma:

  1. Acute Trauma: This type of trauma refers to a single, severe, and often shocking event. It can include incidents such as accidents, natural disasters, physical assault, or witnessing a violent crime. 
  2. Chronic Trauma: Chronic trauma occurs when a person is exposed to prolonged and repeated traumatic events. It is commonly associated with situations such as ongoing physical or sexual abuse.
  3. Complex Trauma: Complex trauma refers to exposure to multiple traumatic events, often during childhood or within interpersonal relationships. It typically involves a combination of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, neglect, or chronic interpersonal violence. 
  4. Vicarious Trauma: Also known as secondary trauma, vicarious trauma occurs when individuals repeatedly hear about or witness the trauma experiences of others. They may experience symptoms similar to those who directly experienced the trauma.
  5. Collective Trauma: Collective trauma refers to the shared trauma experienced by a group, community, or society at large. It can arise from events such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or political unrest. Collective trauma impacts individuals collectively and can have lasting effects on the affected community or society as a whole.

What are the effects of trauma?

Mental Effects of Trauma:

  1. PTSD is a condition that can lead to distressing symptoms such as intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, intense anxiety, and avoidance of anything that reminds one of the traumatic events.
  2. Experiencing trauma can lead to the development of various anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
  3. Depression may arise from trauma, leading to persistent sadness, loss of appetite, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  4. Dissociation is a response to trauma where the individual disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories, or surroundings, leading to a sense of detachment or feeling unreal.
  5. Trauma survivors are at a heightened risk of developing substance use disorders as a coping mechanism for emotional distress.

Physical Effects of Trauma:

  1. Experiencing trauma can disturb your sleep, causing problems with falling asleep or staying asleep and also resulting in nightmares and night terrors.
  2. Chronic pain conditions, such as headaches, migraines, or back pain, can be caused by trauma.
  3. Cardiovascular issues, such as heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and increased heart rate, may result from trauma.
  4. Experiencing trauma can lead to various gastrointestinal problems such as stomachaches, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other digestive issues.
  5. Experiencing trauma for an extended period of time can harm the immune system, making people more vulnerable to getting sick and infected.
  6. Sexual and reproductive health may be affected by trauma, leading to sexual functioning, as well as menstrual irregularities, fertility issues, or pregnancy complications.