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types of traumatic events
June 3, 2022

Types of Traumatic Events

Some estimates suggest as many as 70% of American adults experience trauma at least once in their lives. Though you might associate the word trauma with violence, rape, abuse or near-death experiences, a range of other, less obvious, incidents can be just as damaging and disruptive.

What Causes Trauma?

Traumatic events can be one-time or ongoing. Examples of one-time traumatic events are:

  • Natural disasters, such as a tornado, hurricane, fire or flood
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • A car accident
  • A robbery
  • Witnessing violence
  • The sudden death of a loved one
  • An unexpected job loss
  • The breakup of a friendship or romantic relationship

Ongoing events that can be traumatic include:

  • War
  • Domestic abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, financial, etc.)
  • The climate change crisis
  • A chronic illness
  • The COVID-19 pandemic

How Trauma Can Affect Your Physical and Mental Well-Being

Because everyone processes trauma differently, something that’s profoundly upsetting to you might not affect another person the same way, but that doesn’t mean your experience is less valid. It’s also possible for something that does not trouble you much in the moment to come back to haunt you later in the form of intrusive flashbacks, distressing nightmares or overwhelming emotions.

The psychological and physical effects of unprocessed trauma don’t always resolve on their own, and some may linger long after the event. The worst-case scenario is PTSD – a diagnosable mental illness that can severely disrupt your life if left untreated.

How to Break the Trauma Cycle

According to a leading premise of developmental psychology, trauma is a heritable trait. In other words, trauma passed down from previous generations can have a ripple effect on your future, even if you didn’t experience it firsthand. Everyone is susceptible to generational trauma, but some people are more vulnerable than others due to generations of systemic exploitation, discrimination and abuse. For example, some evidence suggests that families of Holocaust survivors seek psychiatric help at disproportionately high rates.

Integrated trauma treatment guided by a trained therapist is essential to break these patterns, learn to let go of internalized negativity and ensure you don’t pass the harmful behaviors along to your children and grandchildren.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment in Florida

If you are a trauma survivor with lingering symptoms, drugs and alcohol may seem like a reasonable coping mechanism to dull your pain. Unfortunately, your stress levels will eventually return to their previous height as the effects of the substance wear off. And, if you try to quit drinking or using, you might find your PTSD symptoms make your withdrawal more severe.

Since PTSD and addiction can magnify each other, it’s critical to seek help for both conditions simultaneously. Work with an experienced health professional who can identify the signs of a dual diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to improve your mental health.

Many clients arrive at Beach House Center for Recovery after years of struggling with untreated trauma and other mental health problems alongside a substance use disorder. We offer a combination of people, purpose and passion that can help you regain your life. To learn more about our treatment options or verify your insurance coverage, reach out to our admissions counselors today.

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