Trauma Related Disorder

Table of Contents

To understand the prevalence of trauma, it is critical to first understand the history of trauma. This will help to provide context for the current state of trauma, and how it has changed over time.  Trauma is a very real and pressing problem in the United States. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, in 2016 there were an estimated 194,500 deaths due to injury in the U.S. This amounts to about 53 deaths due to injury per 100,000 people in the U.S. population. Of these deaths, 70% were due to unintentional injuries, 26% were due to suicides, and 3% were due to homicides.

What is Trauma?

A traumatic event is defined as “a stressful event or experience that causes psychological trauma” (NCTSN, 2018). Trauma can be caused by a single event, or it can be the result of repeated exposure to adverse experiences.  Trauma can have a profound effect on an individual’s mental and physical health. It can lead to the development of mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it can also cause physical health problems, such as chronic pain.


What Are The Types Of Trauma?

There are three main types of trauma, Acute, Chronic and Complex.

  • Acute trauma
    Trauma caused by a single event is known as acute trauma. As a result of the overwhelming nature of the event itself, our autonomic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for ensuring our survival, became stuck in its threat response mode. As a result of an overwhelming threat that could have been anything from sexual abuse to a natural disaster, the body is triggered to respond with a threat response. This results in a state of fear. This is supposed to happen. Our autonomic nervous system has worked to respond to threats effectively for thousands of years.
  • Chronic Trauma
    A chronic trauma occurs as a result of a series of events that occurred over a certain period of time. This is in contrast to an acute trauma which occurs as a result of a single event. These events have happened multiple times, and include experiences such as
    • The prolonged abuse of a child
    • War and combat exposure for a prolonged period of time
    • A history of repeated sexual abuse
    • Having direct experience of domestic violence or being exposed to it on an ongoing basis
    • Experiencing natural disasters repeatedly
  • Complex Trauma
    The term “complex trauma” refers both to the exposure of children to multiple traumatic events, many of which are of an invasive, interpersonal nature, as well as to the broad-ranging, long-term effects of such exposure. As a result of these events, children are subjected to severe and pervasive conditions, such as abuse and profound neglect. There are many aspects of a child’s development and the formation of a sense of self that are affected by these disorders. These disorders are typically noticeable when they occur at an early age. These kinds of events are often associated with caregivers, thus they interfere with the child’s ability to form a close attachment with the caregiver. A child’s healthy physical and mental development depends on the sense of safety and stability that is provided to them by this first source of safety.

What Can Cause Trauma?

A traumatic event is a huge cause of how someone can start struggling . For Example : Car accidents , natural disasters , violent personal assaults , or even being diagnosed with a life-threating illness .

What Are Signs of Trauma?

  • feeling isolated and alone
  • feeling guilty or ashamed
  • poor sleep
  • feeling constantly on edge
  • flashbacks
  • avoiding anything that triggers memories of the event
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • nightmares
  • difficulty sleeping
  • irritability
  • impulsive behavior

If Left Untreated ?

Aside from the issues listed above, the more you prolong treatment, the deeper you will go into denial.  You will begin to suppress these issues which can cause even greater emotion, physical and psychological damage.  Trauma comes in 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and depression

pexels rodnae productions 6003569 scaled

5 Stages of Trauma

The first stage of trauma recovery is denial, a refusal to accept that an event was traumatic. By suppressing the memory of the experience altogether, the brain may try to cope with the experience. This may be voluntary or involuntary. It is possible to become irritable or have trouble concentrating when an individual pushes down trauma. Alternatively, they may withdraw from friends and family members. A person’s ability to perform well at school or at work may be impacted by their tendency to avoid their feelings.

After you are able to identify the trauma and bring it to the light, you might feel angry and upset toward what happened to you.  You may experience “Trauma Dumping,” which is a related form of Anger.  In Trauma Dumping, some people may overshare distressing experiences at inappropriate moments or unexpectedly to friends, family, or random strangers.  In this condition, you have no regard for how hearing about your traumatic experience can overwhelm the listener, who may end up feeling horrible or drained after receiving emotionally heavy information.

Once you reach the angry stage, all your emotions and thoughts can lead to bargaining.  Bargaining is when you begin to feel like all the traumatic events to them were their fault and it was deserved.   

The negotiations can be external, such as promising to change through prayer, or during internal dialogues and ‘what if’ scenarios

People may begin to feel a sense of helplessness resulting in intense feelings of sadness and emptiness. In this stage, a person dealing with trauma may isolate themselves from others and lose interest in activities they once found enjoyable.

In this stage the patient has come to accept all events that happened and are ready to seek treatment. It can come in many signs from it being voiced or even starting to attempt to move forward . 

How Can Trauma Be Treated?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can be used to treat trauma. CBT focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It helps people to identify and change unhelpful thinking and behaviors that may be contributing to their distress.  CBT is an effective trauma treatment, helping people to reduce their symptoms and improve their functioning.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on helping individuals regulate their emotions and improve their relationships with others. One of the main goals of DBT is to help individuals manage their emotions in a healthy way, which can be particularly helpful for individuals who have experienced trauma. By teaching skills such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance, DBT can help individuals cope with difficult emotions and experiences related to trauma.

pexels tima miroshnichenko 5711177


Trauma has become a widespread problem throughout the United States. This kind of condition can lead to consequences with physical health, relationships, and mental health. Getting treatment for trauma can help with finding recovery and gaining a better quality of life.  If you or a loved one are struggling with any form of trauma, reach out to Embrace today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our outpatient program.