What Does Traumatized Mean?

Uncovering the Meaning of Psychological Trauma

Many people throw around words that have clinical meaning without regard to the actual definition of the word. One such example is the word “traumatized.” What does traumatized mean in a clinical setting? Perhaps more importantly, how does it apply to your experience of difficult or challenging circumstances?

Emerald Isle Health & Recovery is committed to helping you manage your feelings and cope with the trauma that happened to you. For more details on what this term actually means, here is what you need to know, and how to get help if trauma is ruling your life!

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Definition of Psychological Trauma

While you might be quite clear on what it means to be in a physically traumatizing experience (such as a car accident or a natural disaster), psychological trauma tends to be a bit more insidious. The definition of the ‘traumatize’ verb is to be left with a lasting sense of shock following an experience that was emotionally disturbing.

The question is: what kinds of events can leave a person feeling deeply traumatized?

Miraculously, the human brain is quite resilient, and not every event is likely to leave you traumatized. You can go through extremely difficult circumstances without being left with the label of trauma. However, events that shape you and shake your sense of stability can all contribute to traumatizing you.

Some of the most common causes of psychological trauma occur when you are quite young. People with a history of one or more adverse childhood events have greater degrees of psychological trauma. This is particularly true if they have witnessed violence or were subjected to abuse. Children who cope with verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are often considered to be traumatized.

However, there are other ways that trauma can impact your emotions. Here are some common threads that influence our lives and could lead to extreme trauma:

  • Assault of any kind (even if it only happens once)
  • Witnessing violence or seeing another suffer bodily harm, even from an accident
  • Life-threatening medical condition
  • Natural disaster
  • Terrorism or war
  • Death of a loved one (unexpected or otherwise)
  • Hospitalization
  • Witnessing death or the passing of a loved one

What are the Symptoms of Traumatized People?

Traumatized People

While not every past trauma will trigger the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, you may still have several symptoms in common with people who do have PTSD. It would be impossible to predict what will traumatize a person to spur the development of this mental health condition.

However, anyone who has been through trauma may find that they need the help of psychologists for treatment.

One of the most pressing issues for trauma is the occurrence of flashbacks. This will take you back to the long-past moment of your trauma as if it is happening again in real time. You might feel the same physical or emotional sensations that you would use to describe that moment, even if you lack the language to discuss it with a clinician.

Oftentimes, people who require treatment for being traumatized will have a hard time getting good sleep at night. They might have nightmares about what they have been through or they could simply have a hard time turning off their brain at night. Feeling stressed over an event makes it less likely that you will get a restful night of sleep.

You may also be subject to extreme mood swings if you are trying to cope with trauma. One minute, you may be completely fine. In the next moment, you are irritated, angry, or upset about what is going on in your body. Even if you cannot directly tie your volatile emotions to the trauma you went through, frequent mood swings are an indicator that you may need help.

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Treatment for Psychological Trauma

While doctors work with physical injuries and trauma, psychologists are uniquely equipped to help someone cope with the effects of psychological trauma. There are several approaches out there that are designed to help with PTSD and other types of trauma, even from as long ago as a childhood experience. Here are a few of the clinically significant approaches that you may want to explore.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Alter Thoughts and Feelings

Perhaps foremost among the various therapies for trauma is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is what we offer at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery.

CBT is designed to help you cope with the thoughts and feelings that accompany your trauma. This model proposes that your thoughts influence your feelings. In turn, this is how you make decisions about your actions. A single event and its accompanying reaction are rooted in how you think and feel about a given scenario. If your therapist can help you alter that pattern of your thoughts and feelings, your actions will often follow suit.

EMDR Therapy to Reprocess Trauma

Another therapy that is proving to be helpful in the treatment of trauma is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. In this unique and relatively new form of treatment, most patients are not even required to discuss the events that led up to their trauma.

As long as they can hold the events in their minds while tapping or following the guided movements of their eyes, it can help to reprocess what took place. The concept is that this focused attention, combined with the movement of the body or eyes, will reduce the intensity of the experience for the person participating.

What Does Traumatized Mean: Are There Medications for Trauma?

Medication for Trauma

While there is no such thing as a pill specifically for those who have experienced trauma, you may benefit from a pharmaceutical approach to managing your symptoms. Some medications can reduce anxiety and depression, both common side effects of being traumatized. They may even reduce the intensity of flashbacks so that you can work with a therapist on your trauma.

Medications should be discussed with a skilled psychiatrist, like those you will find at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery. Do not start and stop medications without the knowledge of your doctor.

It should also be noted that medications often require several weeks to build up in your system. It may not be a quick fix if you need help with trauma in the here and now. Therapy is better suited to handle the more immediate effects that trauma might have on your life.

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Coping with Trauma at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery

Enduring trauma can take a real toll on your daily life, as well as your relationships with friends and family. You need the help of a skilled clinician to help you overcome what you have been through, and that starts at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery. Allow our team to devise a unique treatment plan just for you.

With our help, you’ll be able to segue into living a healthier life, as long as you are committed to putting in the work. Reach out today for a confidential consultation and get started on a path to healing now!