Trauma-related issues

Trauma can be physical, emotional, psychological or a combination of all three. The scars of emotional and psychological trauma aren't visible but the effects are sometimes more disabling than overt physical abuse.

Types of trauma disorders

Acute stress disorder
When an individual experiences devastating loss, he may respond with panic and confusion and be unable to carry out daily activities. Treatment for acute stress disorder includes medication to relieve anxiety and therapeutic support.

Uncomplicated PTSD
Constantly re-experiencing a traumatic event along with emotional numbness, avoidance of related stimuli, and anxiety are hallmarks of classic PTSD. This form of trauma usually responds to psychotherapy plus medication.

Complex PTSD (Extreme stress)
Complex trauma occurs to people who have experienced prolonged childhood abuse. Many people with complex trauma have behavioral and self-harm disorders. Treatment usually requires a specialized team.

Comorbid PTSD
Comorbid PTSD is the co-existence of trauma and a substance abuse problem or a psychiatric disorder, such as depression. It requires the treatment of both disorders simultaneously.

Using medication to treat trauma

Medication can take the edge of some of the psychiatric symptoms of trauma, such as anxiety and insomnia. Medications won't cure you, but they can help you stop ruminating about what happened. Medication can also relieve nightmares and flashbacks. Antidepressants can help you feel more motivated and interested in things around you. SSRIs and SNRIs are two types of drugs that affect the chemistry in your brain related to fear and anxiety. They include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and venlafaxine (Effexor).

Using therapy to treat trauma

The goal of therapy is two-fold. First, it desensitizes you to triggers, so that these stimuli do not cause you to relive the experience. Second, therapy helps you process and integrate the trauma in a healthy way. It may also involve learning coping strategies if your trauma is severe and will require extensive work to process. Trauma-focused cognitive therapy was developed in the 1990s and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of childhood trauma. Special cognitive therapies are available for veterans, including programs at the VA.

Types of trauma

Natural disasters

Natural disasters include events as hurricanes, floods, wildfires, etc. as well as long-term droughts, blizzards, and more.

Community violence

This is exposure to intentional violence by criminals, gangs, etc.

Terrorist violence

This occurs when terrorist acts or mass shootings, bombings, etc. affect people or communities.

Refugee trauma

Many refugees experience long-term trauma related to war, persecution, or having to flee their homeland.


Warfare and combat situations can produce severe trauma in soldiers and other military personnel.

Domestic violence

This involves the risk of harm to or from any past or current partner.

Elder abuse

Elder abuse occurs most often when seniors are abused by facility caregivers.

Complex trauma

Complex trauma occurs when a child is exposed to many traumatic events, including interpersonal trauma, over a long period of time.

Early childhood trauma

Early childhood trauma occurs between infancy and age 6.


Bullying both online and offline can cause significant trauma in children and teens.

Physical childhood abuse

Physical abuse occurs when a parent or trusted caregiver harms a child or teen.

Medical trauma

This usually occurs in young children who must deal with ongoing surgeries or hospitalizations due to an illness.

Traumatic grief

Some children and even adults have difficulty dealing with life after the loss of a loved one; they fail to move past the loss.

Childhood sexual abuse

This occurs when a child is sexually victimized. It requires specialized treatment, which we do not provide.

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