Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event such as abuse, rape, an accident, natural disaster, and more. Many people who experience traumatic events report unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and more – signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although many people receive support from their friends and family when physical signs are shown, the emotional effects of trauma are most often overlooked. Why is this? Trauma is often considered subjective, as it’s a person’s internal beliefs and their innate sensitivity to the stress of these events that matter, rather than the opinion of a friend, family member, or other person who deems the incident as traumatic or not. When an event does not produce physical but emotional wounds, unfortunately it can become very challenging for others to validate this.
A 2015 study published in Ecology and Society argues that resilience, or the ability to “bounce-back” from traumatic situations, is greatly reliant upon multiple layers of support that an individual may experience. These layers of support stem from not only friends and family, but also romantic partners, neighborhoods, and larger social contexts. The way that trauma is framed regarding emotional scars tells a person a lot about whether their feelings are deemed “valid” or not; unfortunately, many societal messages discredit the lived experiences of individuals who have undergone significant trauma and stress, elongating their symptoms of PTSD and making it more difficult to recover.
When emotions after trauma are hidden or expressed and disregarded, individuals may become constricted or labile, especially in children. Constriction refers to the “shut down” process – not talking about anything, keeping others at an arm’s length, and not seeking out help. Labile behaviors are more explosive – anger outbursts, irritability, and irregular mood swing responses that seem disproportionate to situations at hand. When this occurs, self-medication through the use of substances can occur, perpetuating further depression, anxiety, relationships problems, and more. Unfortunately, many people who have reached this stage have not received the proper support they needed – making treatment even more important. If you haven’t already, speak with a therapist today and begin your road to recovery. Your life is worth it.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.