In the midst of a traumatic life event, our bodies have a knack of taking over; adrenaline pumps around the body and our natural survival instinct kicks in. But in the aftermath of such an event when the body’s defenses have come down again, we can begin to feel the effects elsewhere – this is known as trauma.

Trauma is categorized as an emotional, physical or psychological response to an extremely negative or stressful event, particularly if it was unexpected, repetitive or if you were in a vulnerable position and felt unable to stop it happening. Childhood abuse can be one major cause of trauma in later life, as can witnessing violence, losing a loved one or being caught up in a disaster or accident.

Trauma can manifest itself emotionally in several, often conflicting, ways. Some people may feel full of uncontrollable anger while others experience a numbness or disconnection that doesn’t allow them to feel anything. Some people may become withdrawn, feeling as if they are in constant danger while others may become reckless with their personal safety.

The short term effects of trauma can often be physical and may include paleness, a racing heart, aches and pains, fatigue or agitation. Long term effects are usually more psychological and can veer into the realms of anxiety and depression if the sufferer doesn’t seek out treatment. Flashbacks, night terrors, difficulty expressing emotion and problems developing relationships can all link back to one traumatic event so it really is important to get professional help as well as self caring in order to overcome this debilitating condition and live a fulfilling life.

Thankfully there are many ways that in which recovery from trauma is possible. There are a number of therapy options when it comes to battling the effects of trauma. Many have different approaches but all focus on restoring the sense of personal safety within an individual. Medication can also be used to help alleviate the symptoms associated with trauma such as anxiety and depression but they do carry risks such as overdose and addiction so this should always be discussed with a healthcare professional. Self care in the form of a healthy lifestyle and a good support network is also important when overcoming trauma. Take action and do not let one event rule the rest of your life.

This post was guest-written by Melissa Davis.  For more information please visit Psychguides.