October 8, 2015
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 Some people may become withdrawn, feeling as if they are in constant danger while others may become reckless with their personal safety.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.
July 6, 2015
Some recent research (summarized nicely in the WSJ) has shown a nice correlation between socializing and life longevity (and quality). It’s no surprise though, as we are social animals. Surely some people are more extroverted than others and some people really need their alone time, but there are a handful of hypothesizes about why social contact with other people can extend a person’s life. It may be as simple as having someone to call a doctor for you or as complex as physiological changes that occur when we interact with other people (e.g., increased oxytocin).
Regardless, it makes sense to make sure you are connected with other people, interacting with them in a meaningful way and deriving pleasurable benefit from these interactions. So throw a party, call up an old friend or grab lunch with a colleague. It’s often difficult to start friendships. Luckily we now have resources that make this much easier such as sites like MeetUp.com. I frequently recommend that people – – particularly those who are more isolated, new to town or just shy – – browse MeetUp.com to find like-minded people to socialize with. It still requires effort and time, but it’s a nice, non-threatening way to reach out and connect with other people.
January 10, 2012
Tomorrow the American Psychological Association (APA) releases the results from their annual “Stress in America” study. As part of the release of their findings, they will be holding a webcast tomorrow (Wed, 1/11/12 at 4:30pm EST) that is open to all. You can register online. For more information, go to APA’s Stress in America page.