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Traumatic events differ from more commonplace, distressing experiences in the severity of the event and the intensity of the individual’s reaction to that event. A traumatic reaction can result from experiencing a single event such as an assault, a car accident, a natural disaster, a crime, or the sudden death of a loved one. A traumatic reaction can also result from chronic or repetitively stressful experiences such as child sexual abuse, violent relationships, bullying, consistent neglect, or war. 

No two individuals will react in the same manner to a traumatic event - and not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will become psychologically traumatized. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed and experience many of the symptoms listed below, you should consult a qualified practitioner for assessment. 

Some common symptoms associated with a traumatic reaction are: 

Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  • nightmares about the trauma.
  • distressing and intrusive memories of the trauma.
  • flashbacks to the trauma.
Avoidance or Numbing
  • attempts to avoid thoughts, feeling, activities associated with the trauma.
  • difficulty remembering important parts of the traumatic event.
  • feelings of detachment and a sense of alienation from the world around you.
  • decreased interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  • feeling jumpy.
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • concentration problems.
  • feeling constantly on guard.
  • irritability and angy outbursts.

Psychologists and psychological associates at  Fleming Vigna Balmer are experienced in working with children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced trauma. Treatment goals for trauma include, 1) reducing intrusive symptoms, 2) reducing symtoms of avoidance, 3) reducing numbing and withdrawal, 4) reducing hyperarousal, and 5) improving impulse control. By reducing these problematic symptoms, a number of related and important goals can be accomplished.  These include; 1) developing the capacity to interpret events more realistically, 2) developing the ability to judge individuals more realistically with respect to their potential threat content, and 3) enhancing self-esteem, trust, and feelings of safety.