How common is trauma?

Trauma is a common occurrence

We often associate trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with military and combat veterans. In reality, 70% of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives. Trauma can occur after experiencing a single life-threatening event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, interpersonal violence, and sexual assault, among others. Trauma can also occur after an accumulation of other injuries such as emotional abuse, bullying, racism, or discrimination. Events can be traumatic if they happened to you or you witnessed them.

 

Trauma and PTSD

Thankfully, not everyone experiencing trauma will develop PTSD. For most people, symptoms will subside after some days or weeks. However, for up to 20 percent of people, symptoms will persist and they will go on to develop PTSD [1].  In some cases, symptoms may appear much later than the traumatic experience, even years after. In the US, 8 million people suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). [2]

Common reactions to trauma

The symptoms of trauma

Trauma-related symptoms include flashbacks, anxiety, panic attacks, feelings of fear, guilt, suspicion, anger, personality changes, depression, and others, as well as somatic symptoms such as headaches, heart palpitations, asthma, and pain.

 

In order to deal with these symptoms, we cope in whatever ways we can. Some people develop negative coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, avoiding friends and family, and constantly being on guard for anything that could trigger a flashback. In therapy, and through learning about trauma, you can learn and teach yourself to cope in healthier ways.

 

Trauma and co-occurring conditions

PTSD also bears high levels of comorbidity, with a vast majority of people with PTSD having 3 or more co-occurring mental disorders [3]. Trauma is a risk factor in nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders. The most common co-occurring conditions with PTSD are depressive disorders, substance use disorders, and other anxiety disorders. Often when treating trauma, such conditions must be addressed in therapy as well.

 

What to do?

Trauma can be treated and several effective therapies exist. The path of trauma recovery is different for everyone, but if you are suffering trauma symptoms, it is important that you seek help. Additional resources and tools, such as mental health apps and online resources may also help.

 

When symptoms occur, getting yourself back on track (grounded) is important to avoid further consequences. Monitoring symptoms can help you understand them to find better coping mechanisms and to talk with a therapist on the best therapy.  At Mira Therapeutics we have develop the Mira App, a trauma support app for self-management and symptom tracking. The Mira App provides interactive digital exercises based on known grounding techniques that are available anytime when you need them. The Mira App can help you ground yourself, track your symptoms, monitor your progress, and learn about trauma.

 

The Mira App is now available on the Google play store and can be downloaded here.

 

 
Sources

[1] Benjet, C et al. The epidemiology of traumatic event exposure worldwide: results from the World Mental Health Survey Consortium.” Psychological medicine vol. 46,2 (2016): 327-43. doi:10.1017/S0033291715001981

 

[2] VA.gov: Veterans Affairs.” How Common Is PTSD in Adults?, 13 Sept. 2018, www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp.


[3] Brady KT, Killeen TK, Brewerton T, Lucerini S. Comorbidity of psychiatric disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;61 Suppl 7:22-32. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10795606/

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