I found this excellent website this morning that has lots of clear accurate information-packed pages related to abuse and trauma — HELPGUIDE.org
What is emotional and psychological trauma?
Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
A stressful event is most likely to be traumatic if:
- It happened unexpectedly.
- You were unprepared for it.
- You felt powerless to prevent it.
- It happened repeatedly.
- Someone was intentionally cruel.
- It happened in childhood.
Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a horrible accident, a natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also stem from ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood or struggling with cancer.
Risk factors that increase your vulnerability to trauma
People are also more likely to be traumatized by a new situation if they’ve been traumatized before – especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood.
Childhood trauma increases the risk of future trauma
Traumatic experiences in childhood can have a severe and long-lasting effect. Children who have been traumatized see the world as a frightening and dangerous place. When childhood trauma is not resolved, this fundamental sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma.
Childhood trauma results from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety and security, including:
* An unstable or unsafe environment
* Separation from a parent
* Serious illness
* Intrusive medical procedures
* Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
* Domestic violence
Symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma
Following a traumatic event, most people experience a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. These are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events. The symptoms may last for days, weeks, or even months after the trauma ended.
Emotional symptoms of trauma:
* Shock, denial, or disbelief
* Anger, irritability, mood swings
* Guilt, shame, self-blame
* Feeling sad or hopeless
* Confusion, difficulty concentrating
* Anxiety and fear
* Withdrawing from others
* Feeling disconnected or numb
Physical symptoms of trauma:
* Insomnia or nightmares
* Being startled easily
* Racing heartbeat
* Aches and pains
* Difficulty concentrating
* Edginess and agitation
* Muscle tension
These symptoms and feelings typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the trauma. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.
This appears to be a very user-friendly site. I found a host of informative articles HERE. Great site!