Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘trauma’

COVID-19 is the largest global disruption since World War II.  Sudden illness, disability, death, financial insecurity, virtual graduations and postponed weddings are all traumatic events that some have experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trauma is experienced in many forms. Personal tragedy, violent crime, job loss, bullying, abuse, divorce, and natural disasters are just a few examples of trauma. Any traumatic event can take an emotional toll on an individual with the feelings of shock, confusion and fear it may bring. In addition, continuous news coverage and social media provide constant images of tragedy, suffering and loss. This repeated exposure may create traumatic stress for many individuals who did not experience the trauma themselves.

People respond to trauma in various ways.  Many show resilience while others are affected with a loss of security leaving them vulnerable.  Often, the response is physically and emotionally draining.  Many are overcome with grief and struggle to focus, sleep or control anger. 

Here are tips to help overcome trauma and begin the recovery process:

  1. Speak up.  Many have difficulty talking about trauma.  Consider reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, someone from your church or anyone you are close to and trust.  Start slowly.  Not all details of the trauma need to be shared. 
  • Do not blame yourself.  Self-blame is a common effect of trauma.  Work to accept that most traumas are out of your control.
  • Avoid obsessively reliving the traumatic event. Engage in activities that keep your mind occupied. You might choose to read, watch a movie, cook or take a walk in nature.
  • Reestablish routine. There is comfort in the familiar. After a disaster, getting back to a routine that includes normal eating, sleeping and exercising habits will help you minimize traumatic stress and anxiety.
  • Get connected.  Look for a support group in your area.  Often these groups meet weekly and discuss coping strategies and ways to become resilient.
  • Put major life decisions on hold. Making big life decisions about home, work, or family while traumatized will only increase the stress in your life. If possible, try to wait until life has settled down, you have regained your emotional balance, and you are better able to think clearly.
  • Eat well.  Choose a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids which can help you better cope with the ups and downs that follow a tragic event.
  • Limit your media exposure to the traumatic event. Do not watch the news or check social media just before bed, and refrain from repeatedly viewing disturbing footage.

Learning healthy and effective coping skills can help you live a fuller life and manage symptoms you may be experiencing with trauma.  Start today living your best life.

Written by:  Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

National Institute of Mental Health (2020). Coping with Traumatic Events. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/coping-with-traumatic-events/index.shtml U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2019). Trauma and Violence. https://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence

Read Full Post »

After watching Oprah Winfrey’s report on 60 Minutes about Treating Childhood Trauma, I began seeking out more learning opportunities on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and a Trauma Informed Care Approach. I wanted to share with you what I have learned.

Trauma is defined as a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident or an experience that produces psychological injury or pain. Trauma occurs when an individual, family, or community experiences an event or series of events that are harmful, and it affects functioning and well-being. Traumatic events can include abuse, neglect, bullying, terrorism, and war. Trauma does not discriminate. An important point is that what may be traumatic for one person may not affect another person in the same way. For example, being in a car accident may become a traumatic event for one person, and another person may not appear to be affected by it at all.

As a friend, family, or concerned community member, you can help someone who has experienced a trauma by:

  • Asking  “What happened” and “How can how I help?”
  • Allowing the person to express their emotions. Some emotions may be anger, numbness and fear.  There is no one way that individuals express themselves after experiencing a trauma.
  • Listening to someone’s story and showing empathy and concern.
  • Offering practical support.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that happen to children and adolescents, and they are categorized in this infographic from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:

infographicResearch has shown that infants, children, and adolescents with ACEs are more likely to experience mental health, physical health, and behavioral health problems.

THERE IS HOPE!  Even if you, a loved one or your community has experienced a traumatic event, it does not mean that all is lost. There are many protective factors that can help to overcome the experience of trauma and build resilience at individual, relational, and community levels. Protective factors will always promote growth, independence, and healing for an individual.

Some protective factors are:

  • Caring adults outside family who can serve as role models or mentors
  • Communities that support parents and take responsibility for preventing abuse
  • Supportive family environment
  • Adequate housing
  • Access to health care and social services

As you live each day, remember that each of us has the chance to make a difference to another person. Trauma can be experienced by anyone. When we begin to recognize the humanity of each person, to not believe that we already know their story based simply on looks or rumor, and to come together as a community of broken people, each person and each community will become stronger.

 

WRITTEN BY: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension

REVIEWED BY: Jenny Lobb,  Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension

RESOURCES:

Brown, Asa Don. Protective and Risk Factors Associated With Trauma: The process of recovery and resiliency. Psychology Today, 2017.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/towards-recovery/201704/protective-and-risk-factors-associated-trauma

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. What Are Adverse Childhood Experiences? https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/collections/aces.html

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Trauma. https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/trauma

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Types of Trauma and Violence. https://www.samhsa.gov/trauma-violence/types

Victoria State Government Health and Human Services. Trauma – helping family or friends. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/trauma-helping-family-or-friends

Winfrey, Oprah. 60 Minutes News Program. March 11, 2018. Treating Childhood Trauma. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-treating-childhood-trauma/

Youth.gov. Risk & Protective Factors. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/youth-mental-health/risk-and-protective-factors-youth 

Read Full Post »