Perhaps trauma is hard for most people to understand because it is intangible, and therefore seems mysterious and frightening. But anyone, at any age, can be traumatized by an event that they perceive, consciously or unconsciously, to be life-threatening. Shock trauma occurs when we experience these perceived life-threatening events and it overwhelms our stress response systems capacity to respond effectively.
Those at the greatest risk are infants and young children; in fact, events that seem incidental to adults can affect a child profoundly. An adult may brush off a child’s fall from a swing or a bicycle, but to the child it can result in debilitating trauma.
Because of this, the causes of trauma are divided into two main categories: the obvious and the less obvious.
Obvious causes of trauma include:
- Severe childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- Parents separation or divorce
- Neglect, abandonment or betrayal during childhood
- Experiencing or witnessing violence
- Catastrophic injuries or illness
Less obvious causes of trauma include:
- Invasive medical or dental procedures, especially for children during which have been restrained or anesthetized
- Minor automobile accidents, especially that result in whiplash
- Falls or other perceived “minor” injuries, especially when involving children or the elderly
- Natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, fires or floods
- Illness, especially involving a high fever or accidental poisoning
- Being left on one’s own, especially for young children and infants
- Prolonged immobilization, like a cast or splint, especially in children
- Exposure to extreme heat or cold
- Sudden loud noises, especially for young children and infants
- Birth stress, both for mother and infant
Continuing research on the mysteries of trauma is revealing that unresolved trauma can be the root cause of many other chronic and untreatable, or difficult to treat, medical problems, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and immune system diseases.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help resolve your traumatic experiences and restore balance to your stress control mechanism, please call for a free 15-minute consultation.