Oak Forest Recovery - Emotional and Psychological Trauma Resources

Statistics About Trauma

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.

20 percent of people who experience a traumatic event will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

More than 33% of youths exposed to community violence will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

5 Fast Facts about Trauma

More than half of Americans will go through a traumatic event at least once in their lives.

People who have experienced previous traumatic events run a higher risk of developing PTSD.

LGBT people experience violence and PTSD at higher rates than the general population.

Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD, experience a longer duration of posttraumatic symptoms and display more sensitivity to stimuli that remind them of the trauma.

Many survivors currently living with PTSD experience symptoms that are both chronic and severe.

About Emotional and Psychological Trauma and PTSD

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event that hinders the individual’s ability to cope. Trauma can lead to serious, long-term negative consequences. However, with support and treatment, recovery from trauma is possible.

Causes of trauma

Trauma can be caused by surviving events such as:

  • Natural disaster
  • Sexual assault
  • Military combat
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Life-threatening illness, injury, or accidents

Trauma can also be caused by some commonly overlooked life events, such as:

  • The sudden death of a loved one
  • The end of a serious relationship
  • A humiliating experience

You’re more likely to be traumatized by an event if you’ve been traumatized before, such as during childhood. Childhood trauma can be caused by:

    • An unstable or unsafe environment
    • Separation from a parent
    • Serious illness
    • Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
    • Domestic violence

Trauma can also be the result of ongoing, severe stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood, battling a life-threatening illness or experiencing traumatic events that occur repeatedly, such as bullying, domestic violence, or childhood neglect.

signs of trauma

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling disconnected or numb
  • Scanning for danger in safe situations
  • Experiencing irritability, anger or aggression
  • Recurrent nightmares or flashbacks of the event, feeling as though the life-threatening situation is present again
  • Avoiding places, people, activities or objects  that are reminders of the event


Experiencing trauma can have both psychological and physical effects, and these side effects can get worse if an individual lacks support and their trauma is not managed effectively.


Psychological effects of trauma include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Panic attacks
  • Disassociations
  • Depression


Physical effects of trauma include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a psychiatric stress disorder that sometimes develops in people who have experienced trauma. A person suffering from PTSD can re-experience the traumatic event through flashbacks, dreams, and thoughts. If you’ve experienced trauma, and your symptoms do not get better or are getting worse, you may have PTSD. In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, an individual needs to have all of the following for at least 1 month:

    • At least one re-experiencing symptom, such as flashbacks or bad dream.
    • At least one avoidance symptom, such as staying away from places that are reminders of the traumatic event
    • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms, such as being easily startled or having an angry outburst
    • At least two cognition and mood symptoms, such as trouble remembering key details of the traumatic event or loss of interested in enjoyable activities.


Treatment for Emotional and Psychological Trauma/PTSD

Trauma and PTSD are both treatable and manageable. If you are struggling with trauma/PTSD, there is help available and there is hope for recovery.

Tips for recovering from trauma include:

Being physically active – exercise for 30 minutes a day; try to use rhythmic exercises like walking or running; and be mindful and focus on how your body is moving.

Don’t isolate – ask family members, friends, or a counselor for support; participate in social activities; or join a support group.

Self-regulate – use mindful breathing techniques, or other stress-relief/grounding techniques such as using sensory input. Sensory input means noticing different sights, smells, or tastes to feel calm.

Take care of yourself – be sure to get enough sleep, avoid alcohol and drugs, eat a well-balanced diet, and try to reduce stress.

Therapy for Trauma/PTSD

  • Somatic experiencing – focuses on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – uses elements of cognitive behavioral therapy along with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation.


More About Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

One treatment for psychological trauma is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. EMDR therapy does not require talking in detail about the distressing issue or completing homework between sessions. EMDR therapy, rather than focusing on changing the emotions, thoughts, or behaviors resulting from the distressing issue, allows the brain to resolve unprocessed memories and resume its natural healing process.


How EMDR Works

EMDR uses a patient’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. Your therapist will move their fingers back and forth in front of your face and ask you to follow these hand motions with your eyes. At the same time, the EMDR therapist will have you recall a disturbing event. This will include the emotions and body sensations that go along with it. The therapist will then guide you to shift your thoughts to more pleasant ones.