What Is Trauma?

Trauma is an event or series of events that usually involves fear or threat. Trauma can include: child abuse or neglect, sexual or physical assault, natural disasters, accidents, witnessing or being involved in a violent crime, and the sudden or violent death of a loved one.

What are the Symptoms of Trauma?

Traumatic Stress, sometimes called Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), is a reaction to these events. PTS is caused by feelings of threat, horror, fear, extreme helplessness or shame about the trauma. These reactions can occur if the trauma happened to the actual person, the trauma was witnessed or if the trauma happened to someone very close you or your child.

Symptoms of PTS Include:

  • Reacting strongly or being upset when remembering the event
  • Reacting strongly or being upset when being reminded of the event
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the event
  • Trying to avoid things or places that remind you of the event
  • Feeling “on guard” or hyper alert much of the time
  • Having thoughts or images of the trauma pop into your mind unexpectedly
  • Having upsetting dreams or nightmares about the event

Symptoms in children and adults can manifest in different ways. Children might act out their feelings by being more worried, have appetite changes, irritability, sleep disturbances, or have issues at home or school.

Will These Symptoms Last Forever?

It is normal to have reactions to traumatic events, especially right after they happen.  This is called Acute Stress or what used to be called “Shell Shock.” The symptoms are usually worse immediately after the event but most of the time do get better. Most children and adults go on to live normal and happy lives after a traumatic event. After a few weeks or months, if things do not get better, professional help might be necessary.  When this Acute Stress reaction does not get better, it can become Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Immediate help can mitigate long term impact!

How Do I Get Help?

Treatment for PTSD is often very effective and usually takes somewhere between 15-20 sessions of treatment. The treatments used at HopeSparks are structured and time sensitive. HopeSparks primarily uses what are called evidenced-based treatments to treat PTS and have been very successful at helping children, teens, and adults heal in a timely manner with little to no symptoms after treatment is over. The families we work with go on to live symptom free lives and do not have to live with the fear that they once did.

To make an appointment please call our Tacoma office at 253-565-4484 and speak with our intake specialists.