What is emotional and psychological trauma?

If you’ve gone through a traumatic experience or suffered repeated trauma, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger that you just can’t kick. Or the trauma may have left you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people.

When bad things happen, it can take time to get over the pain and feel safe again. But with the right treatment, self-help strategies, and support from family and friends you can speed your recovery from emotional and psychological trauma. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on.

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.

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