What is the Connection Between Trauma and PTSD?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Images By: Robert Hoetink, John Gomez, Zea_Lenanet, Usmc Archives, Vlorzor
  • Last Modified Date: 29 December 2018
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People who experience traumatic events often can develop a disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The connection between trauma and PTSD is that trauma is often the root of the intense emotional distress and anxiety of PTSD. In many cases, the trauma may involve personal loss, such as witnessing the accidental death of a loved one. Experiencing physical assault or rape, or witnessing a murder also can cause PTSD.

It should be noted that the connection between trauma and PTSD in children may manifest in different ways than in adults. Symptoms of PTSD in children may vary, but can include withdrawal or lack of interest in favorite activities. Doing poorly in school may be another sign. Outbursts of violence or aggressive behavior, as well as depression, may be other ways children react to trauma and PTSD.

There is a strong connection between trauma and PTSD in individuals of all ages and walks of life. The symptoms of trauma related to post traumatic stress disorder can be delayed, or occur shortly after a traumatic experience. For instance, some war veterans experience psychological stress and trauma upon returning home from duty. Many individuals in the military do not experience any psychological issues until several months or even years later.


Some of the symptoms experienced by individuals who have been in warfare may include sudden flashbacks or nightmares. Flashbacks may be very vivid memories of horrific moments a person has lived through. In some individuals, one major symptom is often referred to as "shell-shock." These people may experience extreme apathy and lack of interest in social activities. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are also common symptoms.

There are other major connections between trauma and PTSD. Victims are not just those who suffer from the symptoms of PTSD. Family members, friends, and loved ones of PTSD sufferers are often affected.

Although being a victim of extreme acts of violence or witnessing terrifying accidents may cause a person to develop PTSD, some individuals may be able to deal with their stress and not develop this condition. Many mental health services and organizations can help individuals cope with issues related to post traumatic stress disorder. Asking for a referral from a primary care physician may be a good way to find the necessary help to deal with PTSD. Researching online may provide help as well.



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