What Is Trauma?

Trauma derives from the Greek word “traumat” which means “wound.”Wound is a very relevant word to describe trauma and the experience of trauma as it is emotional or psychological distress that people endure after experiencing a deeply disturbing event or a range of such events. People may develop such distress immediately after the experience, however many also begin experiencing such symptoms many years after the event/s occurred.

Trauma can be the result from a range of different events which can either be natural or man-made. Some common incidents that lead to trauma are

  • Natural Disasters: (Floods, Earthquakes, Cyclones or Fires).
  • Sexual Abuse: (Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment or Child Abuse).
  • Violence: (Physical Assault, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping or Domestic Violence).
  • Accidents: (Car Accidents, Plane Crashes or Workplace Accidents).
  • War: (Combat, Terrorism, Exposure to War Situations or Atrocities).
  • Sudden Death (Sudden Death of a Family Member/Close Friend or Suicide of Family Member/Close Friend).
  • Health Issues (Chronic Illness, Disability, Diagnosis of Serious Health Condition).
  • Other issues including Divorce, Separation of Parents or Moving to a New Location can trigger symptoms of trauma.

Therefore a range of factors can trigger trauma-related symptoms and according to the Australian Centre of Posttraumatic Mental Health, approximately 5% to 10% of Australians will experience trauma in their life times (http://www.acpmh.unimelb.edu.au, 2014). However a range of research has shown that trauma is often undiagnosed in the community.