Psychological trauma can result from experiences that overwhelm one’s ability to cope.
It can result from a single distressing experience or recurring events of being overwhelmed. A person may re-experience the trauma mentally and physically, which can upset their sense of self, safety, self-confidence and ability to regulate emotions. How people experience trauma is unique. Some become obviously distressed, while others become quiet and withdrawn. Some replay the traumata over and over in their minds, others shut it out.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) involves well known psychological reactions to extremely stressful events (such as actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence).
Reactions can include having recurrent unwanted memories of the event/s, distressing dreams, intense or prolonged distress when reminded of the event/s, bodily reactions to reminders of the event, sleeping difficulties and nightmares, panic, efforts to avoid memories, thoughts or feelings associated with the event, avoiding reminders of the event/s, changes in thinking, memory, concentration, emotional state, and changes in one’s sense of control, safety and abilities.
An interesting part of PSTD is that it is considered to be a normal response to abnormal events. It is classified as a mental health disorder because the trauma is so overwhelming that people need help to adjust.