Trauma is an attack on the self. Trauma comes from the Greek word that means “to wound or to pierce.” Traumatic events generally involve a threat of injury or death that causes the victim to feel intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and impending annihilation. Trauma can occur following the experience or witnessing of military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults such as rape. These events are outside the range of normal human experience. They cause physical or psychological injury that produces mental or emotional stress. In our universal search to derive meaning from our experiences, our psyche is sometimes wounded, pierced by our inability to mentally process the incongruous, unpleasant, unexpected, dramatic, and shocking events that come our way. The resulting psychological condition is trauma. Prolonged or repeated abuse can also cause trauma.
Humans react to traumatic events with the autonomic nervous system, or with basic reflexes. At the moment of the threatening experience, victims may freeze in terror, unable to escape the event; run away; or flee in panic to get away from the event. Or they may fight to avoid or end the threat.
The emotional symptoms of trauma are sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, irritability, anger, despair, guilt, and self-doubt. Victims may develop phobias, sleep