What is a potentially traumatic event?
If you haven’t checked out our previous post about trauma, check it out here.
Often we hear people mention that they were “traumatized” by a situation, or that they were exposed to something “traumatic.” What does that mean?
Unfortunately, the term trauma has been used frivolously and without regard. Trauma affects many people differently, and can have varying levels of emotion carried with it.
Potentially traumatic events can be caused by a singular occasion, or from ongoing, relentless stresses. A potentially traumatic event is more prone to leave an individual with longer-lasting emotional and psychological trauma if:
- The individual was unprepared for the event
- The event occurred suddenly and without warning
- The individual felt powerless to prevent the event
- The event(s) were compounded (such as child abuse)
- The event occurred during the childhood years
Trauma Further Explored
Potentially traumatic events are defined as
“events that are both powerful and upsetting that intrude into the daily life of a man or woman.”
- may involve a threat to one’s psychological and/or physical well-being
- may be life-threatening to one’s own life or the life of a loved one
- may have very little impact on one individual but can lead to significant distress in another
- may be related to the mental and physical health of the person, past traumatic experiences, presence of coping skills, and level of social and emotional support at the time of the potentially traumatic event.
Examples of Traumatic Situations
Examples of events and situations that can lead to the development of psychological trauma may include:
- Natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes
- Interpersonal violence like rape, child abuse, or the suicide of a loved one or friend
- Involvement in a serious car accident or workplace accident
- Acts of violence such as an armed robbery, war, or terrorism
Commonly overlooked causes of potential emotional and psychological trauma can also include:
- Breakup or divorce in a significant relationship
- Significantly humiliating experienced
- Falls or injuries due to sports
- Sudden, unexpected death of a loved one
- Diagnosis of a life-threatening or disabling condition
We must keep in mind that someone else’s traumatic situation may not seem traumatic to us, however, as it should still be regarded as traumatic as it is traumatic for them.
At PeerCheck360, we are dedicated to bringing brotherly love to the healthcare community!