An Overview of Psychic Trauma
and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD)
12 Steps


TRAUMA, PTSD, and COMPLEX PTSD

Steps 1-3

1. What is trauma?

The psychiatric definition of "trauma" is "an event outside
normal human experience." Trauma generally leaves you feeling
powerless, helpless, paralyzed. It tends to be sudden and
overwhelming; it "owns" you. You cannot think clearly during
and after a severe trauma; at the same time, you are forced to
focus your consciousness in an attempt to deal. One author
defines trauma as "any sudden and potentially life-threatening
event." This refers to one-time traumatic events, but most of
it applies to prolonged, repeated trauma as well.

2. Some instances of one-time trauma.

natural disasters (earthquake, flood, hurricane, etc)
rape
assault
muggings
robbery
accidents (automobile, airplane, train, etc)
fires

3. Some instances of prolonged trauma.

physical or sexual abuse as a child or spouse
war
life in a prison camp
life as a refugee
hostage situations
life in a concentration camp
life in some religious cults



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