Chronic versus Acute Trauma

Chronic versus Acute TraumaTrauma impacts a person’s physiological, emotional, physical and mental health. Not all traumatic experiences are the same, and there are different treatment strategies for the various types. These strategies help people regain balance in their life.

What is Acute Trauma?

Acute trauma is often associated with a single event: a car accident, theft, witnessing a violent event or any experience that threatens physical or emotional safety.

Symptoms of Acute Trauma

A person reacting to acute trauma may demonstrate any of the following symptoms:

  • Panic
  • Confusion
  • Dissociation
  • Insomnia
  • Suspiciousness
  • A lack of self care
  • Loss of focus or production at work or school

Any of these problems can stem from a traumatic experience.

Treatment for Acute Trauma

For a person suffering from acute trauma, there are several treatment strategies including the following:

  • Immediate emotional support
  • Removal from the scene of the trauma
  • Short-term use of medication to relieve grief or anxiety
  • Medicinal or natural strategies to combat insomnia
  • Short-term therapy to return to feeling safe and secure

With help anyone can overcome the damage of acute trauma.

What Is Chronic Trauma?

Unlike acute trauma, chronic incidents reoccur over and over and may include the following situations:

  • Long term child abuse
  • War
  • Ongoing sexual abuse
  • Living within a domestically violent environment

The word chronic means ongoing, so it refers to trauma that happens repeatedly. Survivors of this kind off trauma may require much more treatment as the pain lasts much longer.

Symptoms of Chronic Trauma

Unlike those of acute trauma, the symptoms of chronic trauma may keep survivors trapped for an extended amount of time. Living with a chronic trauma requires that a person take any of the following actions:

  • Attempt to survive using a variety of survival mechanisms
  • Adapt to the greatest extent possible
  • Attempt to minimize the impact

Because these strategies are reactive and defensive, a person suffering from chronic trauma may experience any of the following problems:

  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Rage
  • Over-reactions
  • Misperceptions of their environment
  • Impaired memories

If you recognize any of these symptoms in someone who has survived chronic trauma, behavioral problems may soon develop.

Behavioral Reactions to Chronic Trauma

When a person does not receive treatment to deal with chronic trauma, he may demonstrate any of the following behaviors:

  • Sexual avoidance
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Fighting
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Unhealthy personal relationships
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Anyone who suffers from trauma can recover, and we can help.

Help Dealing with Trauma

If you or a loved one suffer from trauma, it is important to try a variety of treatment methods to recover. If you are struggling with a past hurt, or if you are battling an existing relationship between alcohol and drugs, please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about counseling and trauma. We are here to help.

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