Effects of Trauma on Individuals
Trauma refers to the response to distressing events that overwhelm one’s ability to cope. It triggers feelings of helplessness, leads to the loss of the sense of self, and has adverse psychological and physical effects on individuals. Green (2013) asserts that trauma has a real and significant impact on the life of the victim, immediate associates, and the larger public health system. Essentially, traumatic events have behavioral, cognitive, and social effects on people. The effects can be far-reaching depending on the nature of the traumatic event and the individual characteristics of affected persons. A victim of a traumatic situation may not necessarily show similar signs or symptoms, making it challenging to diagnose the condition with precision from a clinician’s perspective.
Common manifestations of trauma can be confused with the symptoms of other health conditions. Green (2013) asserts that the symptoms range from physical and emotional signs to psychological disorders, such as impulsivity, inattention, anger, fear, insomnia, emotional outbursts, anxiety, and dizziness. All of them can be the manifestation of other health or medical conditions. Emotional disorders, such as anger leading to insomnia, can easily be confused for signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Similarly, physical disorders, such as dizziness and headaches, could also be signs of underlying medical conditions other than trauma. Hence, it is apparent that clinicians can easily misdiagnose patients struggling with trauma because of the broad array of shared symptoms with other medical conditions.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Children encounter different types of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that may lead to long-term behavioral and health issues later in life. Green (2013) highlights leading ACEs, including recurrent physical and emotional abuse, contact sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect. Exposure to a single type of ACE condition is sufficient to cause trauma later in one’s life. The situation is worse for children subjected to recurrent exposures and those who encounter a combination of several conditions, which is usually the case. Children who face recurrent physical abuse are likely to experience other ACEs, such as recurrent emotional abuse, emotional and physical neglect. Hence, recurrent physical abuse requires more attention as it is seemingly a culmination of several other ACE conditions.
A critical review of common types of ACEs shows that poverty should be listed as a major factor of child abuse in families. The frustrations that come with poverty can easily make parents bitter towards their children. Such parents can develop the tendency to turn to their children to vent their anger and frustrations, resulting in physical and emotional abuse. The chances of such parents divorcing or turning to alcohol and other drugs are high. Nevertheless, the neighborhoods are seldom safe for children, which increases the chances of exposure to sexual abuse. Resultantly, children raised in low-income families encounter a combination of ECEs within the family setting. As such, poverty should be listed among the leading adverse childhood exposures with long-term physical health and psychological effects.
Importance of Trauma-Informed Care
Clinicians should embrace the trauma-informed approach when dealing with patients for the certainty of offering a comprehensive quality of healthcare services. Essentially, trauma-informed care involves a thorough understanding of the interplay between physical, psychological, and social aspects of human wellbeing (Green, 2013). Clinicians must understand the impact of trauma on their patients’ lives to offer care that touches on these three health aspects. Nevertheless, patients reporting the symptoms of physical health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, could be experiencing trauma. Their health can seldom be assured unless healthcare providers adopt trauma-informed care. Apparently, people may not avoid exposures that trigger traumatic memories that lead to various psychological and physical health complications. The failure to take a trauma-informed approach could lead to re-traumatization and recurrence of psychological and physical healthcare problems.
Green, S. A. (2013). Trauma and trauma-informed care [PowerPoint slides]. Web.