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Emotional trauma: what is it and what psychological problems does it generate?

Emotional trauma: what is it and what psychological problems does it generate?

May 15, 2024

When we talk about emotional trauma , the image that can come to mind is usually something catastrophic. However, the trauma is much more than that, since we are exposed to micro-trauma from birth.

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What is an emotional trauma?

Our organism considers a traumatic situation on an emotional level any event for which we are not prepared and that generates a strong emotional pain load .

Since we do not have the necessary tools so that our system can keep it in memory in a healthy and adaptive way, what makes our brain with this painful information is to encapsulate it in order to continue functioning in the healthiest way possible for the person. But it is precisely the fact of blocking it that causes it to become a trauma.


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Its psychological consequences

The unresolved emotional traumas may be associated with the development of mental disorders that lead the person to organize their own perception of reality and lifestyle around the problem.

Among the usual consequences that begin to affect our lives we find the following.

1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Known as the pathology of trauma, it occurs in situations in which the situation is revived in the form of intrusive memory memories. When the associated emotional impact is very high, the person can "disconnect" that information from their head, leading to dissociative disorders, which in a certain way becomes the only resource of the person to be able to continue living with that trauma .


2. Anxiety and panic attacks

Associated with the emotion of fear, it places us at a constant trigger point when diverse emotional memories connect with some aspect of our life .

3. Depression

If after the trauma the person begins to feel Emotions of guilt, helplessness and disappointment , a depressive picture may develop.

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How to overcome it?

Processing emotional trauma is necessary, since it is the only way in which information, stored in a pathological way, can be reconfigured by changing the psychological impact it causes.

To carry out this re-processing of information there are several cutting-edge techniques that help in a faster way establish new "corrective" emotional memories regarding that painful information. In this new processing of painful information is the stage in which the change is made between "living accepting the past" and "struggling with the past to be able to live".


What happens if the trauma occurs in childhood?

Given that childhood is the time in which we begin to build our "I", and that our brain develops by 80% in the first two years of life, a child whose parents are not able to recognize their basic emotional needs can develop an attachment problem that leads and maintains until adult life. This is why we speak of secure attachment in childhood as a protective factor of mental health in adulthood.

Making repairs to a trauma often leads us to work on some aspects of childhood that may be forgotten or even those that we have not paid attention to in years, but which have nevertheless served to organize our system in a certain way around this information.

Paradoxically, it is sometimes believed that a trauma such as an accident, an earthquake or a flood is difficult to overcome. But, against that belief, psychologists know that the traumas that we call complexes are those that come from breaks in attachment , with such a simple base in the trust with the other, which in childhood is translated by that ability of the caregiver to look at us, attend to us, give us security and, above all, give us love.

Author: Ana Carcedo Bao, Psychologist


The effect of trauma on the brain and how it affects behaviors | John Rigg | TEDxAugusta (May 2024).


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