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What Is Acute Trauma?

Trauma is any event or experience that causes physical or emotional harm, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or physical assault. While trauma is a common experience, not all traumas are the same. Some traumas, such as those caused by chronic stress or ongoing abuse, are considered complex and can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s mental health. On the other hand, acute trauma refers to a single traumatic event that occurs suddenly and has immediate consequences.

Acute trauma can result from a variety of events, including accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or sudden acts of violence. These events are often unexpected and can cause a significant amount of physical and emotional distress. Professional help in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment services can help individuals cope with the effects of acute trauma and work toward healing.

Call Columbia Associates at 703.682.8208 to discover how our PTSD treatment services can help.

Understanding Acute Trauma

Acute trauma is different from other types of trauma because of its sudden and unexpected nature. While other traumas may develop over time, acute trauma occurs without warning and can be overwhelming for the person experiencing it. This rapid onset of symptoms makes it difficult to prepare for or prevent the traumatic event from happening.

Additionally, acute trauma often involves feelings of fear, helplessness, and loss of control. These emotions can have a significant impact on a person’s sense of safety and well-being. They may also contribute to the development of PTSD or other mental health conditions.

Symptoms of Acute Trauma

The symptoms of acute trauma can vary depending on the individual and the event that caused it. However, some common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shock and disbelief – If you’ve experienced a sudden and traumatic event, it’s normal to feel shocked or numb. This reaction is your body’s way of protecting you from overwhelming emotions.
  • Anxiety and fear – Acute trauma can cause intense feelings of anxiety and fear, making it challenging to relax or feel safe.
  • Flashbacks – Reliving the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares is common in acute trauma. These intrusive memories can be distressing and make it difficult to focus on daily tasks.
  • Physical symptoms – Acute trauma can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pain, or muscle tension.
  • Avoidance – Some people may try to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This can include people, places, or activities that trigger their memories. While avoidance may provide temporary relief, it can also lead to isolation and difficulties in daily life.
  • Changes in mood and behavior – Acute trauma can cause significant changes in a person’s mood and behavior. They may become more irritable, have difficulty sleeping, or engage in risky behaviors.
  • Hyperarousal – People experiencing acute trauma may also feel constantly on edge, easily startled, or have trouble concentrating.

Despite these symptoms, it’s essential to remember that everyone responds to trauma differently. Some people may show immediate signs of distress, while others may not experience symptoms until weeks or even months after the event.

Reach Out Today for Treatment for Acute Trauma from Columbia Associates

If you or someone you know has experienced acute trauma, it’s important to seek help. At Columbia Associates, we offer specialized PTSD treatment services that focus on managing and overcoming the effects of trauma through therapy, psychiatric services, and alternative approaches to treatment, like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. Our team of mental health professionals works with clients to develop personalized treatment plans that address their unique needs.

For new clients, please click here to schedule an appointment. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.