Trauma: Facts, Statistics, and Treatment
Defined as an incident or event that overwhelms and sometimes impairs an individual’s ability to think, act, and perform everyday tasks, trauma can cause lasting psychological and emotional distress. And although we all experience trauma at some point in our lives, instances where the overwhelming feelings aren’t resolved can lead to further mental health complications.
Unresolved trauma can become many different conditions, like depression, bipolar disorder, or even schizophrenia, to name a few. Fortunately, several treatment options and methods have successfully addressed trauma, allowing individuals to function without constant distress and hopelessness.
Fast Facts: Trauma in Numbers
- 70% of adults in the US have experienced some form of trauma at least once
- Trauma is a risk factor in almost 100% of mental health and substance abuse disorders
- A woman is beaten every 15 seconds in the United States
- 33% of youths exposed to community violence will develop PTSD
- 90% of sexually abused children develop PTSD
- 56% of individuals with trauma will think of or attempt suicide
- 18% of trauma patients will inflict harm or injury on themselves
- Children who have experienced any form of trauma are 15% more likely to attempt suicide
- Children who go through trauma are four times more likely to use alcohol and illicit drugs
- Individuals with trauma are twice as likely to develop depression
- They’re also three times more likely to develop anxiety disorders
What are the Most Common Forms of Trauma?
Trauma can come in many different forms and many other patterns. And although many people think that trauma is usually just one major event, science teaches us that trauma can happen in different ways:
- One-time trauma: These traumas will only happen once, but their severity can make it difficult for individuals to cope with their effects. This type of trauma can include injuries, accidents, sudden deaths in the family, a violent attack, or even rape.
- Ongoing trauma: Constant exposure to a high-stress situation can be considered a trauma, especially if it causes a person to alter their behavior to minimize the effects. For instance, living in a neighborhood with rampant crimes, bullying at school, or sexual abuse of children.
- Overlooked trauma: Although they might not be as obvious, these traumas can impose severe psychological and emotional problems. Childhood neglect, narcissistic abuse, humiliating and disappointing experiences, and breaking up with a partner can all be forms of trauma.
Similarly, there are big T’s or big traumas and small T’s or small traumas. Significant concussions must only happen once to change a person’s thinking or psyche. These are typically past traumas that produce lasting change in a person’s life. Things like natural disasters and deaths are considered big T’s. Tiny T’s, on the other hand, might not seem like traumas on the surface. But if they keep happening repeatedly, they can produce the same effect as a big T. for example, one child who is constantly and consistently neglected and deprived of affection may grow up with the psychological and emotional scars to prove it. Aside from the recurrence of the trauma, there’s the traumatic event itself. Individuals tend to respond differently to trauma, with some people feeling more affected by specific circumstances than others. For example, a woman with a close relationship with her parents might feel doubly distressed at her mother’s untimely passing. This can be a different experience for someone who hasn’t had the best relationship with her mom.
Others are fully invested in their career and might feel particularly overwhelmed with emotion if they lose their job, as opposed to someone who doesn’t mind jumping from opportunity to opportunity. Again, traumatic events are diverse, and their reactions can change depending on the individual’s unique psychology.