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Coping With Trauma

October marks World Trauma Month, a month set aside to create awareness and a safe space for survivors of trauma and their caregivers.

According to research, South Africa has high rates of criminal violence, domestic violence, and accidental injury. This translates into a large number of trauma survivors in our society. When we turn on the news, we consistently get reports about crime, violence, and injury. Internationally, too, South Africa is known to be one of the most dangerous countries to live in. So, comes as no surprise that  South Africans are affected by and exposed to trauma more than others.

Some studies show that even people who have not been directly traumatised can experience trauma indirectly, for example through the sudden death of a loved one, hearing about a trauma that occurred to a person they are close to or witnessing a traumatic incident. It is therefore apparent that very few of us live completely untouched by trauma and, for many, exposure to potentially traumatic experiences is an inescapable part of our daily life.

According to The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) has listed some symptoms of trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) include but are not limited to:

  • Persistent flashbacks to the incident.
  • Nightmares about what happened at the incident.
  • Constant thoughts or memories of the incident that caused trauma.
  • Feeling nervous and jumpy.
  • Being easily frightened by loud noises and sudden movements.
  • Avoiding things that are a reminder of the trauma.
  • Not wanting to talk about how you feel or what happened.
  • Self-medicating with drugs, or alcohol.

When you suffer from PTSD, you may be overwhelmed by negative emotions and feel that you will never be fine again, you are not alone. With the right type of treatment, you can overcome the symptoms of traumatic stress.

The sooner PTSD is dealt with, the easier to overcome it. Remember that PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness, and the best way to get through it is to get help.

If you suspect you may be suffering from PTSD, it’s best to go for therapy as soon as possible. You can start by asking your Yellow Dot Doctor to provide you with a referral.