What qualifies as a traumatic experience?

A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. The best definition of trauma is any experience that overwhelms your thoughts, emotions, or body. Trauma is a very personal experience. The way you remember an event can be very different from the way someone else experienced the same thing.

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event, such as an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Long-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, tense relationships, and even physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea. Finally, there is one more aspect as to whether people have been traumatized.

It's not enough to have experienced traumatic events. Being traumatized generally means that people have been affected by the events. That is, they have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and some alterations in their ability to function. Being traumatized means that people have some emotional or behavioral problems as a result of trauma.

This is why people who have medical careers, such as nurses or paramedics, as well as first responders, such as firefighters and police officers, experience higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and suicide.