The original meaning of the Greek word “trauma” is “wound,” in the physical sense. Today we use the term “psychological trauma” to describe a condition in which a person has experienced a difficult event that has wounded his or her psyche. There has been growing awareness of the fact that people who are exposed to unexpected events such as terrorist attacks or car accidents are often not only physically injured, but mentally hurt as well. Other examples of traumatic events that may cause psychological trauma are injuries caused by natural disasters, sexual assault, or serious illness.

Trauma tears at the fabrics of our life and can shatter our perceptions of reality.

In most cases a traumatic event will live on in our awareness for some time, but with the help of family and friends, most people will manage to process the event and be able to return to normal daily functioning. The mind, like the body, naturally heals. However, many of those who experience traumatic events will suffer from post-traumatic symptoms for a short period of time, and a minority will go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety-related disorder caused by exposure to a traumatic incident.

People can develop PTSD in a variety of ways: after personally experiencing a traumatic event, after witnessing someone else experience such an event, after learning that a traumatic event has occurred to a close family member or friend; and upon first-hand repeated exposure to details of a traumatic incident (note that this does not include media exposure, unless it is part of one’s profession, as it is for journalists). A significant portion of the Israeli population is exposed to traumatic events, many of which can be life-threatening. These may include terror attacks, traffic accidents, violent assault, sexual assault, disease within the family, and more. Experiencing such a situation, or watching it unfold from the sidelines, creates within many of us feelings of fear, helplessness, and sometimes rage against the world for suddenly having become so threatening and unpredictable.

People who suffer from PTSD experience great difficulty in the aftermath of the traumatic event, which continues to affect their daily life long after the event has subsided. They may experience flashbacks to the event, that is a feeling that it is recurring again and again. Nightmares, difficulty concentrating and constant anxiety are additional symptoms of this disorder.

PTSD is extremely distressing and difficult for both the person suffering from it, and for those living with him or her. Learning about the various symptoms of PTSD can help you determine if you, or someone close to you may be suffering from the disorder. There are effective treatments for this disorder, including those we offer here at METIV. You do not need to continue suffering alone. Learn about various methods of trauma treatment here.