A trauma can result in acute or chronic psychological and psychosomatic problems, and restrict the quality of life of the person affected in vital areas in the long-term.
Whether these problems occur depends on various individual factors, such as the type and duration of the traumatisation, personal characteristics of the person concerned, age, support and/or further destabilisation through the close environment.
Some problems that may occur are:
- torturing, recurrent memories, which feel as if the violence is about to be repeated at that very moment (flashbacks);
- sleep disturbances and nightmares;
- anxiety and panic attacks;
- physical discomfort;
- feeling cut off from one’s own body;
- not being able to stand being touched;
- problems with sexuality and relationships;
- self-harming actions;
- drug abuse;
- eating disorders;
- emotional indifference / apathy / disconnection from others;
- concentration disorders / forgetfulness;
- nervousness / irritability / emotional outbursts;
- difficulty in confiding in others;
- feelings of guilt and shame;
- depression and suicidal thoughts;
- feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
These are often slow and insidious changes, which the person affected does not associate with the traumatic experience. Some problems occur with some people, occur differently in others and not at all in others still. There are also victims whose complaints are not very serious or stop soon, whilst there are others that suffer from symptoms for years and even decades.
A trauma can shake and destroy the view of life and self-perception of a person. If someone experiences violence perpetrated by known persons this is a massive breach of trust. This can complicate building up future trustful relationships and permanently destroy the victim’s self-image.