One in four women suffer from the effects of trauma. As women, there are many indicators of trauma. Here, we give you 10 signs to recognize trauma in your life. The most common trauma for women is sexual assault or child sexual abuse.
1 in 3 women will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime.
Through our work at Sisterhood Agenda we have discovered how trauma, both present and historical, can have disturbing effects on the health and welfare of women and girls. Did you know: women who are battered suffer from trauma have more physical ailments, mental health issues, and are less likely to practice safe sex?
Learn more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition commonly linked to trauma. Read more about Sister Circles, Sisterhood Agenda’s trauma-informed gatherings for support. Recognizing trauma is the key to healing and recovery to live a life full of endless possibilities:
1. Understand that trauma is unique to each person
When an outside threat is too much to manage, it can affect many areas of life. Trauma is unique to each individual, therefore, the type of psychological distress and unhealthy coping behavior can vary. There are many ways trauma can express itself, so we look at the history of the person.
2. Trauma comes in many forms and sometimes they overlap
There are many forms of trauma including historical trauma, social violence, childhood trauma, interpersonal violence, and institutional trauma. If any of these experiences apply to you, you have been traumatized and may be suffering from its affects.
3. Look at your relationships
Interpersonal violence is a major source of trauma for women and children. Unlike men, who are more likely to experience violence from strangers, women and girls are most likely to be hurt by those they know and love. As a result, traumatized women and girls tend to have relationship difficulties that can last throughout their entire lives.
4. Trauma affects our health
Scientific evidence confirms the lasting impact that trauma has on the mind and body. Toxic stress is associated with the development of a wide range of disorders from mental illnesses to cardiac disease to HIV.
5. Trauma affects eating behavior
There is a strong correlation between trauma and eating disorders such as overeating, anorexia, and binge eating. We can examine issues of stress and self-control. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often co-occurs with eating disorders.
6. Traumatized women and girls often suffer from PTSD
Experiencing violence (interpersonal violence and war) can be extremely traumatizing. If you are upset and it does not go away and your body feels stuck in a constant state of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of your trauma.
7. Substance abuse is a widespread response to trauma
Many individuals with substance disorders have a history of childhood abuse. This includes physical, sexual, emotional and psychological trauma. Substances abuse includes overuse of cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and prescription medications to self-medicate and remove bad feelings.
8. Are you addicted?
Emotional trauma and a history of violence are often the overlooked roots of addiction. Women’s history of being abused increases the likelihood that a woman will become addicted. Addiction includes substance abuse, but also includes sex, gambling, shopping, and other addictive behaviors.
9. Are you depressed? You may be part of an epidemic of women's depression
More childhood and chronic trauma accounts for depression among women. Situational or reactive depression is a normal part of grieving and recovering from any trauma. However, people are made vulnerable when their childhood experiences don’t enable them to build a resilient adult self. Therefore, they are more susceptible to depression as adults.
10. Are you having trouble getting better?
Your current treatment plan may not working for you if trauma is not part of your program. Trauma experts recommend gender-responsive, trauma-informed curricula to use for women’s and girls’ treatment services.