Trauma: It Affects Over 50% of Expats

Did you know that more than half of us are likely to face a big T trauma at some point in our lives? That’s right, more than 50% of us will encounter something that will make us fear for our safety and possibly even our lives! Whether it’s a natural disaster, an accident, abuse, violent crime, or war – the list goes on and on!

But it’s not just the big stuff that can have an impact on our lives. Small t traumas, like divorce, job loss, and illness  or vicarious trauma – witnessing someone else’s trauma – can also take a toll on us and affect our ability to function.

Trauma goes beyond the events themselves; it encompasses the internal impact on your nervous system during these distressing moments. Trauma is defined by our body’s response to what happened or what didn’t happen, whether it was too much, too little, too fast, or overwhelming When confronted with a traumatic event, the effects can be both immediate and enduring, affecting your physical, mental, emotional health, relationships, and overall well-being.

Symptoms of Trauma and PTSD

Acute Stress Disorder is the first stage of the trauma response. If you continue to experience symptoms six months after the traumatic event, you may be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Your nervous system may remain in a state of heightened alert, preventing it from calming down. As a result, your fight or flight response may be continuously activated, leading to intense symptoms.

Common Symptoms Include:

Symptoms of trauma can vary depending on the individual and the specific traumatic event or events they have experienced. 

  1. Intrusive Thoughts: Persistent and distressing memories, images, or flashbacks of the traumatic event, which may feel as if they are happening again.
  2. Nightmares: Frequent and vivid dreams related to the traumatic experience, often leading to disrupted sleep patterns.

  3. Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, activities, or conversations that remind the individual of the traumatic event, in an attempt to cope with distress.

  4. Hyperarousal: Feeling constantly on edge, easily startled, or experiencing a heightened sense of danger and hypervigilance.

  5. Emotional Numbing: Feeling emotionally detached or numb, finding it challenging to experience positive emotions.

  6. Difficulty Concentrating: Struggling to focus or concentrate on tasks due to preoccupation with traumatic memories or feelings of unease.

  7. Irritability and Anger: Experiencing frequent mood swings, irritability, or outbursts of anger without a clear cause.

  8. Feeling Detached: Feeling disconnected from oneself, others, or reality, as if observing life from a distance.

  9. Physical Symptoms: Trauma can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained bodily discomforts.

  10. Startle Response: An exaggerated startle response to sudden or loud noises, often associated with feelings of fear or anxiety.

  11. Self-Destructive Behavior: Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviors as a way to cope with the emotional pain.

  12. Avoidance of Triggers: Avoiding situations, people, or places that remind the individual of the traumatic event.

Trauma Stays in the Body

Emerging research has shown that the physiological and emotional stress triggered by the injury can cause changes to the body and mind. Scientists have found that surviving trauma can affect how you think, your memory, and your emotions. It can also impact your ability to trust and form relationships with others. There is another emerging field of research devoted to the neurobiology and visible physiological changes caused by traumatic stress, validating what many survivors already knew—our bodies are affected and “hold” the trauma, sometimes long-term. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van deer Kolk is a seminal book on this topic.


Online trauma therapy plays a pivotal role in supporting individuals on their path to healing from trauma. Traumatic experiences can leave profound emotional scars and disrupt one’s ability to cope with life’s challenges. Through online trauma therapy, individuals can access a secure and empathetic environment to explore their emotions, memories, and reactions to the traumatic event. 

Expert therapists, trained in trauma-focused approaches, employ evidence-based techniques to help process and integrate these distressing memories, empowering individuals to regain control and a sense of safety. 

Online trauma therapy equips individuals with coping strategies to manage symptoms like anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks, while also addressing negative beliefs and thought patterns that may have developed as a result of the trauma. With the convenience and accessibility of online therapy, survivors can foster resilience, boost self-esteem, and enhance overall well-being, enabling them to rebuild their lives with newfound hope and strength.