Trigger Tuesday: Medical Trauma

Medical trauma is a set of psychological and physiological responses of patients and their families to pain, injury, serious illness, medical procedures, and invasive or frightening treatment experiences.

In many cases, medical trauma is not recognized or taken seriously. It does not necessarily matter the seriousness of the illness because it is easy to become traumatized when struggling with medical issues, especially if you are kept in a hospital or inpatient facility.

Some tips on how to prevent and handle the effects of medical trauma would be to arrange social support as well as psychological support, become familiar with the illness and your treatment plan, be aware of the effects of medications and form good relationships with your health care providers.

Also, do not be ashamed for having strong emotions or traumatic flashbacks regarding your medical experiences. This is something that is somewhat out of your control. No one asks for the medical issues that they face and when you are struggling, it is best to seek support.

Some things that can trigger medical trauma or flashbacks would be specific medical terms, doctor's offices or hospitals, physical or mental symptoms, certain tests, beeping, meeting with the doctor that was there during your struggle or even talking about your health issues or hearing about someone else's.

Create a safety plan for yourself in the case of encountering your triggers, and be sure to have someone in your corner that you can talk to about it - whether it is a friend, family member, co-worker or professional.