Defense Base Act Benefits: What Is the Difference Between Trauma vs PTSD?

Defense Base Act Benefits: What Is the Difference Between Trauma vs PTSD?

Sep 8, 2023 | Defense Base Act, PTSD

In the United States, it’s estimated that around 70% of adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. 

While scary and traumatic things happen all the time, they don’t all lead to PTSD development. 

The terms trauma triggers and PTSD are often used interchangeably. However, they aren’t the same and we’re going to explore the difference in this guide. The more you know about trauma vs PTSD, the easier it’ll be to find the care and help that you need. 

Defining Trauma 

Trauma is a deeply distressing experience that overwhelms someone’s ability to cope and process the emotions that are associated with that event. These situations can vary and can include natural disasters, physical or emotional abuse, violence, the sudden loss of a loved one, or an accident.

Trauma responses are the body’s natural reaction and can trigger a range of emotional, psychological, or physical reactions. 

Manifestations of Trauma

Your reaction to trauma may be emotional. A distressing event can lead to feelings of fear, anger, guilt, shame, and sadness.

These feelings typically arise immediately after the event but can show themselves later on in the future. Unfortunately, there is no way to know when these emotional reactions will happen.

Some individuals may also experience intrusive thoughts. This could manifest itself as distressing memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.

If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, your state of alertness may be heightened. You may be easily startled or irritated. Sleep disturbances are also common, as well as difficulty concentrating.

Understanding PTSD-Development

If you’ve developed PTSD, you may continue to re-experience the event and have constant triggers that remind you of the trauma.

Those who have developed PTSD also tend to avoid situations, people, places, and conversations that remind them of the event.

This often leads to a sense of detachment and can make a person feel isolated and alone. Negative thoughts and moods are also not uncommon in someone who has experienced a traumatic event and developed PTSD.

Key Differences

There are a few main differences that you need to be aware of when you’re learning about trauma vs PTSD. The most significant is the duration and the impact on someone’s life.

Trauma reactions to a distressing event are considered normal. While PTSD is a prolonged condition where symptoms persist and impair a person’s quality of life.

Seeking Support: Trauma vs PTSD

Understanding the distinction between trauma vs PTSD is essential for acknowledging the complexity of emotional and psychological responses. Being on a military base can expose individuals to potential trauma, and recognizing the impact of military life on mental health can help create a safer environment for service members. 

Remember, you don’t have to struggle alone. There are lots of professionals that are trained to help people who have combat-related trauma. 

Our staff is here to support you too! Contact us here and we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve.