By Dr Hena Jawaid, Psychiatrist
The Contemporary Age
The modern era is moving to apply the holistic approach in practice of medicine. This practice takes an individual as part of society, treating him with consideration of his/her role, responsibility, emotionality and association with other people in his/her living setting, and not only focusing on the biological part of the illness. It implies anticipation of the social and psychological sequel of illness so that appropriate preventive or therapeutic measures can be provided on time.
Thus, World Health organisation (WHO) has emphasised not only on physical, mental and social domains of health but also stressed upon the fact that merely absence of illness does not rule out its presence.
Considering basic mental health in the third world countries seems like talking about some luxurious facility. As scarcity in the provision of primary health measures have diminished the significance of mental health.
Long-term stresses and repeated traumatic events jeopardise individual's thinking, judgment, and productivity on personal level. Before proceeding forward, two things should be cleared as how science defines trauma and classifies it in terms of its influence on human beings.
A traumatic event is defined as “an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.”
It is further classified into two classes Type I and Type II Trauma.
Type I deals with a single, dangerous and catastrophic event like an earthquake, tsunami or flood; whereas type II deals with sustained, repeated and series of stresses. It also includes human-designed stresses; like sexual or physical abuse or combat (1).
The Psychological Sequel of Trauma
According to studies on the psychological impact of these traumas; type II is said to contain more prolonged, strained effects and leads to self-destructive behaviour. The constellation of these problems often stated as “Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”.
Personal and Social Trauma
Unfortunately, today the whole world is going through both kinds of traumatic violence. On collective level, we are facing natural disasters; like rainfalls, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes (with no proper fulfillment of biological needs afterwards) and man-made political violence (suicide bombings, assassinations, mass murder of health communities [polio team]), ethnic-conflicts (blasts at mosques/churches/synagogues, martyrdom/assassination of politico-religious figures, shootings on school buses, explosions at academics).
On the other hand, on individual level crimes (homicide, acid disfigurement, rape, harassment, persistent threats for illegal monetary share, kidnappings and interpersonal vengeance), a provisional crisis like deficits of electricity, clean water resources, inflation and opportunistic crisis in form of economic frustration.
Social Manifestations of Trauma
Amid of such chaos, there are explicit findings of different suicidal patterns; that have surfaced out including the killing of children by parents and subsequent suicide of themselves. Beside increment in suicidal ratio, it can be noted that threshold of the general population regarding tolerance has decreased significantly; pertaining to the prevalent status which is characterized by a lack of education and submerging heritage of ethics, one can easily feel the intellectual activity, and decision-making abilities are affected too.
Use of substance like Heroin, Cannabis, Alcohol, Ecstasy, and Cocaine also increased which is prominently consumed as a part of personal coping to stressors. Pleasure seeking behaviours have increased (reflected by contents of billboards and media presentations) which are mostly focused on fulfillment of physical desires including eating habits, indulging in different sexual practices, perversions and other self-harming attitudes like addictions of various drugs.
Intellectual Decay and Religious Fanaticism
When a strained person is asked to contemplate, then it’s a natural reflex to seek easy way out for things to avoid effort. Playing shortcuts and tricks become a central theme when any society quits thinking. One should never forget that the logic and rationality are imperative attitudes of life and a demand of one’s mind to recognize existential purpose. Morality is also observed to be at stake in parallel to this intellectual decay (2).
A moral-based approach reduces in various aspects of social life in such a trauma-ridden society where one can easily find a general demoralizing trend in a community secondary to regressive grounds of personal values of individuals. To fill this void, religious fanaticism takes place. This reaction further restricts the capacity of freethinking of common men.
No Society prospers or progresses by the mere presence of physical health. Mental health is as significant for keeping individual’s sanity and motivation alive as it is ought to be. But, basically the deprivation of health community services and the lack of integrated network services to treat bio-psychological and emotional effects of trauma are raising a question in our minds as what we are going to deliver to our next generation?
Cite this article as-
Hena Jawaid (2017). The Effects of Trauma on Mental Health. The Beautiful Space-A Journal of Mind, Art and Poetry. October 2017: TBSB124
Please check author names highlighted with each article.
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