Everyone goes through stressful experiences and even everyday mishaps can become a dramatic problem depending on a person’s reaction to it. There are some things that we choose to react dramatically to even if they aren’t really dangerous or life threatening situations such as getting a bad grade, being offended by someone or other daily dramas. Trauma is a more serious issue that can affect someone’s mental health and well-being long after the event has occurred.
When someone experiences trauma it often involves violence, death, abuse or physical threats. Trauma is when a terrifying event occurs that you have no control over and it causes psychological changes that are long-lasting. People who go through a traumatic experience go through a lot of mental and physical stress that can make it hard for them to recover without professional help.
Drama on the other hand consists of our personal reaction to things and the way that we interpret events that aren’t objectively painful. Drama is never an actual threat even though it can feel like you are going through something very intense. It is something we create that we can mentally and physically handle in different ways.
Trauma and Survival
One of the major differences between trauma and drama is that someone in the midst of a traumatic experience must enter a kind of survival mode. They are dealing with a very real threat such as a soldier fighting for his life or someone being physically abused. During a traumatic attack that threatens a person’s health or life they become intensely aware and calm as an innate survival response.
When someone experiences trauma their primal brain activates and they experience a fight or flight response designed by the body to protect us. It can help them cope with the situation at hand but the same response can be triggered again in other situations leading to symptoms of PTSD. People may experience flashbacks or feel afraid in situations that suddenly trigger memories of their trauma.
Interestingly, when someone experiences drama rather than trauma, they may still have a threat response as though they are dealing with an actual danger. Their brain may trigger a fight or flight response causing them to feel afraid, anxious and threatened. It is important to think about a situation and determine whether it is drama, meaning a negative response they have created or an actual violent danger.
Addressing Drama vs. Trauma
When you go through a drama, you are seeing a situation in a negative light and interpreting a relatively neutral event as a terrible experience. Even though your brain may react to drama in a similar way to a real threat, you can actually change your perspective to a more positive one. When it comes to a drama you can learn to cope with your feelings and see the situation as something you can handle.
Trauma is different because often the mind and body become stuck in that traumatic experience. People can hold feelings of trauma in their body and they may have many uncontrollable symptoms such as insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks and other issues. People with PTSD often need medication and professional therapy to cope with their trauma and figure out how to manage their illness.
In either case, a therapist can help redirect the person’s beliefs and thoughts about their own well being. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people get out of a negative cycle that is causing them to have difficulty coping with their daily life. Even though drama may not always represent a mental health issue, it can also be dealt with through talk therapy.
The combination of therapy and other alternative methods of dealing with feelings of stress and anxiety can help improve a person’s psychological state. Using techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and other relaxation methods can help improve the tendency to respond negatively to certain situation. Someone who experiences a lot of drama may find that meditation makes them more aware, observant and less likely to react strongly to things.
People with PTSD can also benefit a lot from meditation and other methods of relaxation. If they can learn to calm themselves down when they are triggered by something they can avoid letting their feelings escalate. Meditation and therapy can also help people with PTSD learn to be in triggering situations and get through them successfully.
Although trauma and drama are very different issues, they can both cause anxiety, depression, fear and other painful feelings. Learning to recognize drama as your own personal response to things can help reduce some of your reactions to situations. For people facing trauma, it is important to get treatment and talk to a professional to resolve and work through your feelings.
Talking about trauma and getting help can ease some of the pain and anxiety associated with PTSD.