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What is trauma?

Trauma can be defined as the intense emotional response to a deeply distressing event or a series of enduring events. Traumatic events may include:

  • Abuse/violence
  • Being involved in an accident (e.g. a car accident)
  • Being involved in catastrophic events (natural events such as earthquakes or man-made events such as war/terrorism)
  • Physical injury (e.g. amputations, disability)
  • Terminal illness
  • Bereavement

At Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, our highly qualified and experienced psychiatrists and psychologists recognise that trauma is subjective; not everyone will react to the same event in the same way, and trauma affects people in different ways. As such, our bespoke trauma treatment programme not only treats individual psychological issues arising as a result of trauma, but also helps a patient to address and process the original source of their unique trauma.

What are the signs and symptoms of trauma?

Some people experience the symptoms of trauma immediately following the traumatic event, whereas in others, symptoms can take weeks, months or even years to manifest. The most common term used to describe the long-lasting effects of trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can be defined as an enduring anxiety disorder. The most common signs and symptoms of PTSD include:

Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Hypervigilance (being on constant alert)
  • Hyperacusis (reduced tolerance to noise)
  • Being easily startled
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Tearfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks

Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Vivid nightmares and flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Intense physical responses to flashbacks e.g. increased heart rate, breathing difficulties, sweating
  • Experiencing distress when reminded of the traumatic event

Avoidance symptoms

  • Avoidance of activities that could trigger memories of the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of dealing with painful emotions such as grief
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of interest in hobbies that were once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling emotionally ‘numb’

What are the long-term effects of trauma?

Without expert psychiatric treatment, trauma and PTSD can lead to a range of long-term problems including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Relationship and work problems
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of harming yourself and impulses
  • Chronic pain

Specialist trauma treatment at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai

Our psychiatrists and psychologists are highly experienced in providing trauma treatment via bespoke treatment plans. At Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai, our specialists employ a well-established trauma treatment model which aims to stabilise an individual before addressing the original source of the trauma. It also includes equipping individuals with the skills to function effectively in their everyday lives, work and environment. The three core areas of Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai’s trauma programme are as follows:

  1. Stabilisation: at the outset of trauma treatment, our experts address resulting symptoms of the trauma (e.g. depression, anxiety, panic attacks) as an initial step. These ongoing issues may require their own treatment programmes in order to stabilise an individual, before the source of their trauma can be addressed.
  2. Processing traumatic memories: this involves processing the memories of the trauma to achieve lessening of the emotional intensity associated with them. This is usually done using three evidence-based therapies; eye movement desensitisation and re-processing (EMDR), trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
  3. Reconnecting with the world: this step aims to allow individuals to reconnect with their everyday lives, work and relationships.

“The effects of trauma on a person can be devastating. The most effective way of treating trauma is by processing emotions in a professional, safe environment that the Priory trauma service provides.” – Dr Walid Abdul-Hamid, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director

For further information call today on: (+971) 4 245 3800 or submit a confidential enquiry form. We will provide you with details on all of our treatments and offer guidance on how to manage your concerns at a time that suits you.


Dr Walid Abdul-Hamid, Consultant Psychiatrist

This page was clinically reviewed by Dr Walid Abdul-Hamid (MBChB, MRCPsych, PhD, Consultant Psychiatrist DHCC) in March 2019, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in March 2021. Dr Walid Abdul-Hamid is a distinguished consultant psychiatrist with over 30 years of experience in the field of psychiatry and mental health. He became a consultant psychiatrist in 2000 and has been the president-elect of the British Arab Psychiatric Association (BAPA) since 2014. View Dr Walid's full profile here.