Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma occurs when a person's neurological system is overwhelmed by the stress of a deeply distressing or disturbing event.

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling extremely overwhelmed and helpless can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm.

 

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Symptoms of Emotional Trauma

In the first few hours following a traumatic incident,  people feel shock and disbelief at what has happened to them. In the days and weeks following an event, many people will continue to feel confused, distressed and fearful.

 

It is important to know that feeling this way immediately following trauma is a normal response. 

Emotional & psychological symptoms:

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief

  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating

  • Anger, irritability, mood swings

  • Anxiety and fear

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

  • Withdrawing from others

  • Feeling sad or hopeless

  • Feeling disconnected or numb
     

Physical symptoms:

  • Insomnia or nightmares

  • Fatigue

  • Being startled easily

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Racing heartbeat

  • Edginess and agitation

  • Aches and pains

  • Muscle tension
     

Post Traumatic Stress

While most who are involved in a traumatic event will experience some of the symptoms listed, many people find the symptoms settle - to a level where they are able to get on with their lives - within the first three months.
 

However, if months have passed and  your symptoms are still causing difficulties and are interfering with your life, you may be be experiencing  post-traumatic stress.


Seek help for trauma if you’re:

  • Having trouble functioning at home or work

  • Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression

  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships

  • Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks

  • Avoiding more and more anything that reminds you of the trauma

  • Emotionally numb and disconnected from others

  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better