Emotional and Psychological Trauma - HelpGuide.org (2023)

When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. But with these self-help strategies and support, you can speed up your recovery.

Emotional and Psychological Trauma - HelpGuide.org (1)

What is emotional and psychological trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people.

Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by:

  • One-time events, such as an accident, injury, or a violent attack, especially if it was unexpected or happened in childhood.
  • Ongoing, relentless stress, such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood, battling a life-threatening illness or experiencing traumatic events that occur repeatedly, such as bullying, domestic violence, or childhood neglect.
  • Commonly overlooked causes, such as surgery (especially in the first 3 years of life), the sudden death of someone close, the breakup of a significant relationship, or a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience, especially if someone was deliberately cruel.

Coping with the trauma of a natural or manmade disaster can present unique challenges—even if you weren't directly involved in the event. In fact, while it's highly unlikely any of us will ever be the direct victims of a terrorist attack, plane crash, or mass shooting, for example, we're all regularly bombarded by horrific images on social media and news sources of those people who have been. Viewing these images over and over can overwhelm your nervous system and create traumatic stress. Whatever the cause of your trauma, and whether it happened years ago or yesterday, you can make healing changes and move on with your life.

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Childhood trauma and the risk of future trauma

While traumatic events can happen to anyone, you're more likely to be traumatized by an event if you're already under a heavy stress load, have recently suffered a series of losses, or have been traumatized before—especially if the earlier trauma occurred in childhood. Childhood trauma can result from anything that disrupts a child's sense of safety, including:

  • An unstable or unsafe environment
  • Separation from a parent
  • Serious illness
  • Intrusive medical procedures
  • Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Neglect

Experiencing trauma in childhood can result in a severe and long-lasting effect. When childhood trauma is not resolved, a sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma. However, even if your trauma happened many years ago, there are steps you can take to overcome the pain, learn to trust and connect to others again, and regain your sense of emotional balance.

Symptoms of psychological trauma

We all react to trauma in different ways, experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond, so don't judge your own reactions or those of other people. Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.

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

Healing from trauma

Trauma symptoms typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the unsettling event. But even when you're feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or something that reminds you of the trauma.

If your psychological trauma symptoms don't ease up—or if they become even worse—and you find that you're unable to move on from the event for a prolonged period of time, you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While emotional trauma is a normal response to a disturbing event, it becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets “stuck” and you remain in psychological shock, unable to make sense of what happened or process your emotions.

Whether or not a traumatic event involves death, you as a survivor must cope with the loss, at least temporarily, of your sense of safety. The natural reaction to this loss is grief. Like people who have lost a loved one, you need to go through a grieving process. The following tips can help you cope with the sense of grief, heal from the trauma, and move on with your life.

Trauma recovery tip 1: Get moving

Trauma disrupts your body's natural equilibrium, freezing you in a state of hyperarousal and fear. As well as burning off adrenaline and releasing endorphins, exercise and movement can actually help repair your nervous system.

Try to exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days. Or if it's easier, three 10-minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good.

(Video) 6 Signs Someone May Have Emotional Trauma

Exercise that is rhythmic and engages both your arms and legs—such as walking, running, swimming, basketball, or even dancing—works best.

Add a mindfulness element. Instead of focusing on your thoughts or distracting yourself while you exercise, really focus on your body and how it feels as you move. Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin. Rock climbing, boxing, weight training, or martial arts can make this easier—after all, you need to focus on your body movements during these activities in order to avoid injury.

Tip 2: Don't isolate

Following a trauma, you may want to withdraw from others, but isolation only makes things worse. Connecting to others face to face will help you heal, so make an effort to maintain your relationships and avoid spending too much time alone.

You don't have to talk about the trauma. Connecting with others doesn't have to involve talking about the trauma. In fact, for some people, that can just make things worse. Comfort comes from feeling engaged and accepted by others.

Ask for support. While you don't have to talk about the trauma itself, it is important that you have someone to share your feelings with face to face, someone who will listen attentively without judging you. Turn to a trusted family member, friend, counselor, or clergyman.

Participate in social activities, even if you don't feel like it. Do “normal” activities with other people, activities that have nothing to do with the traumatic experience.

Reconnect with old friends. If you've retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect.

Join a support group for trauma survivors. Connecting with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation, and hearing how others cope can help inspire you in your own recovery.

Volunteer. As well as helping others, volunteering can be a great way to challenge the sense of helplessness that often accompanies trauma. Remind yourself of your strengths and reclaim your sense of power by helping others.

Make new friends. If you live alone or far from family and friends, it's important to reach out and make new friends. Take a class or join a club to meet people with similar interests, connect to an alumni association, or reach out to neighbors or work colleagues.

If connecting to others is difficult…

Many people who have experienced trauma feel disconnected, withdrawn and find it difficult to connect with other people. If that describes you, there are some actions you can take before you next meet with a friend:

Exercise or move. Jump up and down, swing your arms and legs, or just flail around. Your head will feel clearer and you'll find it easier to connect.

Vocal toning. As strange as it sounds, vocal toning is a great way to open up to social engagement. Sit up straight and simply make “mmmm” sounds. Change the pitch and volume until you experience a pleasant vibration in your face.

Tip 3: Self-regulate your nervous system

No matter how agitated, anxious, or out of control you feel, it's important to know that you can change your arousal system and calm yourself. Not only will it help relieve the anxiety associated with trauma, but it will also engender a greater sense of control.

Mindful breathing. If you are feeling disoriented, confused, or upset, practicing mindful breathing is a quick way to calm yourself. Simply take 60 breaths, focusing your attention on each ‘out' breath.

Sensory input. Does a specific sight, smell or taste quickly make you feel calm? Or maybe petting an animal or listening to music works to quickly soothe you? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment with different quick stress relief techniques to find what works best for you.

Staying grounded. To feel in the present and more grounded, sit on a chair. Feel your feet on the ground and your back against the chair. Look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue in them. Notice how your breathing gets deeper and calmer.

Allow yourself to feel what you feel when you feel it. Acknowledge your feelings about the trauma as they arise and accept them. HelpGuide's Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can help.

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Tip 4: Take care of your health

It's true: having a healthy body can increase your ability to cope with the stress of trauma.

Get plenty of sleep. After a traumatic experience, worry or fear may disturb your sleep patterns. But a lack of quality sleep can exacerbate your trauma symptoms and make it harder to maintain your emotional balance. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

Avoid alcohol and drugs. Their use can worsen your trauma symptoms and increase feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.

Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. Avoid sugary and fried foods and eat plenty of omega-3 fats—such as salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds—to give your mood a boost.

Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy such as your favorite hobbies.

When to seek professional therapy for trauma

Recovering from trauma takes time, and everyone heals at their own pace. But if months have passed and your symptoms aren't letting up, you may need professional help from a trauma expert.

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

Working through trauma can be scary, painful, and potentially re-traumatizing, so this healing work is best undertaken with the help of an experienced trauma specialist. Finding the right therapist may take some time. It's very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating trauma. But the quality of the relationship with your therapist is equally important. Choose a trauma specialist you feel comfortable with. If you don't feel safe, respected, or understood, find another therapist.

Ask yourself:

  • Did you feel comfortable discussing your problems with the therapist?
  • Did you feel like the therapist understood what you were talking about?
  • Were your concerns taken seriously or were they minimized or dismissed?
  • Were you treated with compassion and respect?
  • Do you believe that you could grow to trust the therapist?

Treatment for trauma

In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, you'll need to resolve the unpleasant feelings and memories you've long avoided, discharge pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy, learn to regulate strong emotions, and rebuild your ability to trust other people. A trauma specialist may use a variety of different therapy approaches in your treatment.

Somatic experiencing focuses on bodily sensations, rather than thoughts and memories about the traumatic event. By concentrating on what's happening in your body, you can release pent-up trauma-related energy through shaking, crying, and other forms of physical release.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you process and evaluate your thoughts and feelings about a trauma.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) incorporates elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation that can “unfreeze” traumatic memories.

Helping a loved one deal with trauma

When a loved one has suffered trauma, your support can play a crucial role in their recovery.

Be patient and understanding. Healing from trauma takes time. Be patient with the pace of recovery and remember that everyone's response to trauma is different. Don't judge your loved one's reaction against your own response or anyone else's.

Offer practical support to help your loved one get back into a normal routine. That may mean helping with collecting groceries or doing housework, for example, or simply being available to talk or listen.

Don't pressure your loved one into talking but be available if they want to talk. Some trauma survivors find it difficult to talk about what happened. Don't force your loved one to open up but let them know you are there to listen if they want to talk, or available to just hang out if they don't.

Help your loved one to socialize and relax. Encourage them to participate in physical exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies and other activities that bring them pleasure. Take a fitness class together or set a regular lunch date with friends.

Don't take the trauma symptoms personally. Your loved one may become angry, irritable, withdrawn, or emotionally distant. Remember that this is a result of the trauma and may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.

To help a child recover from trauma, it's important to communicate openly. Let them know that it's normal to feel scared or upset. Your child may also look to you for cues on how they should respond to trauma, so let them see you dealing with your symptoms in a positive way.

How children react to emotional and psychological trauma

Some common reactions to trauma and ways to help your child deal with them:

  • Regression. Many children need to return to an earlier stage where they felt safer. Younger children may wet the bed or want a bottle; older children may fear being alone. It's important to be understanding, patient and comforting if your child responds this way.
  • Thinking the event is their fault. Children younger than 8 tend to think that if something goes wrong, it must be their fault. Be sure your child understands that he or she did not cause the event.
  • Sleep disorders. Some children have difficulty falling asleep; others wake frequently or have troubling dreams. Give your child a stuffed animal, soft blanket, or flashlight to take to bed. Try spending extra time together in the evening, doing quiet activities or reading. Be patient. It may take a while before your child can sleep through the night again.
  • Feeling helpless. Being active in a campaign to prevent an event from happening again, writing thank you letters to people who have helped, and caring for others can bring a sense of hope and control to everyone in the family.

Source: Sidran Institute

(Video) 5 Signs You’re Dealing With Psychological Trauma

Authors: Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

    Get more help

    What is Psychological Trauma?– Includes the causes, symptoms, treatments, and effects. (Sidran Institute)

    What is Child Trauma?— Different types of childhood trauma and the treatments available. (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)

    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy – Covers the eight phases of EMDR therapy involved in the treatment of trauma. (American Psychological Association)

    (Video) What is Trauma

    Around the web

    Last updated: October 21, 2022

    FAQs

    What are the symptoms of psychological trauma? ›

    Changes in physical and emotional reactions
    • Being easily startled or frightened.
    • Always being on guard for danger.
    • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast.
    • Trouble sleeping.
    • Trouble concentrating.
    • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior.
    • Overwhelming guilt or shame.

    How do you heal emotional trauma? ›

    Ways to Heal from Emotional Trauma
    1. Movement and Exercise. As trauma disrupts your body's natural equilibrium, exercise and movement can help repair your nervous system. ...
    2. Connect with Others. ...
    3. Ask for Support. ...
    4. Volunteer.

    How do I stop replaying a traumatic event? ›

    Below are some of the best ways to heal from painful memories:
    1. Recognize what's happening. The more you ruminate, the easier it is to get stuck in a cycle of negative thinking. ...
    2. Identify solutions. Thinking about your problems isn't helpful. ...
    3. Practice mindfulness. ...
    4. Give yourself time to think. ...
    5. Distract yourself.
    8 Dec 2021

    What is psychological trauma? ›

    Psychological, or emotional trauma, is damage or injury to the psyche after living through an extremely frightening or distressing event and may result in challenges in functioning or coping normally after the event.

    How does the brain heal after emotional trauma? ›

    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy uses a conversation-based approach with a therapist to explore patterns of challenging behavior or traumatic memories. Unpacking these behaviors with a therapist can help individuals find new, healthier ways of coping with stress.

    How long does it take to heal from emotional trauma? ›

    People affected by trauma tend to feel unsafe in their bodies and in their relationships with others. Regaining a sense of safety may take days to weeks with acutely traumatized individuals or months to years with individuals who have experienced ongoing/chronic abuse.

    How do I know if I am healing from trauma? ›

    6 Signs You May Notice As You're Healing From Trauma
    1. You Begin Feeling Your Emotions (Rather Than Minimizing Them) ...
    2. Practicing Living Mindfully (Rather Than Mindlessly) ...
    3. Your Body Releases Tension & Trauma. ...
    4. You Reach Out More For Support & Ask For Help (Rather Than Isolating)
    25 Aug 2021

    What happens when trauma is triggered? ›

    Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited.

    What is trauma blocking? ›

    Trauma blocking is an effort to block out and overwhelm residual painful feelings due to trauma. You may ask “What does trauma blocking behavior look like? · Trauma blocking is excessive use of social media and compulsive mindless scrolling.

    Why do clients smile when talking about trauma? ›

    Smiling when discussing trauma is a way to minimize the traumatic experience. It communicates the notion that what happened “wasn't so bad.” This is a common strategy that trauma survivors use in an attempt to maintain a connection to caretakers who were their perpetrators.

    How do you let go of painful memories? ›

    How to Let Go of Things from the Past
    1. Create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts. ...
    2. Create physical distance. ...
    3. Do your own work. ...
    4. Practice mindfulness. ...
    5. Be gentle with yourself. ...
    6. Allow the negative emotions to flow. ...
    7. Accept that the other person may not apologize. ...
    8. Engage in self-care.
    31 Aug 2018

    What are the 5 signs of emotional suffering? ›

    Common warning signs of emotional distress include:
    • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
    • Pulling away from people and things.
    • Having low or no energy.
    • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches.
    • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
    16 May 2022

    What is the difference between emotional trauma and psychological trauma? ›

    While emotional trauma is a normal response to a disturbing event, it becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets “stuck” and you remain in psychological shock, unable to make sense of what happened or process your emotions.

    What is the difference between trauma and psychological trauma? ›

    Thus, a traumatic event or situation creates psychological trauma when it overwhelms the individual's ability to cope, and leaves that person fearing death, annihilation, mutilation, or psychosis. The individual may feel emotionally, cognitively, and physically overwhelmed.

    What does the Bible say about emotional healing? ›

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” “It wasn't any herb or ointment that healed them but your word alone, Lord, which heals everything.” “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

    How do you release negative emotions from your body? ›

    8 Healthy Ways To Release Negative Emotion
    1. Breathe Deeply. "If you have negative energy that burns you up inside, take some deep breaths," says Michelle Katz, LPN, MSN. ...
    2. Write It Down. ...
    3. Distract Yourself. ...
    4. Workout. ...
    5. Utilize Imagery. ...
    6. Talk With Friends. ...
    7. Smile. ...
    8. Sleep.
    31 Mar 2016

    Where is trauma stored in the body? ›

    Ever since people's responses to overwhelming experiences have been systematically explored, researchers have noted that a trauma is stored in somatic memory and expressed as changes in the biological stress response.

    Where is trauma stored in the brain? ›

    When a person experiences a traumatic event, adrenaline rushes through the body and the memory is imprinted into the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system. The amygdala holds the emotional significance of the event, including the intensity and impulse of emotion.

    Can psychological trauma cause brain damage? ›

    According to recent studies, Emotional Trauma and PTSD do cause both brain and physical damage. Neuropathologists have seen overlapping effects of physical and emotional trauma upon the brain.

    Does crying release trauma? ›

    It won't rid you of PTSD and your fears, but let your tears flow and you'll maybe feel a little better afterwards. 'Crying for long periods of time releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, otherwise known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals can help ease both physical and emotional pain.

    Can you fully recover from trauma? ›

    Treating the Degrees of Trauma

    It can be emotional, mental, physical or sexual. It can occur once, or repeatedly. However, it is possible to fully recover from any traumatic experience or event; it may take a long time, but in the end, living free from the symptoms of trauma is worth every step of the journey.

    What does processing trauma feel like? ›

    You may experience common symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fear, difficulty sleeping, self-blame or a sense of helplessness. Various stimuli such as a physical object, a song, a place, a feeling or an interpersonal situation might remind you of the trauma, and therefore provoke an emotional response or belief.

    What does emotional healing look like? ›

    Emotional healing is the process of acknowledging, allowing, accepting, integrating, and processing painful life experiences and strong emotions. It may involve empathy, self-regulation, self-compassion, self-acceptance, mindfulness, and integration.

    What is unhealed trauma? ›

    Unhealed trauma can hit you in ways you don't expect. Struggle with persistent depression or anxiety that you can't seem to get rid of no matter what you do? This feeling of hopelessness often fuels addictive behavior. Have unhealthy relationship patterns where you stay in toxic and even abusive relationships?

    What types of behaviors come from trauma? ›

    Traumatic reactions can include a variety of responses, such as intense and ongoing emotional upset, depressive symptoms or anxiety, behavioral changes, difficulties with self-regulation, problems relating to others or forming attachments, regression or loss of previously acquired skills, attention and academic ...

    Can trauma change your personality? ›

    In conclusion, posttraumatic stress disorder after the intense stress is a risk of development enduring personality changes with serious individual and social consequences.

    What disorders can trauma cause? ›

    Trauma and stressor-related disorders include:
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ...
    • Acute stress disorder (ASD). ...
    • Adjustment disorders. ...
    • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD). ...
    • Disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED). ...
    • Unclassified and unspecified trauma disorders.

    What is hidden trauma? ›

    It can be caused by extreme, one-time events as well as an exposure to long-term experiences in our relationships like: · Emotional neglect. · Mental abuse. · Physical neglect. · Sexual abuse.

    What are symptoms of unresolved childhood trauma? ›

    Signs of childhood trauma
    • Reliving the event (flashbacks or nightmares)
    • Avoidance.
    • Anxiety.
    • Depression.
    • Anger.
    • Problems with trust.
    • Self-destructive or risky behaviors.
    • Withdrawal.

    What happens if trauma is not resolved? ›

    Unresolved trauma puts people at increased risk for mental health diagnoses, which run the gamut of anxiety, depression and PTSD. There are physical manifestations as well, such as cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, stroke or heart attacks.

    Why is trauma therapy so hard? ›

    Traumatic events are personal and some people develop PTSD from situations that, to the eyes of society and others, are “nothing”. Yet, the wounding is real. For this reason, trauma and PTSD is difficult to treat. We have extensive knowledge of what causes trauma, but it is, ultimately, a very personal journey to take.

    Why does my therapist watch my hands? ›

    Hands. Your client's hands can give you clues about how they're reacting to what comes up in the session. Trembling fingers can indicate anxiety or fear. Fists that clench or clutch the edges of clothing or furniture can suggest anger.

    Does talking about trauma make it worse? ›

    Talking about personal trauma can force you to revisit painful memories. Forming coherent thoughts about traumatic experiences can trigger flashbacks, nightmares, and panic. Talking about it has got to be so much worse. You can heal from PTSD.

    How do you become strong when someone hurts you emotionally? ›

    They will help you develop some new techniques and keep you from reacting to new hurts in old ways.
    1. Recognize the offense for what it is. ...
    2. Resist the tendency to defend your position. ...
    3. Give up the need to be right. ...
    4. Recognize and apologize for anything you may have done to contribute to the situation. ...
    5. Respond, don't react.
    2 Feb 2016

    How do you forgive someone who hurts you emotionally? ›

    Here are eight ways to work on that.
    1. Get mad, feel hurt and grieve. ...
    2. Ask yourself whether your anger is constructive or destructive. ...
    3. Don't worry—you aren't saying the offense was OK. ...
    4. Practice stress-reduction techniques. ...
    5. Remind yourself why you want this person in your life. ...
    6. Set boundaries.
    12 Dec 2019

    How do you stop living in the past? ›

    8 Steps to Move Away From the Past You Need to Leave Behind
    1. Learn from the past but don't dwell there. Yes. ...
    2. Express yourself. ...
    3. Stop pointing fingers. ...
    4. Focus on the present. ...
    5. Disconnect for a while. ...
    6. Think about the people around you. ...
    7. Forgive those who wronged you -- including yourself. ...
    8. Make new memories.
    11 Mar 2016

    What are the 5 signs of emotional suffering? ›

    Common warning signs of emotional distress include:
    • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
    • Pulling away from people and things.
    • Having low or no energy.
    • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches.
    • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
    16 May 2022

    How does a person with trauma behave? ›

    Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited.

    What are the 5 stages of trauma? ›

    There are 5 stages to this process:
    • Denial - this can't be happening.
    • Anger - why did this have to happen?
    • Bargaining - I promise I'll never ask for another thing if only you will
    • Depression - a gloom that comes from having to adjust to so much so quickly.
    • Acceptance.

    What are examples of emotional trauma? ›

    Trauma is any experience that overwhelms your thoughts, emotions, or body.
    • 4) Experiencing spiritual or religious abuse. ...
    • 5) Being in an accident or natural disaster. ...
    • 6) Being physically attacked or assaulted. ...
    • 7) Witnessing domestic abuse or violence. ...
    • 8) Witnessing bodily harm or death.
    3 Sept 2019

    What does mentally broken mean? ›

    A nervous breakdown (also called a mental breakdown) is a term that describes a period of extreme mental or emotional stress. The stress is so great that the person is unable to perform normal day-to-day activities.

    What causes a person to shut down emotionally? ›

    These conditions might include depression, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder. Medication and therapy are often helpful for these conditions. If the emotional detachment symptoms result from trauma, your doctor may recommend psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy.

    What can stress do to a woman's body? ›

    Common symptoms of stress in women include: Physical. Headaches, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, pain (most commonly in the back and neck), overeating/under eating, skin problems, drug and alcohol misuse, lack of energy, upset stomach, less interest in sex/other things you used to enjoy. Emotional.

    How is trauma stored in the body? ›

    Ever since people's responses to overwhelming experiences have been systematically explored, researchers have noted that a trauma is stored in somatic memory and expressed as changes in the biological stress response.

    What can trigger trauma? ›

    Triggers can include sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event in some way. Some PTSD triggers are obvious, such as seeing a news report of an assault. Others are less clear. For example, if you were attacked on a sunny day, seeing a bright blue sky might make you upset.

    What happens when you don't deal with trauma? ›

    There are absolutely health impacts from unresolved trauma. Unresolved trauma puts people at increased risk for mental health diagnoses, which run the gamut of anxiety, depression and PTSD. There are physical manifestations as well, such as cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, stroke or heart attacks.

    How long does it take to heal from emotional trauma? ›

    People affected by trauma tend to feel unsafe in their bodies and in their relationships with others. Regaining a sense of safety may take days to weeks with acutely traumatized individuals or months to years with individuals who have experienced ongoing/chronic abuse.

    What kind of therapy is best for trauma? ›

    The gold standard for treating PTSD symptoms is psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy. EMDR and EFT have also shown promise in helping people recover from PTSD.

    Why does trauma hurt so much? ›

    Trauma causes the nervous system to become overreactive, meaning that it is stuck in a state of stress and persistent arousal. When we look at chronic pain, we can see that the same overactivity occurs. Chronic pain changes our brain and nervous system.

    What is the difference between emotional and psychological trauma? ›

    While emotional trauma is a normal response to a disturbing event, it becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets “stuck” and you remain in psychological shock, unable to make sense of what happened or process your emotions.

    What is the most traumatic experience? ›

    Death of a loved one. Divorce. Moving. Major illness or injury.

    What is the most common type of trauma? ›

    Physical injuries are among the most prevalent individual traumas.

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    Author: Nicola Considine CPA

    Last Updated: 02/21/2023

    Views: 5510

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    Author information

    Name: Nicola Considine CPA

    Birthday: 1993-02-26

    Address: 3809 Clinton Inlet, East Aleisha, UT 46318-2392

    Phone: +2681424145499

    Job: Government Technician

    Hobby: Calligraphy, Lego building, Worldbuilding, Shooting, Bird watching, Shopping, Cooking

    Introduction: My name is Nicola Considine CPA, I am a determined, witty, powerful, brainy, open, smiling, proud person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.