When we live through a traumatic experience, the effects of that trauma sometimes linger long after the experience itself is over. Even people who don’t meet the clinical qualifications for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can still feel the lingering negative effects of a traumatic incident.
Being able to identify trauma symptoms is an important first step in coping with and healing from trauma. Trauma manifests differently for everyone, and it can show up in the form of emotional, mental, or physical symptoms. Below are some common signs to look out for:
- frequently having flashbacks to the traumatic incident or experiencing intrusive memories, even after the experience is over
- exhaustion or fatigue
- anxiety and/or depression
- feelings of numbness or dissociation (where you feel disconnected from your own body or experiences)
- changes in appetite
- difficulty sleeping, or having persistent nightmares
- strong feelings like anger, fear, sadness, guilt, irritability, or shame
- sudden mood swings
- using alcohol and/or drugs more than usual (usually as a way to cope with emotional overwhelm)
- unexplained pain, gastrointestinal upset, or other somatic symptoms
- social isolation and/or loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling constantly tense and on edge
How To Heal From Trauma
In many cases, the effects of trauma will fade with time. Until that happens, it’s important that you show yourself compassion and kindness, utilize healthy coping strategies, and take care of your physical health as much as possible. Resources like support groups and therapy can provide a safe space for you to process what you’re going through.
If trauma continues to have a negative effect on your life even after some time has passed, you may be experiencing symptoms of PTSD. If you suspect that is the case, consider seeing a doctor or mental health professional who can work with you to confirm a diagnosis, discuss treatment options, and connect you with resources.
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