Trauma symptoms vary from person to person. They can manifest immediately after an incident or take a number of years to manifest. Trauma symptoms are emotional, psychological and somatic. Trauma symptoms are normal reactions to abnormal events.
Trauma symptoms manifest as a result of our attempts to adapt to cope in any way we know how with overwhelming emotions. Trauma symptoms serve a purpose. They are not random and are usually attempts by a person to protect themselves.
Trauma symptoms occur in almost everybody following a traumatic incident. In most cases these symptoms get better naturally over the space of a few weeks. If an event is particularly traumatic, involved loved ones or is repeated over a period of time they can stay with us for longer. If they last for longer than a few weeks you might be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
There is overlap between psychological, emotional and somatic trauma symptoms.
Psychological Trauma Symptoms
Psychological symptoms can include intrusive thoughts, memories or reminders of the trauma. You might feel confused, have difficulty concentrating or feel detached from yourself in terms of feelings, your loved ones or the world around you. You might also disassociate regularly. You might blame yourself for the experience which can manifest as self reproaching type thoughts or blame someone else for what happened. You may have a negative world belief for example the world is completely dangerous,. You might experience denial of what happened and try to forget about it or ruminate about the circumstance of the trauma.
Emotional Trauma Symptoms
If you have experienced a recent trauma you might lose control of your emotions quickly. This is your nervous system trying to keep you safe and you are in a hyperaroused state. Examples might include angry outbursts, irritability and mood swings. You might experience fear, shock, horror, anger, helplessness guilt or shame or immense sadness. You might also feel emotionally numb and feel a sense of disconnection or emptiness. You might struggle to feel happy or have loving feelings for people close to you.
Somatic Trauma Symptoms
Somatic trauma symptoms refer to what you might experience in your body post trauma. You might experience emotional numbness, lethargy and fatigue, feel jumpy, increased heart rate, muscle tension, stress, dizziness or sickness or feeling on edge.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
If you are still struggling with trauma symptoms after a few weeks you might be experiencing PTSD symptoms. They are similar to trauma symptoms but may signify you are having a problem integrating a trauma. For some people it is a sticking point usually in relation to the following categories. These might include issues around safety and vulnerability, control or choices, responsibility, taking or not taking action or self defectiveness. For a more in depth look at PTSD symptoms please see more.
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