What is Trauma? Part 2

Yesterday Christy did a great job explaining all the different types of trauma and the risk factors and make someone more likely to experience it. Today we're going to discuss how trauma affects a person emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Emotional and Mental Effects of Trauma

There is no right or wrong way to react to a traumatic event. Each of us will react differently to traumatic experiences. Please don't judge yourself or another person on how they're reacting to the trauma. Here are some ways we might react emotionally/mentally:

  • Feeling irritable, angry or having changes in mood
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feelings of disbelief or denial
  • Feelings of anxiety and fear
  • Feeling unable to connect to others or feeling numb
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Blaming yourself, feeling guilt or shame

Physical Effects of Trauma:

  • Tense or sore muscles
  • Unexplained aches or pains
  • Being easily scared or frightened; easily startled
  • Nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Problems concentrating
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Easily agitated

These above symptoms can last anywhere from days, weeks, months or years. You will notice these symptoms will go away as distance from the trauma grows. However, when there are anniversaries of the trauma (death of a loved one, break-up, car accident, diagnosis, etc,) you may re-experience some symptoms, but for a short period of time.  You may also re-experience trauma symptoms if you're triggered by the trauma in any way - sights, smells, sounds, etc.

Again, there's no right or wrong way to experience these symptoms, nor any right or wrong amount of time to feel them either. Give yourself some grace and patience as you feel these symptoms and please reach out and ask for support from loved ones, friends, a trusted counselor or pastor.

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.