Hazard Warning! Identifying Trauma Symptoms
Those who experience trauma sometimes have trauma symptoms they are unaware of.
Risk Factors for Trauma Symptoms
Some general risk factors that can increase someone’s likelihood of experiencing trauma symptoms are:
- Marginalization and/or institutional “isms” as that creates circumstances that are more challenging
- History of trauma within the family
- Living in an unsafe environment (emotional and/or physical)
- Difficult family relationships
- One or multiple disrupted attachments in childhood
- Stress level
- “ACES” (Adverse Childhood Experiences)
These are just some and there are certainly more to consider.
When you know that someone is having intellectual and emotional responses to threatening or disturbing events, and struggling with their ability to cope in their current life experience, you may want to consider that they are experiencing trauma symptoms.
Trauma can show up differently for different people; however, there are SOME things to notice or be mindful of in yourself or in others as trauma symptoms:
- Feeling irritated, angry, or on edge
- Being jumpy
- Being paranoid or hypervigilant
- Frequent fear of personal safety
- Feeling depressed, powerless, hopeless, or helpless
- Having nightmares or changes in sleep patterns
- Re-experiencing an event or feeling (almost like deja-vu)
- Dissociating or disconnection from reality or your body (feeling like you are watching yourself)
- Difficulty trusting
- Engaging in the same pattern of behaviors over and over again
- Intrusive thoughts and difficulty letting thoughts go
- Difficulty in relationships
- High levels of reactivity
- Avoidance of anything that reminds the individual about their trauma
- Being frozen
These are some of the more common trauma symptoms and can be seen to meet clinical diagnostic criteria by a trained (and preferably licensed) mental health professional.
HOWEVER, it is important to note that one of these does not necessarily mean that you have experienced trauma.
Having several trauma symptoms on this list indicates that you may have experienced some trauma. As you can imagine, there is an overlap in various mental health conditions.
So What the Heck Do I Do About These Trauma Symptoms?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have any of these risk factors, you may be feeling stressed.
Identifying symptoms is often the first step to identifying what we need. Way to go!
This sense of awareness allows us to recognize patterns and work towards healing.
The next thing I would recommend is find a trauma informed therapist and/or someone who specializes in trauma symptoms.
Trauma-informed care means a therapist who looks through a trauma perspective and can contextualize your experience and think systemically.
After getting your consent, trauma-informed providers are often able to recognize which factors can be impacting triggers in mental health.
Other than identifying symptoms, taking accountability for how your trauma(s) has impacted your life, or your relationships, can be another part of helping empowering yourself.
Engaging in trauma work with a therapist.
There are a variety of ways to do trauma work, but it can be very useful to do therapy specifically geared towards trauma such as Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Inner Aspects Model, mindfulness practice, and other models.
Trauma work is exactly that. It is WORK. So be ready to dive into doing some real emotional, cognitive, and somatic work. My colleague, Amanda, always says “trauma is in the body. Healing has to take place in the body.” Basically, you have to do somatic work for trauma work to be effective long term.
Outside of some therapy models, some somatic work to consider is yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, reiki, and osteopathic care.There are many more options to be considered!
If you are in a relationship and your trauma is showing up there. It is vital that trauma is addressed together. Trauma is relational, therefore it can be vital to your individual health as well as your relational health. Healing happens in the body and in our attachment to others.
Consider joining our staff at Life Coaching and Therapy, LLC (LCAT), we specialize in the body, trauma, and relationships!
You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel – The Sex Healer.
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