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How Can I Tell if I'm Traumatized?

Many people struggle to see the impact of trauma on their lives. It’s important to recognize that trauma occurs on a spectrum from little-T traumas (e.g., bullying, divorce, loss of a pet) to big-T traumas (e.g., sexual assault, combat, school shootings). If you’ve experienced a stressful or dangerous event, you may be traumatized. In this blog, we’ll discuss the symptoms of trauma, unrecognized trauma, and the treatments available.

Symptoms That Indicate You’re Traumatized

When you’ve gone through trauma, you might experience mental and physical symptoms. The symptoms of trauma are numerous. These symptoms can feel overwhelming to cope with on your own. It’s important to identify them, however. This will allow you to recognize yourself as traumatized. It will also provide a starting point for treatment.

The mental symptoms include the following:

  • Anhedonia
  • Anxiety
  • Avoiding trauma reminders
  • Denial
  • Despair and hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dissociation
  • Easily startled
  • Flashbacks
  • Guilt and shame
  • Hallucinations
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Irritability and anger
  • Nightmares
  • Numbness
  • Self-blame
  • Social withdrawal
  • Suicidal thoughts

Physical symptoms of trauma can manifest like this:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse

You may experience a variety of these symptoms; however, it isn’t necessary to have them all. Trauma presents differently depending on your psyche, genetic predispositions, and coping mechanisms.

Unidentified Trauma

While trauma stems from one or more inciting incidents, it’s important to realize that you won’t always recognize your traumas. This doesn’t make you any less traumatized. Your symptoms still show through, even if you can’t find the root of the problem. It’s crucial to start treating your symptoms even if you haven’t identified your trauma.

Through individual psychotherapy, you can dissect life events to find incidents of trauma. A trauma-specialized therapist will assist you in exploring the emotions connected to your experiences. While trauma is hard to cope with, identifying the problem will help you heal.

Healing From Your Past

After experiencing toxic stress, your mind and body may show signs. Many treatments exist to treat trauma. Common types of therapy include the following:

  • Exposure therapy: Exposing yourself to the source of your trauma until you no longer feel panic and anxiety
  • Cognitive processing therapy: Challenging and altering beliefs related to your trauma
  • Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Changing thoughts and behaviors related to or caused by trauma
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): Stimulating the brain bilaterally to help reprocess trauma so that it causes less mental and emotional impact
  • Holistic therapies: Working through emotions while participating in creative, outdoor, or body-centric activities

Additionally, medications like antipsychotics can help stabilize PTSD-related psychosis. Antidepressants can help manage depression and anxiety symptoms caused by trauma. Also, prazosin (Minipress) can decrease the occurrence of trauma nightmares, allowing for better sleep.

Trauma can severely impact your body and brain. When you’ve experienced something traumatic, you might feel yourself becoming more on edge, fearful, or withdrawn. These reactions are completely normal and vary from person to person. After you’ve identified your symptoms of trauma, you can receive therapies to help you cope. At The Guest House, we provide trauma-informed care to people with mental health disorders and addiction. We understand clients need different approaches to treatment, and we offer many therapeutic modalities to meet those needs. With the help of our clinicians, you can overcome your trauma. Call (855) 483-7800.