Emotional and psychological trauma is the consequence of exceptionally stressful events that destroy your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world. Immediately after the traumatic event, you may be struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust others.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life, security or safety. Any event that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, fearful and alone can be traumatic. In fact, the event does not need to involve physical harm. It is not the impartial facts that determine whether an event is traumatic. Rather, a person’s subjective emotional experience of the event is relevant. The more scared and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
An event will most likely lead to emotional or psychological trauma if the following were present:
- It happened unexpectedly.
- You were unprepared for it.
- You felt powerless to prevent it.
- It happened repeatedly.
- Someone was intentionally cruel.
- It happened in childhood.
Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by an isolated incident, such as a horrendous accident, a natural disaster, or a violent assault. Trauma can also be the result of continuous, persistent distress, such as being abused by a partner, harassed at work, or witnessing a loved one die from a terminal illness.
Emotional and Psychological Symptoms of Trauma May Consist of the Following:
- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and fear
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling disconnected or numb
Physical Symptoms of Trauma May Consist of the Following:
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Being startled easily
- Racing heartbeat
- Aches and pains
- Difficulty concentrating
- Edginess and agitation
- Muscle tension
Symptoms and feelings may persist from a few hours to a few years, progressively diminishing as you process the trauma. It is not uncommon to be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions once you are feeling better— particularly in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or an image, sound, smell or situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.
It is Helpful to Seek Assistance for Emotional or Psychological Trauma if you are experiencing the Following: – See more at:
- Having trouble functioning at home or work
- Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression
- Unable to form close, satisfying relationships
- Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks
- Avoiding more and more things that remind you of the trauma
- Emotionally numb and disconnected from others
- Using alcohol or drugs to feel better
When horrible situations occur, it can take some time to adequately deal with the pain and feel safe again. Psychologists can help individuals find constructive ways of managing their emotions. With the proper treatment and support, you can speed your recovery. Regardless whether the traumatic incident occurred years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move forward with your life.
Facing and resolving the unbearable feelings and memories you have long avoided is imperative in healing the emotional and psychological trauma. Otherwise the symptoms will reoccur in an intrusive, distressing and unmanageable manner.