Emotional and physical trauma can happen to anyone and can occur as a one-time event in which you were exposed to a situation that caused terror and the threat of death or bodily harm such as a bad car accident, or exposure to combat or terrorist attack. Trauma can also occur as a result of repeated exposure to emotional and/or physical abuse within romantic or parent/child relationships.
Many of us experience symptoms of trauma without knowing what it is. Changes in mood and heightened reactions to minor stresses can indicate there is something wrong and we need help. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of trauma, you may experience few or many of these symptoms.
Cognitive and Emotional Symptoms
- Flashbacks — intrusive thoughts, memories, and/or visual images of the event that occur out of the blue and cause significant distress
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of memory
- Confusion and disorientation
- Mood Swings, Irritability, Anger, Depression
- Feeling damaged
- Overwhelming fear
- Guilt and Shame
- Anxiety and Panic attacks
- Avoidance of activities that remind you of the event or anything associated with the event
- A need to isolate and withdraw from others
- Lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Using substances and/or alcohol to ease stress
- Intense tiredness and fatigue
- Easily Startled
- Feeling edgy
- Changes in eating patterns, too much or not enough
- Vague aches and pains
Combination trauma-focused therapy
All treatment approaches are customized to the needs of the client. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) combined with neurofeedback has been shown to be very effective for reducing symptoms of trauma as well as regaining control over mood and emotions.
Research demonstrates neurofeedback is effective for reducing symptoms even for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who have not responded to other forms of treatment. It is thought that neurofeedback is successful in treating trauma due to the negative effects trauma can have on the functioning of the brain. Randomized, well-designed studies have shown us that neurofeedback helps trauma victims learn to regulate emotions and reduce symptoms.
CBT is also an approved and effective technique for trauma. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is especially effective for youth who are overcoming stress and mood disorders that have occurred as a result of abuse, violence or grief. CBT works quickly and will help you to begin to feel relief almost immediately. In CBT sessions you will also acquire tools you can use outside of therapy after your first session
I’m here to help
If you are struggling with the consequences of trauma and are tired of trying to heal on your own, understand that the effects of trauma are treatable and you can grow as a result of your past and build on your strengths. Without treatment and support, the effects of trauma can last for years after the event however, it’s never too late to get help. We are always capable of healing and feeling better.
Vielka Almanzar Bautista HBA, MEd, MA is a psychotherapist in Whitby, Ontario. She has over 10 years of practicing psychotherapy with children, youth and adults. If you would like to learn more you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out the contact form and click Send.