Symptoms & Signs of Emotional Trauma
Traumatic events are, by nature, emotionally overwhelming. Half of all people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. Traumatic events can include being exposed to death, serious injury or sexual violence. A trauma may be a one-time event or experienced over a long period of time, like child abuse.
When an individual experiences a traumatic event, they may have trouble coping with life as usual for several weeks of months. This short-term distress is quite common.
However, some individuals will develop long-lasting (chronic) symptoms of distress following a trauma: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another trauma-related condition. Approximately 7 to 8 percent of people will experience PTSD after a traumatic event.
Signs and symptoms of PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms can seriously disrupt one’s work, home life and relationships.
The primary symptoms of PTSD include the following:
- Reliving or re-experiencing the traumatic event
- Avoiding situations that are reminiscent of the traumatic event
- Feeling negative about one’s self
- Feeling highly aroused or keyed up
The symptoms of PTSD may begin a short time after the trauma occurs or take years to develop. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms may also come and go over time.
People with severe mental illnesses like PTSD face an increased risk of having chronic medical issues. Those with severe mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than others — often due to health complications that are treatable.
Other symptoms associated with PTSD include:
Feeling anxious or unsettled
Having nightmares or flashbacks
Feeling shame or guilt
Losing interest in hobbies or activities one used to enjoy
Feeling irritable or angry
Struggling in relationships
Having trouble sleeping
Feeling easily startled
Children and adolescents may be more likely to:
Display “oppositional” behavior
Abuse drugs or alcohol
Act out sexually
Overly focus on video games or online activities
Dissociate, feel numb or unreal
It’s never too late to get help following a trauma
A trauma-related disorder can affect anyone. It is not a weakness or something to be ashamed of.
At Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers, we provide comprehensive medical, psychiatric, and psychotherapeutic treatment for trauma-related disorders and PTSD — helping patients achieve a full and lasting recovery.
If you, or someone you care about, are struggling to recover following a trauma, please call us at (877) 711-1878. We offer free, confidential consultations with Master’s-level clinicians.