Are The Effects of Trauma Affecting Your Wellbeing?
- Are you struggling to recover from a trauma?
- Has unresolved trauma from childhood, perhaps through abuse or neglect, affected your mental and physical wellbeing as an adult?
- Do you have flashbacks, intrusive memories or nightmares? Take our PTSD test to find out if you are struggling with PTSD.
- Is it hard for you to connect with or trust others?
- Are you afraid you will never be able to move forward?
- Do you wish you could just relax, physically and emotionally?
A trauma can be caused by a specific event (like an accident or an assault), a recurring event (like combat exposure or repeated abuse) or a developmental trauma (like physical or emotional neglect in childhood). Trauma can also be caused by many other frightening situations, such as bullying, abuse, rape, crime, war, victimization and shaming/humiliation. When we are in the presence of dangers like these, our bodies get ready to respond, changing physiologically to prepare to deal with the situation. This is an adaptive response when there is a threat present, but sometimes the body is not able to turn it off after the danger has passed. Whether you have been exposed to a life or death situation, or have experienced something in childhood that your body interpreted as a dangerous situation, the effect is the same.
Effects of Trauma
The effects of trauma vary from person to person. Post-traumatic stress is one response to trauma. If you’re experiencing flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive memories of the trauma, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma symptoms run the gamut and cause issues from anxiety and depression to compulsive behaviors to overeating. And, if you experienced developmental trauma in childhood, you may not even be aware that some of your mental health issues are related to your early history. Developmental trauma can result from things like emotional neglect, physical or sexual abuse, shame, overly critical parents, being told you were not wanted, childhood medical issues, not being held enough in infancy and many other difficult early childhood experiences.
Early experiences can impact you whether or not you remember them, affecting your health and immune system and triggering anxiety. Developmental trauma is psychologically similar to the trauma experienced in PTSD. The trauma lives on, whether in the form of PTSD or other states of arousal, feelings of dread, doom, anxiety, avoidance, uncontrolled emotional reactions, or physical symptoms. If you struggle with developmental trauma, you may feel like you are constantly being rejected. Physiologically, you are likely to be in a state of high arousal and anxiety or very low arousal, as in depression. Your nervous system, endocrine system and memory may all be impacted.
All trauma can cause problems in relationships, and it may be difficult to know what you feel at times. You may have heightened sensitivity to stimuli—sound, temperature, light etc. Life may feel overwhelming, and you may suffer from migraines, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or other chronic medical conditions. You may feel anxious around other people, particularly in groups. Sometimes, you may feel that it is safer to disconnect from your body, your emotions, and from other people and feel numb. The good news is that trauma therapy can help you move past the trauma you have experienced, and find new ways to relate to yourself and others.
Trauma Treatment Can Help You Move Past Trauma Into A Balanced Future
In trauma and PTSD treatment, one of our experienced, compassionate trauma specialists can help you work with your body, emotions and identity. In therapy sessions, there is a focus on creating connections, both in the counseling relationship and within the rest of your life. You can learn the skills you need to safely connect with yourself and others. Many of our clients report feeling less alone and more connected to their minds and bodies during and after trauma counseling. Reconnecting with and healing the body can be a process, but it is possible to feel solid and grounded again or maybe even for the first time. You can connect with others. You can feel less ashamed. You can learn skills to get unstuck and regain a sense of calm and safety.
Your therapist can teach you skills to help regulate difficult emotions and physical symptoms as you begin coping with trauma and responding to the word in a calmer, healthier way. There are many trauma therapy approaches. Your therapist may use both cognitive and body-centered approaches meeting you where you are emotionally so you can get your body functioning normally. Using effective, proven trauma therapies, your body can become a safe place to inhabit. In counseling, you can also talk through the shame and self-judgment that you may be feeling and begin to replace those feelings with self-acceptance and joy.
Through trauma therapy, you can experience a reduction in anxiety, increased self-worth and feelings of empowerment instead of powerlessness. You can get “back to normal” or maybe experience feelings of calm and contentment for the first time. In the present moment, you can find safety, strength and resiliency.
You may feel that trauma therapy can help you recover from trauma, but you may still have questions and concerns.
Thinking about what happened to me is really frightening, and I don’t like to talk about it.
PTSD symptoms often include painful flashbacks of the event, and you may worry that talking about the trauma will cause this to happen. These feelings are completely understandable. But, avoiding talking or thinking about your traumatic experience won’t make it go away. Rather, you may become afraid not only of the event itself, but of anything that triggers memories of it. This can limit your life and keep you from feeling free. Your therapist can help you move through the trauma recovery process at your own pace and make sure that you feel safe at all times. The treatment process may be difficult at times, but your therapist can help you begin to experience the world as a safe place.
Do I need trauma therapy? Won’t I just get over this after enough time has passed?
We are often told that time heals all wounds, but frequently after a trauma, people replay events, experience flashbacks and get stuck in a loop of persistent thoughts and images of the events. You may feel stuck, with your normal fight or flight responses disrupted. Instead of being able to move forward, you feel frozen. Being stuck can affect your ability to stand up for yourself. You may struggle to be assertive. It can be hard to express anger, hard to say no, and this can have negative effects on your life. All of these things are difficult to understand and move through without help. There is no shame in seeking help and support while working through trauma. You don’t have to stay stuck, and your therapist can help you recover from trauma as easily as possible.
I think I may be struggling with developmental trauma, but I’m not sure.
Maybe the description of developmental trauma above resonated with you, but you don’t remember any traumas from childhood. It is very common not to remember events that you experienced as traumatic in childhood, and it can be hard to figure out the origin of symptoms you are struggling with now. The bottom line, however, is that if you are experiencing trauma symptoms that are impacting your ability to feel good and function with ease, it may be worth exploring your symptoms and history with one of our trauma therapists.
If you are seeking help recovering from a trauma, give us a call at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online. You can also contact us to find out more about trauma therapy in Houston.