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    Trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

    Symptoms of Trauma

    Emotional symptoms of trauma:

    • Shock, denial, or disbelief
    • Anger, irritability, mood swings
    • Guilt, shame, self-blame
    • Feeling sad or hopeless
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Anxiety and fear
    • Withdrawing from others
    • Feeling disconnected or numb

    Physical symptoms of trauma:

    • Insomnia or nightmares
    • Being startled easily
    • Racing heartbeat
    • Aches and pains
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Edginess and agitation
    • Muscle tension

    Signs That Professional Treatment is Needed

    • 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 situations that remind you of the trauma
    • Feeling emotionally numb and disconnected from others
    • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better