Sudden, unexpected, horrific or repeated types of negative incidents in life can all lead to the development of trauma. Many people think of trauma as something that causes immediate changes in a person’s level of comfort, ability to feel safe, and constant feelings of fear or anxiety in specific situations or locations.

All of these can be true, but trauma and its effects are not all that easy to pinpoint. For some people, the effects of trauma may not occur for weeks after the event, and they may build gradually over time if the trauma is the chronic type of repeated stress such as living in a chaotic or unsafe environment or dealing with bullying or abuse.

Besides the obvious reactions to fear, stress and atypical negative events in life, it is also essential to be aware of three other lesser-known symptoms of trauma.

Mood Changes

One of the emotional symptoms of trauma can be sudden and unexplained mood changes. This may include becoming irritable and agitated in situations without provocation or without understanding why these emotions are suddenly present.

For many people, guilt often follows these mood swings or changes, particularly if they are directed towards a friend, family member or a loved one. This becomes an ongoing negative spiral of mood swings, guilt and even shame over behaviors and thoughts.

Feeling Overwhelmed

With chronic types of trauma such as bullying or feeling unsafe or in an unstable relationship where there is any type of abuse, feelings of being helpless, hopeless and overwhelmed are very common.

Trauma can block your ability to see options to move forward, rather it locks you into those negative emotions and creates the belief that isolating and withdrawal from contact with others is the way to deal with the problems.

Work or School Problems

One of the most overlooked symptoms of trauma is problems with concentration and focus. This results in problems at work or at school, all which can lead to increasing stress, low self-esteem, and concerns about the future.

If you notice any changes in behavior, physical health or mental health after a sudden traumatic event or experiencing trauma, seek help and support to start on the road to recovery.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse

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