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Symptoms of Emotional and Psychological Trauma

Do you feel like you or someone you love has experienced a form of emotional and psychological trauma?

When people think of trauma or a traumatic event, they usually think of a horrible event that happened to someone they know, but rarely do you ever find anyone thinking of this traumatic event happening to them.

Photo: Julia Taubitz -

Sometimes due to the sheer emotional weight of psychological traumas, it gets challenging to identify let alone admit to ourselves that a certain event had such a huge impact on our minds and our psyche.

We all can be susceptible to experiencing emotional and psychological trauma, no matter the age or experience we have.

Additionally, the old stigma around therapy has largely been lifted from our society and culture making it easier to address any trauma or emotional event immediately without having to live with the ramifications of untreated trauma for years.

In fact, therapy has become so popular that it is now more convenient and economical than ever before. Nowadays, with options such as Telehealth Therapy you don’t even have to leave the house to get your weekly hour of therapy or trauma counseling.

So, without any further delay, today we are going to talk about some of the symptoms of emotional trauma and the effects it can have if not treated accordingly.


The cognitive symptoms of psychological trauma are the after-effects of the traumatic incident on your brain and thought process.

A person with emotional trauma will be hindered by the effects of the trauma event on his cognitive abilities, he or she will be having a hard time making healthy decisions moving forward as well concentrating on an important task for long periods of time.

Cognitive symptoms of psychological and emotional trauma may include:

  • Inability to focus or concentrate (despite having no problem doing so in the past)

  • Inability to make decisions

  • Poor quality of sleep

  • Nightmares/ Flashbacks of the traumatic incident

  • Insomnia

  • Feeling disoriented

  • Feeling stressed

  • Obsessive thoughts of the trauma event

Some of the cognitive symptoms of emotional trauma may greatly hinder your productivity and daily life when left untreated. Therefore, it is important to take a break from any additional stressors in the surrounding environment while seeking the appropriate trauma therapy.


Another set of changes that may be observed in an individual exposed to a traumatic event is changes in their behavior whether they are alone or around other people. Behavioral symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma may include:

  • Being highly irritable

  • Being hypervigilant

  • Constant feeling of a looming danger or threat

  • Bursts of anger

  • High emotional reactivity

  • Substance abuse

  • Self-harm tendencies

  • Increased impulsivity

If you or someone you know is showing one or more of the previously mentioned symptoms, please make sure to seek a trauma counseling professional in your area.

Any individual will demonstrate changes in behavior after being exposed to a traumatic incident although it may be subtle and may not always be apparent to other people.

The person exposed to the trauma event may become more distant or isolated in an attempt to not make the changes in his behavior visible to others.

The behavioral symptoms of individuals exposed to traumatic events overlap with and may be similar to the symptoms of someone diagnosed with Anxiety Disorders.

Furthermore, individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder who have been exposed to a traumatic event will demonstrate more extreme patterns of the behavioral symptoms previously exhibited.


A lot of people assume that as long as the trauma isn’t physical then its symptoms won’t be physical as well. However, in reality, our emotional and mental health can have a huge impact on our physical wellbeing. In fact, emotional traumas can result in a number of different physical symptoms which may include:

  • Headaches

  • Chest pains

  • Body pains

  • Elevated heartbeat

  • Feeling tense

  • High-blood pressure

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

The physical symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma are your body’s way of telling you it needs trauma therapy.

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez -

Our bodies typically have a way of telling us when a certain emotional event occurred in our lives which needs to be addressed.

Some of the physical symptoms previously mentioned may be related to other health problems. So, make sure to check with your physician if the symptoms persist after seeking trauma counseling or therapy.

On the other hand, when the physical symptoms are triggered by a certain memory, thought, or action it is usually due to the presence of psychological trauma.


Psychological symptoms of emotional trauma are relative to each individual. In fact, the same symptoms may have different causes as well as different treatments based on the person demonstrating them.

Therefore, psychological symptoms of emotional trauma typically require the help of a trauma counseling professional in order to be correctly identified and attributed to the trauma event.

Some of the psychological symptoms of emotional trauma may include:

  • Dissociation from others or oneself

  • Detachment

  • Self-blame or feelings of guilt

  • Self-sabotage

  • Depression

  • Pessimistic world view

  • Increased emotional sensitivity

  • Loss of drive

Emotional trauma can result in the individual feeling responsible and guilty for the occurrence of the event even if it is not entirely rational.

Additionally, the self-esteem and confidence of the individual can be negatively impacted causing a lot of self-doubt and a generally more pessimistic view on life and its circumstances as a result of being exposed to the trauma event.

Effects of Untreated Psychological Trauma

The symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma usually don’t get resolved by themselves or go away with time.

In fact, many of the symptoms we mentioned here today can persist or in some cases even get worse when the trauma is left untreated.

The longer the emotional trauma stays without trauma counseling, the bigger the effect it can have on your long term emotional and mental health.

After the occurrence of an emotionally traumatic event, some individuals may exhibit avoidant behavior, saying things like: “nothing happened, it’s not a big deal” or “I will get over it soon enough”, and denying the need for trauma therapy.

However, the negative impact of untreated psychological trauma may not always be immediately observed, sometimes it takes months or even years to realize that leaving a certain emotional event without receiving the Trauma treatment you need has resulted in one or more areas of your life being negatively impacted.

Where to Get Help

The events of a traumatic event can hold a person back from many relationships, possibilities and potential victories when left untreated.

However, the emotional aspect of receiving trauma counseling can be challenging at times depending on the influence of the trauma event and its surrounding circumstances.

Hence, it is always important to find an understanding, respectful, and compassionate licensed professional to accompany you on the road to a better mental and emotional health.

If you have a loved one or you yourself have experienced a form of emotional and psychological trauma that has impacted your life or mental health, you can always seek help through RAI Counseling Services which offer a variety of different treatment options and approaches presented to you by licensed professionals.

RAI Counseling services understand the different needs for trauma therapy and offer a judgment free space for you to explore and work through the different issues and experiences that have been holding you back from your true potential.

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