Trauma Symptoms

Symptoms of trauma – Trauma Recovery Clinic Edinburgh and London

Symptoms of traumatic stress, PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and complex PTSD

In cases of trauma and traumatic stress, the self-regulation capacity of our autonomic nervous system and physiology is disturbed, preventing us from regaining a ‘relaxed normal’ state. Otherwise benign events or triggers may have a disastrous effect on our nervous system whose distorted ‘normal’ settings are hypersensitive, unresponsive or erratic. Over time, after months or even several decades, this can result in symptoms such as the following:

“Thanks for putting me back together!”

MJ, Edinburgh

These psychological and physiological symptoms are common:

• Racing heart, palpitations, breathing problems
• Anxiety, including chronic low level anxiety
• Being on ‘red alert’, or hypervigilant
• Panic attacks
• Fears and terrors
• Phobias, specific overwhelming fears, for instance of spiders
• Flash backs and intrusive memories or images
• Overwhelming emotional responses such as shame, anger, depression
• Extreme sensitivity to light, sound or touch
• Insomnia, nightmares, night terrors
• Physical, mental or emotional exhaustion
• Mental ‘blankness’ or spaced-out feelings

There may also be behavioural symptoms such as these:

• Attraction to dangerous situations or people
• Addictive behaviours
• Avoidance behaviour, avoiding places, activities, memories, situations or people

Physical symptoms and pain conditions often accompany traumatic stress:

• Psychosomatic illnesses, particularly some headaches, migraines, neck and back problems
• Muscle weakness, muscle pain
• Digestive problems, e.g. IBS
• Immune system problems
• Skin disorders
• Environmental sensitivities

You may also benefit from our approach to overwhelm if you identify with any of these statements:

• I don’t seem to be able to love, nurture, or bond with others
• I find it difficult to receive love or nurturing
• I find it difficult to commit to others
• I feel constantly overwhelmed
• I don’t seem to be able to make decisions 
• I can’t think clearly
• It all seems too much
• I’m losing sight of where I’m going
• I don’t have any energy
• I feel stuck
• I keep getting stuck in emotional loops

Syndromes such as the following are often symptomatic of overwhelm or traumatic stress:

• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Fibromyalgia
• Myofascial pain syndrome
• Irritable bowel syndrome

More about Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome