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  • 7 Symptoms of Trauma and How EMDR Can Help

    If you have experienced a traumatic event, you know that trauma can affect your life in just about every way. The symptoms of trauma can be long-lasting and take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Knowing what these symptoms are and how trauma can affect you can help you get the support you need to heal and move forward.


    The first important thing to note is that trauma is not your fault! Your feelings are valid and the symptoms of trauma are very real.


    At Fearlessly Inspired Therapeutic Solutions (F.I.T.S.) in Maryland and D.C., we understand the symptoms of trauma and have experience treating trauma and its many manifestations.


    We use EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy to treat trauma.


    Why? It’s simple—It works!


    In this post, we will discuss 7 of the most common symptoms of trauma and how EMDR therapy can help.


    If you experience 1 or more of these symptoms, help is available! If you want help today, please contact us or keep reading to learn more!

    1. Flashbacks

    One of the most common symptoms of trauma is experiencing flashbacks. Flashbacks are memories of a traumatic event that can be both vivid and overwhelming.


    People that have flashbacks suddenly experience an intense emotional and physical reaction when reminded of a traumatic event. These memories can be triggered by sights, sounds, smells, or even body sensations. Flashbacks can be so realistic that it can feel like the trauma is happening all over again.

    2. Feeling Jumpy or Easily Startled

    Do you startle easily? Or feel as if you are constantly on high alert? Hypervigilance is a symptom of trauma where you feel jumpy and generally unsafe at times when nothing is wrong.


    It is normal to feel jumpy while watching a scary movie. But when even sudden noises set you off, it may be a symptom of trauma.  


    Experiencing hypervigilance is intense and uncomfortable and can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed.

    3. Avoiding Things that Remind You of the Trauma

    When you experience a traumatic event, it is normal for the brain to develop ways to protect you from further distress. One of these coping mechanisms may be avoidance. 

    Avoidance can look like:


    • Trying to avoid certain people, places, or things that remind you of the traumatic event 

    • Not wanting to talk about what happened to you

    • Putting distance between yourself and anything that might trigger memories or feelings of distress

    • Attempting to avoid thinking about the traumatic event 

    • Engaging in behaviors that may distract you from thinking about the event, that may or may not be destructive 

    This image shows the symptoms of trauma

    4. Negative Changes in Mood and Negative Self-Talk

    Another common symptom of trauma is experiencing severe, negative changes in your mood and negative self-talk.


    Some examples of negative changes in mood include:


    • Persistent sadness

    • Constant feelings of dread

    • Feeling guilty

    • Regularly feeling like something bad is about to happen

    • Persistent anxiety or depression

    • Feeling very unhopeful about the future


    Some common examples of negative self-talk include:


    • Blaming yourself for the trauma or believing it was your fault

    • Persistent feelings of guilt

    • Feeling unworthy of love

    • Lacking self-confidence

    5. Trouble Concentrating

    Trauma can also lead to difficulties in maintaining focus and attention. If you have experienced trauma, you may find it hard to concentrate on tasks, even when you are trying your best to do so.

    6. Impaired Memory


    Trauma can impact both short-term and long-term memory. If you have experienced trauma, you may have difficulty recalling events or details related to the traumatic experience. You may also struggle to recall other memories or aspects of your life as well–especially around the time period when the traumatic event occurred. 


    Some people who experience trauma during childhood report forgetting much of their childhood as well.

    7. Difficulty Sleeping

    You may also have trouble falling or staying asleep. 

    Falling asleep is tough when you are constantly on high alert or tense. You may also have nightmares that wake you up in the middle of the night. 


    There have even been studies that demonstrate that trauma can dramatically impact your body’s ability to go into deep REM sleep. This means that you may feel tired or groggy even after a full night of sleep. 

    Not a Comprehensive List

    Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. You may have several of the symptoms of trauma on this list, or you may have none.


    This list is not meant as a diagnostic tool


    The best way to tell if you have trauma–and how to treat it– is to see an experienced trauma therapist.

    EMDR is a Proven Treatment for Trauma


    If you are experiencing 1 or more of the symptoms of trauma on this list, EMDR Therapy can help.


    EMDR involves moving your eyes in a certain pattern, under the care of a qualified professional, and reprocessing memories and emotions that are causing you distress


    The ultimate goal of EMDR Therapy is to make it so that when you recall traumatic experiences you will not experience as much discomfort and anguish. Those memories will not hold the same power over you. 


    EMDR Therapy works at the root of trauma, so many symptoms of trauma often subside after just a handful of sessions.  


    What is EMDR Therapy?FITS Believes in EMDR Therapy for Trauma

    At Fearlessly Inspired Therapeutic Solutions (FITS) in Maryland and D.C., we believe in EMDR for 5 key reasons:


    1.  It is an evidence-based treatment for trauma.

    2.  It allows you to experience long-lasting results and get relief faster than traditional talk therapy.

    3.  It works at the root of trauma, so many symptoms of trauma naturally subside.

    4.  It allows you to dive into areas of the brain that are often inaccessible through other techniques.

    5. We believe in the power of using EMDR for trauma and have seen it work to permanently change the lives of our clients. 

    FITS Can Help

    If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of trauma on this list and struggling to live life to the fullest, we can help.

    Fearlessly Inspired Therapeutic Solutions services clients in the Maryland and D.C. area who are struggling with trauma and PTSD. We have been successfully treating scores of people suffering from symptoms of trauma for 2 decades.   

    Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation, or call our office at  301-750-1065.