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Trauma Symptoms

Current research indicates that trauma may be at the root of a broad spectrum of problems. When trauma goes untreated, it can impact all aspects of your life, manifesting as a variety of different symptoms that may obviously, or not so obviously, relate to specific past traumas that you've experienced.

Click here to view some of the common ways that trauma can impact your physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, social, and spiritual life.

Physical Symptoms

Trauma impacts the physical body by decreasing a sense of trust and safety, which increases fear and worry. Common symptoms include a racing heart, hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, sleep difficulties, headaches, increased stress, change in appetite, low energy, and sexual dysfunction. Research also links trauma with physical health problems.

Emotional Symptoms

Trauma is at the root of some of the most painful emotional symptoms, including anxiety, fearfulness, and phobias, as well as worry, and panic attacks. Depression, hopelessness, excessive guilt, and shame are very common. Feeling trapped, powerless, and inadequate, as well as struggling to overcome grief are also commonly due to trauma.

Cognitive Symptoms

Cognitively, trauma plays a major role in shaping your belief system and typically underlies negative thinking patterns. It's not uncommon to also experience difficulties with concentration, memory, decision making, and being easily distracted due to emotional trauma.

Self-Defeating Behaviors

Due to the uncomfortable symptoms that trauma creates, there can be a powerful attraction to mask these symptoms through addictive and compulsive behaviors with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, gambling, and relationships.

Relationship Difficulties

Trauma typically occurs within the context of relationships (e.g., abuse, rejection, humiliation, criticism, controlling behaviors) and these issues often get repeated, triggered, or played out in your intimate relationships. Common symptoms include arguments, conflict, and hostility; isolation and withdrawal; sexual problems, extreme fear of abandonment, and attempts to control others.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after a terrifying event in which physical harm occurred or was threatened. During the traumatic incident that caused the PTSD, the person experiences intense fear, a sense of helplessness, and horror. People suffering from PTSD typically startle easily, experience emotional numbing and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, and struggle with insomnia, flashbacks, and nightmares. PTSD often co-occurs with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse and has been linked to physical health problems in many studies.


When unresolved traumas are continually triggered, they pull your attention to the past, making it difficult to be present-centered. Likewise, painful trauma makes it challenging to fully accept life just as it is. Trauma naturally increases fear, leading to hypervigilance and thus leaving less energy for inner connection with your true nature. Trauma symptoms may keep you identified with your personal pain, making it more difficult to relate to the interconnectedness of all things and to stay focused on your life purpose.

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