Trauma Symptoms

What Are Trauma Symptoms?

The body can respond to trauma in many different ways. But one thing that’s usually the same across the board is that trauma activates our primitive fight, flight or freeze system. Because your body and brain work so closely together, trauma can trigger a range of physical and psychological responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists these as some of the most common symptoms of trauma:

  • Rage
  • Shock
  • Sadness
  • Toxic shame
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Becoming easily overwhelmed
  • Isolation and withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Racing heart
  • Sweating
  • Chronic pain
  • Poor concentration
  • Headaches
  • Addiction
  • Low self-esteem
  • Panic attacks

Think about it like this: Have you noticed yourself tense up around the time your husband’s car pulls into the driveway? Or do you find yourself not sleeping well as the holidays approach? Or do you get splitting headaches around your in-laws? Or does your heart beat out of your chest around your old uncle? These may be symptoms of trauma.

In her book on childhood trauma, The Deepest Well, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris discusses how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can also show up as major medical consequences. If you grow up in a home with divorce, toxic stress, parental addiction, or physical, sexual or emotional abuse, you’re significantly more likely to have a stroke, get cancer, have metabolic or heart disease, suffer from major health challenges, and die younger.