Trauma is an emotional response to a terrifying incident, such as assault, an accident, the death of a loved one or a natural disaster. Long-term reactions to trauma may include erratic emotions, strained relationships, flashbacks and physical symptoms, such as nausea or headaches.1
It’s normal to experience these feelings after a terrible event, but some people find it hard to move on with their lives. If you’re among the many people who have experienced trauma and feel it’s impacting your daily life, professional therapy can help you heal. Mental health treatment can decrease symptoms and help you find positive ways of managing involuntary emotions while addressing past trauma.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Seek Out Help?
You’re developing symptoms: One of the most common reasons people reach out for help is the onset of inexplicable symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fearfulness, substance abuse, or physical symptoms like chronic headaches or insomnia.
Your coping methods aren’t working: You’ve tried to handle symptoms in ways you usually do when something is troubling, like talking to friends or family or distracting yourself with work or hobbies. Despite these methods, you’re starting to run out of energy to cope.
Your unhappiness outweighs your happiness: Facing each day seems like a large effort, and you’re losing interest in things that used to bring you pleasure. You have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right.
You’re sabotaging yourself: You understand what helps you feel better, but you can’t get yourself to do it. Something is stopping you from using your own strength. You may be abusing substances to self-medicate and suppress unpleasant symptoms.
You’re developing negative patterns: You’re losing friendships, can’t keep a job or constantly feel dissatisfied.
When these signs and symptoms become more difficult to ignore, it may motivate you to seek help. Addressing the effects of trauma isn’t easy, but the earlier you do, the easier it will be and the sooner you’ll prevent further difficulties from developing.
How Does Professional Help Work?
Through professional therapy, you’ll learn coping skills to work through past trauma.2 Some of the areas you’ll work on include:
- Identifying and improving negative thinking and self-destructive patterns
- Understanding how to let go of resentments and move forward
- Challenging your fears with cognitive therapy, mindfulness and relaxation techniques
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Starting to give back and help other people
- Reevaluating your lifestyle and making healthy changes
- Checking in regularly with a therapist
What Benefits Can Professional Help Provide?
Once you’re in therapy, you’ll gain new perspectives that make you stronger by:
- Incorporating new meaning in your life
- Being able to communicate authentically and positively
- Gaining a new sense that life is precious
- Seeing your goals more clearly
- Recommitting to your goals
- Gaining new insights into the values of relationships
If you’re suffering from the effects of trauma, you can recover with the right help. Therapy gives you the tools you need so that you can live a more joyous and satisfying life.