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Symptoms of Trauma - Trauma Series Part II

The symptoms can vary quite a bit based on what type of trauma a person has endured and the circumstances of the trauma. From a diagnostic perspective, there are two disorders which trauma is classified under:

Acute Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The symptoms for both are the same. The difference is Acute Stress Disorder symptoms last 30 days or less, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms persist for more than 30 days.

The first set of symptoms is focused on intrusive thoughts. These can be:

- distressing memories of the event

- dreams/nightmares of the event

- disassociative reactions - also referred to as flashbacks

- for a diagnosis, at least one of these must be present

The second set of symptoms is based on avoidance

- avoid memories, thoughts, and emotions of the event

- avoid external reminders of the event

The third set is around cognition and mood

- inability to remember parts of the trauma

- negative beliefs about oneself, others, and the world

- a negative mental state that encompasses fear, shame, guilt, or anger

- loss of interest in activities

- detached from others

- the inability to experience positive emotions

Finally, the reactivity and arousal change after the events

- angry or irritable behavior

- hypervigilance

- exaggerated startle response

- issues with concentration

- problems sleeping

The purpose of this information is not to self-diagnose oneself, but to be cognizant of the symptoms due to trauma. It is recommended that if you are experiencing some of these symptoms, a thorough evaluation from a clinician, therapist, or counselor would be advisable. There are treatments available and there is hope for a positive outcome.

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