Trauma & EMDR- Part Seven

To revisit the previous blogs in this series, you can click here for Part 6, or here for all blogs in this series.

When trauma goes unaddressed for extended periods, the initial signs and symptoms – which were outlined in the previous blog as “Primary Signs and Symptoms” – often grow in complexity and impact. When individuals do not receive proper help, their situation often worsens, and their life may be more broadly impacted, which can result in secondary signs and symptoms.

Secondary signs and symptoms include:

  • Relationship distress / constant arguments with loved ones
  • Inability to maintain healthy close relationships or choose healthy friends
  • Hostility
  • Social withdrawal
  • Abusing alcohol and substances – may grow into full-blown addiction
  • Sexual problems; changes in sexual performance, desire for sex or ability to enjoy sex; marked increase in sexual activity or avoidance of sex; engaging in risky sexual behaviors
  • Constant feeling of being threatened
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Uncontrollable reactive thoughts
  • Inability to make healthy occupational or lifestyle choices
  • Dissociative symptoms – periods of appearing “checked out” or mentally not present
  • Feelings of depression, shame, hopelessness, or despair
  • Feeling ineffective
  • Feeling as though one is permanently damaged
  • Loss of former belief systems
  • Compulsive behavioral patterns
  • Disregard for own safety or health, or the safety and health of loved ones

In Part 8, we’ll look more closely at what can be done about trauma! All this background on trauma, how it’s stored, signs and symptoms, etc. is shared to help you know that there is great news: trauma can be healed!

Adapted from Cascade Behavioral Health’s Symptoms, Signs & Effects of Emotional Trauma.

Written by: Mindy Pierce