Dealing with Emotional Trauma


It is not uncommon for those involved in a traumatic event to experience an array of emotional reactions. Working in a personal injury law firm, I meet people who have lost movement in their limbs, lost their limbs, experience disfigurement, suffer brain injury and some clients have to deal with the  loss of a loved one due to a life altering event.  Additionally, if a person was relatively healthy but then must deal with chronic pain for the rest of their life, emotional trauma can follow.

Emotional trauma manifests itself differently in people.  Some symptoms of emotional trauma may include:

  • Feeling disconnected from your loved ones and friends
  • Feeling ‘numb’ to events occurring around you
  • Anxiety and Fear
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Denial, shock and/or disbelief
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anger (Irritability)
  • Mood swings
  • Self-blame

If you find yourself experiencing these emotions, do not harshly judge yourself.  Additionally, avoid comparing yourself to people who may have been through a similar situation but claim to not experience the same things you feel.

The life altering circumstances I mentioned in the first paragraph are ABNORMAL events.  Therefore, when emotional trauma manifests itself it is good to remember that this is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

Much like the body, emotional healing occurs at its own pace in different people.

However, if you notice your symptoms persist for months with little change, do not fear seeking help.  In regards to seeking help, a primary physician may initially go to prescription medication as the answer.  However, many find using a therapist to aid in emotional recovery is important.  You may have to verbalize this request to your primary physician.

Getting this help is especially important if we are trying to heal from a physical injury at the same time.  Studies indicate that healing the mind contributes to healing the body.

How do you know if it’s time to get help?  An honest self-analysis may be in order.

  • Am I still regularly experiencing nightmares and flashbacks of the event?
  • Are others voicing concern over my work performance?
  • Has my partner or spouse verbalized concerns about my ability to function?
  • Am I ‘avoiding’ people, places or situations that remind me of the event?
  • Since the event, have I been unable to form close relationships?
  • Do I feel disconnected to those with whom I am in a close relationship?
  • Am I using drugs or alcohol to numb my feelings?

If you find that the answers to the above questions are in the affirmative, seek help!

Your primary medical provider may be able to help you find a therapist, psychologist or counselor.  Many people find that even just a few visits helps ‘free’ themselves from some of the emotional anxiety that plagued them.

We may hold back from seeking the help because we may believe that therapy is ‘scary’ or ‘painful.’  Additionally, most of us wish to avoid situations where we feel we may be ‘traumatized’ yet again.  However, resolving our feelings can help them from lingering.  Reducing the negative thoughts and feelings allow us to regain control of our emotions and reduce the quantity of anxious thoughts plaguing us.

Finding the right surgeon or orthopedist often make a world of difference in terms of the physical recovery of a patient.  So to, finding the right counselor, therapist or psychologist is important for emotional healing to progress.

I’m Ed Smith, a California Personal Injury Lawyer with the most informative accident website available –

If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident due to the negligence of another, please call me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice.

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