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What is trauma? Somes signs and symptoms


'Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences' (Karen Onderko).
Emotional and psychological trauma can result from a single event/incident or multiple events/incidents that cause a huge amount of stress in the body and that may compromise our sense of safety or security.

People often think it's only the 'big things' or really 'serious' incidents that cause trauma, however, that's not true. We often experience what we call small 't's' that, if they have specific meaning/significance to us, or occur alongside an accummulation of other small 't's', can result in a traumatic experience.

It's really important to dispel this myth because many people don't seek support because they think or feel that the 'thing' they have experience is 'not big enough' or 'not important enough'. Yet, they are suffering in many ways and life has become difficult as a result of a past or recent incident/event/situation that has caused a surge of stress and distress that is now impacting on their mental health and other aspects of life.

There are many types of trauma; however, it's not always helpful to put a name or label onto them because what's important is not the name, but focusing on the fact that someone is distressed or having a difficult time.

Signs and symptoms of trauma vary from person-to-person. Nevertheless, some of the signs and symptoms of trauma include:

Emotional & psychological symptoms:
* Shock, denial, disbelief
* Confusion, difficulty concentrating
* Anger, irritability, mood swings, agitation
* Anxiety, panic fear
* Guilt, shame, self-blame
* Isolating/withdrawing from others/life
* Feelings of sad, hopelessness or helplessness
* Feeling disconnected, numb, empty, purposeless, dissociated

Physical symptoms:
* Insomnia, sleep disturbances and/or nightmares
* Fatigue and lack of energy and motivation
* Being startled easily
* Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or getting going each day
* Racing heartbeat, feeling faint/light-headed or fidgety
* Agitation and restlessness
* Aches, pains, muscle tension, nausea and/or headaches

These may then lead to other mental health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, dissociative disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm and more. This can also affect our ability to work, relationships, self-esteem and confidence, school/college/university, physical health and much more. This is why it's really important to seek support before the problem continues and affects other areas of life and impacts mental and emptional health further.

One thing to remember about trauma: your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.

If you would like to talk to someone about what you're going through at the moment, we are here to listen, support and work with you to make thing feel a bit better and easier again.
Drop us a line if you have any questions, need more information or would like to book an appointment.

We work with each client individually, at your pace, with your goals and tailor sessions, as much as possible to each client we work with. We are all different after all, and therapy requires that sessions are tailored to you and your individual needs and preferences.

Connect with us today and find out how we can support you.


In-person appointments available in Glasgow city centre and online appointments available with our therapists in Scotland and England.

Best wishes,
Citizen17 Therapy, CBT and Counselling Services



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