If you have experienced something traumatic, whether it be in the past or more recently, you may be struggling with upsetting memories, emotions or feeling a constant sense of unease. When bad things happen, it can be difficult to overcome them.  However, with the right support it is possible to move forward whatever the trauma and whenever it happened. 

What is classed as a ‘trauma’ is very individual, but examples might be witnessing or being in an accident, a natural disaster, military combat or being abused. Traumatic events sometimes involves a threat to life, but anything that was overwhelming and frightening can be considered traumatic. What is important is how you experienced the event and how you feel about it now.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is a name for a cluster of symptoms that some people experience after a traumatic experience that do not go away without support.

Am I experiencing emotional trauma?

There are many signs and symptoms that might be indicative of emotional trauma and PTSD. These include:

  • Reliving the traumatic event regularly. It feels as though the event is happening again in the present moment, for example as a flashback
  • Nightmares; these might be about the event, or reoccurring dreams that are distressing
  • Feeling isolated, irritable, guilty or angry
  • Difficulties with concentration and memory
  • Problems with sleep
  • Wanting to avoid certain situations or things that trigger memories about the event

When is trauma a problem?

Trauma can effect anyone; it is normal to experience difficulties and to feel upset in the days and weeks after something traumatic. Most people will find their symptoms improve naturally over time. However, if you are still experiencing difficulties after a few weeks or months, or if the symptoms are particularly distressing you might require some additional support. The important thing to remember is that everyone is different and what might be problematic to one person might not be the same for someone else. Therefore, if your experiences are interfering with your quality of life, then seeking help is a positive step forward.

What helps?

The two main therapies recommended for trauma and PTSD are CBT and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). These are both recommended by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).   There is no real evidence to suggest that one is more effective than the other; it can be personal preference.  All of the team at Avenue Therapies are trained in using either EMDR or CBT for trauma and can adapt these depending on your needs.