How Trauma and EMDR Effects You


Trauma is universal and is experienced by people all over the world. It can result from extraordinarily stressful events that shatter one’s sense of safety and security, resulting in feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, nightmares, flashbacks, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave one feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. This blog post will help you understand trauma and the effects and symptoms that are associated with trauma. 

Trauma and the brain

Traumatic experiences are stored differently in the brain than non-traumatic experiences. Most of the time your body routinely manages new information and experiences without you being aware of it. However, when something out of the ordinary occurs and you are traumatized by an overwhelming event, or by being repeatedly subjected to distress, your natural coping mechanism can become overloaded. This overload can result in disturbing experiences remaining “frozen” in your brain or being “unprocessed.” Such unprocessed memories and feelings are stored in the limbic system of your brain in a “raw” and emotional form, rather than in a verbal “story” mode. The limbic system maintains traumatic memories in an isolated memory network that is associated with emotions and physical sensations, and which are disconnected from the brain’s cortex, where we use language to store memories. The emotions, thoughts and sensory perceptions, which were appropriate at the time of the trauma, can be triggered throughout a person’s life at times when trauma is not present. Your ability to live in the present and learn from new experiences can therefore become inhibited.


Effects of Trauma

Every person reacts to trauma differently, and experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional reactions is common. It is important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond --- Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.

Common Emotional & Psychological Symptoms:

● Anger, irritability, mood swings
● Confusion, difficulty concentrating
● Shock, denial, or disbelief
● Guilt, shame, self-blame
● Anxiety and fear
● Withdrawing from others and from pleasurable activities
● Feeling sad or hopeless
● Feeling disconnected or numb


Common Physical Symptoms:


● Fatigue
● Insomnia or nightmares
● Increased startle response
● Racing heartbeat
● Difficulty concentrating
● Feeling “on edge” or agitated
● Aches and pains
● Muscle tension or tightness


Before reading this blog post you may have been unaware of the symptoms and effects that trauma can have on someone. Going through a traumatic event can affect you in many ways. You are not alone. Healing from trauma is necessary to live a better and more enjoyable life. With the help from a therapist that specializes in trauma you can heal and begin your new life changing journey. 

To schedule an appointment with Amy today, call 720-370-3010