How to Recover From Emotional Trauma
As we move through life, our experiences mark us in various ways – and unfortunately, not all of them are pleasant. The lingering pain from some memories is called emotional trauma. Though you can’t rewrite the past, you can move forward and heal after a traumatic event.
What Is Emotional Trauma?
While you might associate trauma with military veterans returning from combat, anyone can become traumatized by events that cause them to feel unsafe or helpless, such as:
- A natural disaster
- Domestic violence or sexual assault
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- The death of a loved one
- A car accident
- A robbery
- Exposure to troubling news or graphic images of events like terrorist attacks
After a frightening or upsetting experience, the resulting loss of control may leave trauma victims feeling unmoored from reality. Emotional trauma also stimulates the fight-or-flight response into overdrive, causing ongoing feelings of being on edge. Different noises, sights or smells could be triggering, putting you on high alert. Traumatized people often startle easily, are quick to anger and have trouble relaxing and self-soothing.
What Causes Trauma?
People react differently to traumatic events. For example, imagine someone breaks into your apartment and steals some of your belongings. In the aftermath of the burglary, you may feel emotional trauma, while your roommate has no problem putting the break-in behind them.
These opposite responses may be the result of differences in brain function. For example, we know from looking at brain scans of people with PTSD that they have an overactive amygdala, which is the area that helps people process and control emotions. Meanwhile, they show decreased function in their hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Fortunately, your brain is highly plastic, which means you can recover from emotional trauma with the appropriate treatment.
Therapy for Emotional Trauma
The healthiest way to work through your traumatic experiences is with a trained therapist. In counseling, you will learn to:
- Identify where your life lacks stability and determine opportunities for improvement
- Recognize patterns of negativity in your relationships
- Practice self-care
- Use mindfulness and grounding techniques when you feel overwhelmed
- Set boundaries with others
- Become a more effective communicator
- Recognize and celebrate your unique strengths
- Let go of any long-held self-esteem issues that are holding you back
You may find more success in resolving your emotional trauma by working with a therapist who specializes in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, which is an evidence-based approach for treating trauma and other forms of psychological distress. EMDR has proven effective for many people, and it eliminates the potential risks of using prescription medications to manage your mental health. However, going through EMDR can be challenging because your therapist will ask you to directly confront complex emotions.
Integrated Trauma Treatment
Trauma and addiction often co-occur, and simultaneously addressing them ensures the best chance of recovery. At Beach House, we developed our integrated trauma treatment program to uncover the root causes of both illnesses and start our clients on a path to improved mental and physical well-being.
To learn more about our Florida rehab’s industry accreditations, clinically excellent treatment modalities or outstanding therapist-to-client ratio, please reach out to our admissions counselors. We are here around the clock to take your confidential call.