How to deal with unresolved trauma

How to deal with unresolved trauma

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event. And 20 percent of those people develop posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

PTSD can develop after any event that causes feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror. This could be a car accident, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, physical or sexual assault, or anything else that makes you feel like your life or safety is in danger.

Many people who experience trauma can recover without any lasting effects. But for some people, the trauma can have a lasting impact on their mental and emotional health. If you have unresolved trauma, you may find yourself struggling with symptoms like:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • intrusive thoughts
  • avoidance of people or places that remind you of the trauma
  • negative changes in your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and others
  • feeling detached from other people
  • feeling numb or hopeless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • What is trauma?
  • Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply disturbing or distressing event. It can cause feelings of fear, helplessness, or shock.

There are two types of trauma:

  • Acute trauma is caused by a single, overwhelming event such as a natural disaster, car accident, or the death of a loved one.
  • Chronic trauma is exposure to multiple traumatic events over time, such as exposure to violence or abuse.

Some people who experience trauma develop long-term problems, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. To heal from trauma, it is important to address both the immediate and long-term effects of the experience.

Types of trauma

There are four main types of trauma: -Acute trauma – Is the most common type of trauma. Acute trauma can happen to anyone at any age. It occurs when you experience a single event that is stressful or life-threatening. -Chronic trauma – This type of trauma occurs when you experience repeated or long-term events that are stressful or life-threatening. Chronic trauma is often experienced by people who work high-stress jobs, such as law enforcement, healthcare, and the military. It can also occur in people who have been through a natural disaster or have been victims of domestic violence or child abuse. -Complex trauma – This type of trauma occurs when you experience multiple events that are stressful or life-threatening. Complex trauma can occur in childhood if you experience multiple forms of abuse, such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Complex trauma can also occur in adulthood if you experience multiple traumas, such as being in a car accident and then being diagnosed with cancer. -Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – This diagnosis can occur after you experience any traumatic event. PTSD can include symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression.

Symptoms of trauma

There are a variety of symptoms that may accompany unresolved trauma. Many of these symptoms can also indicate other conditions, so it is important to consult a mental health professional to get an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms of trauma can include, but are not limited to:

-Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event

-Nightmares or flashbacks of the event

-Avoidance of people, places, or things that remind you of the event

-Feeling numb or disconnected from others



-Difficulty concentrating

-Memory problems

-Anxiety or panic attacks

-Irritability or angry outbursts

Causes of trauma

There are several potential causes of trauma, including:

  • childhood abuse or neglect
  • witnessing domestic violence or other violent crimes
  • being the victim of a physical or sexual assault
  • being involved in a major accident or natural disaster
  • experiencing the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one
  • living through war or another social upheaval
  • How to deal with unresolved trauma
  • You’re not alone if you’re struggling to cope with unresolved trauma. Many people have experienced trauma at some point in their lives, and while some can heal and move on, others may struggle for years or even decades.

There are several ways to deal with unresolved trauma, and your best approach will depend on your circumstances. However, some general tips can help:

-Talk to someone who understands. It cannot be easy to talk about your experiences with people who haven’t been through similar experiences themselves. However, talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can be incredibly helpful. A therapist or counselor can provide a safe space for you to share your story and begin working through your trauma.

-Join a support group. There are often groups available for people who have experienced trauma. These groups can provide social support and allow you to share your experiences with others who understand what you’re going through.

-Find healthy coping mechanisms. Finding healthy ways to cope with your emotions related to the trauma is important. Some healthy coping mechanisms include exercise, journaling, deep breathing exercises, and spending time in nature.

-Give yourself time. It’s important to remember that healing from trauma takes time. There is no timeline for how long it should take, so be patient and allow yourself the time you need to heal.


It is important to understand that unresolved trauma can profoundly affect your life. It can impact your relationships, your work, and your overall sense of well-being. If you suspect that you may be struggling with unresolved trauma, it is important to seek professional help. Many resources are available to help you heal and move on from your past.