Unresolved trauma can cause all sorts of problems for physical and mental health. Sometimes trauma stems from catastrophic events like domestic violence, a sexual assault, or a car accident. One of the most common manifestations of trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other times trauma sets in after prolonged periods of stress or overwork. People need not have an official diagnosis of something like PTSD to be suffering from unresolved trauma. Dealing with past trauma is imperative to move forward and experience physical and mental wholeness.
What Is Unresolved Trauma?
Understanding unresolved trauma starts with knowledge about what trauma is, to begin with. Trauma is considered any emotional reaction to a negative event. Being unresolved means your body and brain have not been able to process and fully cope with the trauma that occurred. As mentioned earlier, this can result in PTSD.
Acute stress disorder is perhaps more common and is essentially a less intense, shorter-term variety of PTSD. More often than not, stress-reduction activities are enough to resolve issues related to acute stress disorder. They can also help with PTSD, though more intense interventions may be necessary to achieve wholeness when dealing with PTSD.
Unresolved trauma often presents itself through a set of physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms include sleep problems, nightmares, a constant feeling of being on edge, muscle tension, and a racing heartbeat. Meanwhile, common psychological symptoms of unresolved trauma are:
- Anger or irritability
- Mood swings
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Guilt or shame
The physical and psychological symptoms of unresolved trauma often manifest in warning signs. These warning signs indicate that your trauma remains unresolved and needs to be addressed. Nightmares and flashbacks are one of the most prominent warning signs that your brain is struggling to cope with past trauma. Also, pay close attention to how your mood and relationships are being impacted. Trauma often creates interpersonal and relational issues.
How to Deal with Unresolved Trauma
Learning how to deal with unresolved trauma starts with physical health. One of the best ways to support your body in coping with unresolved trauma is to exercise. Regular exercise is a great stress reliever that also helps the body reset after traumatic experiences. Exercise can look different depending on your interests. One of the best exercises for addressing trauma is yoga. Many people also benefit from stress-reduction techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, massage therapy, or acupuncture.
Getting at least eight hours of sleep per night is another key to resolving past trauma. Your sleep is likely disrupted, and nightmares may make it feel like getting refreshing sleep is impossible. Do not attempt to self-medicate your way into better sleep. Instead, connect with your general practitioner about what you can do to help you get a restful night’s sleep. Your body needs it.
Another important way to resolve trauma is through social activity. Trauma often makes people withdraw and retreat. Depending on the trauma that occurred, the world may suddenly feel dangerous. But retaining and deepening strong familial and social bonds is vital to healing after trauma. Reconnect with friends, surround yourself with trusted family, and engage in safe social activities.
Healing from Trauma at Rockland Recovery
Sometimes the trauma is overwhelming, the symptoms following it too intense. Not everyone can address their unresolved trauma through exercise, better sleep, and social connection. That doesn’t mean you are a failure if that’s the situation you find yourself in. Rather, it simply indicates you need professional support.
Rockland Recovery offers numerous therapeutic interventions that are designed with a trauma-informed lens. Don’t stop your exercise routine. Continue spending time with family. Yet the missing piece could simply be a comprehensive therapy program that unlocks the healing you seek following trauma. Your brain wants to heal, and your body will thank you.
Find out more about how Rockland Recovery helps people recover from unresolved trauma by contacting 855.732.4842.