The Range of Traumatic Symptoms

The rigid and fixed diagnostic criteria of PTSD as presented in the DSM-V are not an accurate representation of the range of trauma-related symptoms clients present. The Gentle Trauma Release© Institute believes we need to be aware of a wider and more diverse range of traumatic symptoms that show up once a human being has been exposed to a traumatic situation.

The Gentle Trauma Release Method© is based on the assumption that a person carrying trauma in their system can display any of the following symptoms. It should be noted, however, that having these symptoms does not automatically mean they are trauma-related. This is why we always spend time taking your history before addressing any symptom with you.

Physical Symptoms

Traumatized people often complain of numerous different types of physical symptoms. The most common ones are:

  • Chronic pain (e.g., abdominal pain, pelvic pain, back, neck and shoulder pain)
  • Muscle armoring
  • Physical numbness (not able to feel certain parts or areas of the body)
  • Migraines and/or tension headaches
  • Sleep problems (e.g., insomnia, nightmares, difficulty falling asleep)
  • Gastrointestinal problems and digestive disorders (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dysautonomia
  • Weight issues
  • Eating issues
  • Weakened immunity and/or auto-immunity issues
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depleted energy and exhaustion (even mundane tasks cause a lot of stress and energy loss)
  • Dependence on outside sources for stimulation and/or sedation (caffeine, alcohol, tranquilizers, nicotine, etc.)
  • Any other physical symptoms that appeared out of nowhere or got intense fast

Emotional Symptoms

These are some of the most common traumatic symptoms in this category:

  • Constant underlying anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias and/or irrational fears that you didn’t have before
  • Feeling emotionally frozen
  • Depression and/or apathy
  • Feeling emotionally numb (disconnected, dissociated)
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling highly stressed
  • Hypervigilance
  • Feeling on the edge
  • Excessive worrying
  • Feeling like life is an endless battle
  • Pessimistic thinking
  • Sense of hopelessness
  • Anger and/or rage
  • Short temper
  • Self-blame and/or self-directed anger
  • Feeling victimized and/or being re-victimized
  • Toxic shame
  • Toxic guilt
  • Co-dependency
  • Not being able to protect yourself
  • Not being able to stand up for yourself
  • Losing your voice and/or not being able to speak up when you need to
  • Porous boundaries
  • Lack of self-care and/or difficulty nurturing yourself
  • Lacking a sense of safety in the world
  • Feelings of abandonment
  • Not trusting in the goodness of others and/or the order of the world
  • Not trusting anyone
  • Not being able to feel self-acceptance and self-compassion
  • Lack of self-esteem and/or self-worth
  • Crying or sobbing episodes
  • Emotional flashbacks — out of nowhere you feel helpless, ashamed, trapped, despicable, unworthy, etc. and these feelings don’t seem to be related to something that just happened

Cognitive and Motivational Symptoms

These are often the most overlooked symptoms. In fact, these are some of the most common issues people come for coaching and yet, many times their connection to trauma is not recognized.

  • Inability to move forward with goals (professional or personal)
  • Feeling stuck with professional and/or personal goals
  • Procrastinating on important projects
  • Self-sabotaging important projects
  • Concentration issues
  • Fuzzy and/or scattered thinking
  • Brain fog
  • Memory issues
  • Feeling confused and/or disoriented
  • Distorted perception of time (e.g., losing chunks of time, time passes way faster/slower than you perceive it to)
  • Feeling like the future is just a repetition of the past
  • Not having a sense of a bright future
  • Not having something to look forward to in the future
  • Feeling like fight or flight all the time (everything is a matter of life or death)
  • Feeling everything is an emergency
  • Exaggerating and blowing things out of proportion (making a mountain out of a molehill)
  • Difficulty making decisions and/or agonizing over decisions made
  • Not trusting your gut and/or your instincts
  • Loss of meaning and purpose
  • Loss of connection to other people in the world
  • Not feeling resilient
  • Not having a clear, solid sense of self
  • Social disengagement
  • Withdrawal behaviours (hermit like)
  • Engaging in risky behaviours
  • Losing the capacity for intimacy (not just sexual), not being able to let others in
  • The Inner Critic (the critical voice within) is particularly loud

If you relate to any of the above, please contact me to schedule a complimentary Discovery Call to discuss your situation and to find out how Gentle Trauma Release© tools and protocols can benefit you.

Source: Gentle Trauma Release© Institute

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