Panic Attacks

Other common symptoms or effects of trauma are:

Flashbacks and projection
The traumatic event had a beginning, a middle, and an end. But flashbacks can be even worse: You never know when they will occur or how long they will last. Traumatized people often “project” their trauma onto people and everyday situations, seeing risks and dangers where there are none.

Othering of self and others
After trauma, the world becomes sharply divided – between those who know and those who don’t. People who have not lived through the traumatic experience cannot be trusted because they cannot understand. Sadly, this often includes spouses, children, and close friends.

The numbing at children’s birthdays or weddings makes one feel like a monster, as if one is not part of the human race. As a result, shame becomes the dominant emotion and hiding the truth becomes the central preoccupation.

Disembodiment
Van der Kolk and his colleagues often found a distinct lack of physical coordination in their subjects: they had difficulty playing sports, pitching tents, rigging a boat, and even seemed stilted in casual conversation.

He eventually understood this to be symptoms of profound disembodiment. Their bodies are constantly bombarded with visceral warning signals, and they become experts at ignoring their gut feelings and numbing awareness of what’s going on inside them.

Panic Attacks
People who can no longer perceive what is going on inside them become vulnerable to any sensory change and react by either shutting down or panicking. It is now known that the trigger for panic attacks is not the initial trigger, but an escalating fear of the physical sensations that accompany the panic attack itself.

Chronically elevated stress hormones
Embedded trauma can be easily reactivated at the slightest trigger. Massive amounts of stress hormones flood the system and it takes much longer than normal for them to return to baseline levels. The insidious effects include memory and attention problems, irritability, and sleep disturbances.

Over-control and hypervigilance
Being traumatized means that you continue to organize your life as if the trauma is still ongoing. Each new encounter and event is continuously contaminated by the past in an infinite loop. A trauma survivor will spend all of their energy trying to suppress the inner turmoil, leading to withdrawal from life and a range of illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other autoimmune diseases.

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