Trauma (Part 2): Symptoms of Trauma and Effective Therapies

By Family Therapist, Judi Jenett

In Part 1 of the trauma blog series, I explained how complex trauma, adversity early in life, and untreated psychological trauma is often the root of addiction.

In Part 2 of this blog, we explore the symptoms of trauma and effective therapies that have been scientifically proven to help trauma survivors cope better.

Symptoms of Trauma

In severe cases, the person who has been harmed as a result of a deep rooted trauma may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is characterized by recurrent, unwanted distressing thoughts and flashbacks.

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) include irritability, explosive outbursts and aggressive behavior. Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Constant feelings of danger

Self-destructive behaviors such as drinking too much or driving too fast as a way of anesthetizing the pain may become a daily occurrence. Life may become unbearable to the point of such despair that suicide may seem to be the only way out.

Reaching Out for Help

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, reach out for help straight away. Contact your doctor, mental health provider or other health care professional. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here in the United States is 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) trained counselors will be standing by.

Remember, with the right treatment, self-help strategies, and support, you can speed your recovery. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on. Using mood-altering substances will not help you work through your pain, working through trauma will, and this requires courage and commitment.

Evidence-based Treatment Methods

Some of the modalities incorporated in the treatment of trauma symptoms include:

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma and many other mental health problems. Scientific and evidence-based research has established EMDR as an effective treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Clinicians have also reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:

  • Addictions
  • Pain disorders
  • Complicated grief
  • Panic attacks
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Disturbing memories
  • Phobias
  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress reduction
  • Sexual and/or physical abuse
  • Body dysmorphic disorders
  • Personality disorders


Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that utilizes the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious change to our thoughts, feelings and behavior. The subconscious mind is considered to be the source or root of many of our behaviors, emotions, attitudes and motivations.

Experiential Workshops

Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience and involves actions, movements and activities rather than the more traditional “talk therapy.” This approach encourages patients to identify and address hidden or subconscious issues through activities such as role-playing, guided imagery, the use of props, and a range of other active experiences.

One of the many advantages of experiential therapy is that the experiences and activities that form the core of the process provide opportunities for the therapist to observe patients in situations where the patients are not focused on the therapy itself. Change, emotional growth, and personal empowerment are among the benefits of participating in an effective experiential therapy workshop.

Group Therapy

Probably the biggest advantage of group therapy is that it helps a patient realize that he or she is not alone — that there are other people who have similar problems. This is often a revelation and a huge relief to the person.

Patients listen to each other and openly provide feedback; these interactions give patients an opportunity to increase understanding, try out new ways of being with others and learn more about the ways they interact. Most people find that they have important things in common with other group members, and as others work n concerns, they in turn can learn much more about themselves.

Vibroacoustic Therapy

Vibroacoustic therapy combines the physical vibrations of relaxing music with the vibrations of Pulsed Low-Frequency Sine Tones. The process of Vibroacoustic therapy involves the use of recorded music, played through an amplifier and delivered to the body via a Vibroacoustic bed or chair. The physical vibrations of both the music and the low-frequency sine tone are felt in the body and promote a feeling of calm. This form of therapy is a safe, drug-free, non-invasive approach to reducing pain, hyperactivity, stress and anxiety.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a safe and effective way to soothe physical pain and to manage stress. Trauma survivors need to feel safe, valued, in control, and open enough to be intimate with boundaries and trustful with others. Massage therapy provides a comfortable and relaxed setting to help trauma survivors manage their symptoms. While massage therapy can trigger traumatic memory, it’s also a powerful healing tool to help patients grow and thrive through healthy nurturance, intimacy with boundaries, and loving touch.

Receive Holistic Services at Restore

The Treatment Center recognizes the importance of an integrative program that treats both substance abuse and the accompanying trauma that often exists. Patients can receive hypnotherapy, vibroacoustic therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic care from highly trained therapists at Restore, our holistic care center. The staff at Restore understands that recovering from trauma combined with chemical addiction takes time.

Patients need time to heal and to mourn the losses they have experienced. If you have been exposed to a traumatic event/s during childhood and beyond and have turned to drugs and/or alcohol as a coping mechanism, please reach out to an admission counselor today and call (866) 295-6003. They are available to answer any questions you may have about our services.

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