How Does Trauma Lead to Anxiety?

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Anxiety is a pretty common symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In fact, research has shown that most anxiety is caused by some type of trauma. If someone has gone through a serious trauma, the brain goes into hyper-alert mode, even months or years after the traumatic event took place.

The amygdala, a small part of our brain that alerts us to danger becomes over active. When even small events that remind us of the trauma or seemingly unrelated occurrences happen, the amygdala hijacks our brain, disrupting the connection to our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps us be logical, strategize, assess for real danger, and plan. Instead our limbic system gets stuck playing the same tune and it becomes hard for us to think critically, take action, and unfreeze our brain.

Anxiety has a way of taking over our life. The first way to address anxiety is to be able to identify what it looks like.

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Avoiding people or places
  • Isolation
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypervigilance
  • Becoming easily startled
  • Emotional volatility
  • Negative or unrealistic thoughts
  • Headaches
  • Overloaded schedule
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling numb

If you suffer from anxiety, it’s good to get help. Whether you read a book on anxiety, talk to a friend, or seek therapy there are a variety of ways to reduce or even eliminate anxiety from your life.