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Is it Anxiety or Trauma?

Many people do not realize that both anxiety and trauma can present in very similar ways. In fact at times, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. When we hear the word trauma, usually the first thing that comes to mind is a combat veteran that has returned home from war, or survivors of mass shootings. Trauma can occur from a one-time event or an ongoing situation. There are many types of situations that can cause emotional and psychological trauma-an accident, or natural disaster, a violent attack, losing a loved one, surviving sexual abuse, living through a pandemic, etc.

Anxiety on the other hand is both our mind and body's way of responding to a fear of what might happen that may or may not be realistic. Experiencing some anxiety is both normal and healthy. It helps us to prepare for an unknown event, like preparing for a school presentation or to quickly react to an outside threat. But when it is happening on most days due to a wide range of situations or issues, it can begin impairing different aspects of daily life. Here are some of the ways that trauma and anxiety are both different and similar:


  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

  • Self-blame

  • Risk-taking behaviors

  • Memory problems

  • Dissociative symptoms

  • Not trusting of others

  • Inappropriate guilt


  • Intense worrying

  • High levels of persistent anxiety

  • Anxiety in various situations

  • Worry focused on the future

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

Both trauma and anxiety are similar in which both can be characterized by difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, irritability, hyper vigilance, negative thinking, and extreme worry. If you are in the process of either healing from trauma or experiencing overwhelming anxiety, let's set up a complimentary consultation to get you on the path of feeling your best.

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