Trauma comes in many forms and can have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s mental health. At an impactful age, teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to developing mental health issues associated with trauma.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an experience that can leave profound emotional wounds, affecting various aspects of life, including academic performance, relationships, and overall well-being. It can arise from a range of situations, such as physical or emotional abuse, neglect, accidents, loss of a loved one, or exposure to violence. For teenagers and young adults, trauma can be particularly distressing, as this pivotal stage of life involves significant emotional and psychological development.

The Impact of Trauma on Mental Health

Trauma can have far-reaching effects on mental health, causing emotional distress and disrupting daily functioning. Some common symptoms of trauma-related mental health issues include:

  • Re-experiencing: Flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, and activities that remind the individual of the trauma.
  • Negative Changes in Mood and Cognition: Feeling hopeless, losing interest in activities, having difficulty concentrating, and feeling detached from others.
  • Increased Arousal: Difficulty sleeping, feeling constantly on edge or easily startled.
  • Isolation and Social Withdrawal: Avoiding social interactions with family, friends, or activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Academic Challenges: Poor performance in school, difficulty concentrating or staying focused on tasks.
teen can't sleep due to trauma

Signs of Trauma in Your Teen or Young Adult

As parents, caregivers, educators, or friends, being attentive to potential signs of trauma is essential. Signs may vary from person to person, but some common indicators of trauma may be present in any of the following categories.

Emotional & Behavioral Signs

  • Emotional Numbness

  • Anger or Irritability

  • Anxiety or Fear

  • Mood Swings

  • Avoidance

Physical Signs

  • Fatigue and Low Energy Levels

  • Sleep Disturbances

  • Unexplained Physical Symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, or unexplained pain without a clear medical cause)

Academic & Social Changes

  • Academic Decline

  • Withdrawal from Friends and Activities

  • Poor Concentration or Memory Issues

Re-Experiencing Symptoms

  • Flashbacks

  • Intrusive Thoughts

  • Nightmares

Changes in Coping Behaviors

  • Substance Abuse

  • Self-Harm

Changes in Personality

  • Personality Shifts (withdrawal, agitation, or emotional instability)

Trust & Relationship Issues

  • Difficulty with Trusting Others

  • Isolation and Withdrawal from Emotional Connections

Suicidal Thoughts or Self-Destructive Behaviors

  • Expressions of Hopelessness

  • Self-Destructive Acts (desperate or impulsive decisions)

  • Suicidal Ideation or Attempts

If you or someone you know are thinking about suicide, call 9-8-8 immediately or visit

Treating Trauma

When it comes to treating trauma, there can be a variety of treatment approaches depending on the individual and their specific needs. These may include psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and self-help strategies.


Psychotherapy is an effective treatment approach for trauma that helps individuals process the traumatic event in a safe and supportive environment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a common form of psychotherapy that can help individuals identify and change unhelpful thought patterns, behaviors, and emotions associated with the trauma.

Therapy as a treatment can help with:

  • processing traumatic memories and emotions
  • developing coping strategies
  • post-traumatic growth
  • ongoing support and relapse prevention
  • creating a support network
  • celebrating progress and success



Medication can also be used in some cases to address symptoms of trauma. Commonly prescribed medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or antipsychotics. It is important to discuss a treatment plan with your medical provider to determine the most appropriate medication and dosage.

Lifestyle Changes:

Making lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms of trauma and promote overall well-being. Some examples of lifestyle changes include:

  • eating a balanced diet

  • exercising regularly

  • getting enough sleep

  • spending time in nature

  • practicing relaxation techniques (mindfulness, yoga, or deep breathing)

  • connecting with friends and family

  • joining groups or activities that bring joy

  • doing activities to promote self-care (journaling, drawing, painting)

Trauma FAQs

Are there specific types of trauma?
Types of trauma vary widely and depend on individual experience. Some common types of trauma can include physical or emotional abuse, neglect, accidents, loss of a loved one, exposure to violence, or natural disasters.
What should I do if I think my teen or young adult has experienced trauma?
If you are concerned about the presence of trauma, it is important to reach out for help. Reach out to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist who can provide support and explore what form of treatment may be beneficial. Dayrise Wellness offers specialized therapy services specifically designed for teens and young adults in need of support with processing traumatic experiences.
What is the best way to support someone who has experienced trauma?
Supporting someone dealing with trauma can be challenging, but it is important to remember that recovery is possible. It is essential to provide emotional support and understanding during this difficult time. Listen without judgment and validate their feelings; avoid making assumptions or providing advice unless asked. Encourage them to seek professional help and provide resources if they are feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, let them know you are there for them whenever needed.
How young can one be affected by trauma?
Trauma can affect anyone, regardless of age. Studies have found that children as young as two-years-old can experience psychological distress in reaction to traumatic events. It is important to address the needs of a child or teen experiencing trauma with support and understanding.
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