The Link Between Anxiety and Trauma: Treating Them Together


There are many different types of anxiety disorders, each with its own unique set of symptoms. However, all types of anxiety disorders share one common feature: they are all characterized by fear or anxiety that is out of proportion to the actual threat.

People with anxiety disorders often have a history of trauma, whether it be emotional, physical, or sexual. Trauma can cause changes in the brain that make a person more susceptible to anxiety. 

How Trauma Impacts the Brain

Trauma can cause changes in the brain that make a person more susceptible to anxiety. The amygdala, which is responsible for fear and anxiety, can be more easily triggered in people who have experienced trauma. 

The hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning, can also be impacted by trauma. This can lead to problems with memory, concentration, and learning.

Can Anxiety Cause Trauma

Some people may be more likely to experience emotional difficulties after trauma because of their anxiety levels. Anxiety can cause people to be more vulnerable to experiencing traumatic events. Trauma can lead to changes in the brain that make a person more susceptible to anxiety, which in turn may increase the risk of experiencing future trauma.

Treatments for Anxiety and Trauma

If you are struggling with both anxiety and trauma, it is important to seek treatment from a qualified professional. There are several treatments that can be effective for both conditions. Some common treatments include:

  • Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often effective for both anxiety and trauma. CBT helps people identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to their anxiety and trauma.
  • Medication: Medication may be prescribed to help treat both anxiety and trauma. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a common type of medication prescribed for anxiety and may also be effective for treating trauma.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a therapy that helps people focus on the present moment and accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can be helpful for both anxiety and trauma.
  • EMDR: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that helps people process traumatic memories. EMDR may be helpful for people who have experienced trauma and also struggle with anxiety.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that helps people to manage their emotions. DBT may be helpful for people who have experienced trauma and who also struggle with anxiety or depression. 

The Long-Term Effects of Untreated Anxiety

The long-term effects of untreated anxiety can be harmful to both your physical and mental health. Untreated anxiety can lead to:

Anxiety disorders: Untreated anxiety can lead to the development of an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder is a condition that causes significant problems in your life, including:

  • Fear or anxiety that is not controlled
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Constantly feeling on edge
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating

Health problems: Untreated anxiety can also lead to health problems, including:

  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Cancer

The Bottomline

There is a clear relationship between anxiety and trauma. Trauma can cause anxiety, and anxiety can cause trauma. This cycle can be difficult to break, but it is important to seek help if you are experiencing either of these problems. Treatment for anxiety and trauma can be very effective, and there are many resources available. If you are struggling, please seek help. You are not alone.

Get anxiety counselling in Guelph here at Chettiar Counselling & Associates. We provide a non-judgmental pain to process your pain with the help of our therapists who will help manage your anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Get a free phone consultation today.