Will Trauma Ever Go Away?

Will Trauma Ever Go Away?

Traumatic memories are events that cause intense fear, anger, sadness, or other negative emotions. 

These events can be so traumatic for someone that they feel like the event is happening over and over again. 

This experience is called "flashbacks" or "reliving the trauma".

Memories of this kind are often difficult to live with. 

They may even stop you from living your life in a normal way.

The question is: How long does it take for these traumatic memories to go away? 

The answer is complicated and varies from person to person. 

There are a number of factors that determine how long memory will stay with someone, such as how long ago the event happened and what kind of support they have received since then. 

It can also depend on whether one has gone through therapy to process the trauma. 

So will the trauma ever go away? 

That answer can only be determined by an individual making their own personal assessment of their situation and progress made on their own timeline.

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Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

Carrie Nelson, MS, LPCC

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Michele Ames-Hodges, PsyD, LPC

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Sara Robbins, LCSW

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Aurora, Colorado
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Sierra Brown, SWC

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Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Felicia Gray, MS, LPC

Pueblo, Colorado
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Joel Harms, MA, LPC

Joel Harms, MA, LPC

(720) 449-4121

The Impact of Traumatic Memories

These memories can affect an individual in a number of ways. 

For example, traumatic memories may lead to depression, anxiety, flashbacks, sleep disturbances, and avoidance of anything that reminds them of the trauma.

These impacts can have a lasting effect on those individuals that are dealing with their trauma.

There are many factors that determine whether someone can successfully process the trauma and heal from the broad range of life-altering effects. 

The memories themselves will never go away, but the power they hold can begin to diminish over time.

Factors that Affect How Long a Memory Lasts

There are a number of factors that affect how long memory will last. 

One of the most important factors is when the event happened. 

If it happened more recently, then it is likely that the traumatic memories will not go away as fast. 

This is because recent memories are more vivid and accurate than those that occurred in the past. 

However, regardless of when the event occurred, there is no set time for how long someone's trauma will last; it can last anywhere from a few days to many months or years.

Another major factor is what support they have received since the event occurred. 

If someone has received professional treatment like therapy or counseling, then these memories may fade faster than if they had not sought any help at all. 

Also, if someone had supportive people around them after their trauma occurred, such as friends and family members to talk to, chances are these memories will fade faster than if they were left alone.

Anxiety and PTSD from Traumatic Memories

Traumatic memories often lead to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The reason for this is that these memories can affect one's mood, thoughts, behavior, and other aspects of their life. 

They can show up in a variety of forms such as bad dreams, flashbacks, or constant worries.

The trauma may also make someone more sensitive to other things in their environment. 

For example, a person who has experienced a traumatic event may have a heightened startle response. 

This means they will be more sensitive to loud noises or other sudden movements.

Anxiety and PTSD from traumatic memories also often manifest themselves in flashbacks and nightmares. 

These can be so intense that the person may not be able to sleep peacefully at night without feeling like the event is happening all over again.

How to Deal with Traumatic Memories in the Short-Term

If you experience a traumatic event, there are a number of ways to deal with the memories in the short term. 

Examples include:

· Avoiding or minimizing things that remind you of the event

· Seeking out activities that give your mind other things to focus on

· Talking about your trauma with others who can understand and relate

These strategies may help reduce the intensity of flashbacks and help you live your life in a normal way. 

They also provide helpful coping mechanisms that can be used when you experience a flashback. 

You may want to consider these strategies if you've experienced a recent trauma and find yourself having reoccurring thoughts and emotions related to it.

Male sitting on the floor with his head resting on his knees

How to Deal with Traumatic Memories in the Long-Term

There are no quick, easy answers when it comes to coping with traumatic memories. 

But there are some things you can do in the long term to make it easier.

* Seek out a therapist

If you feel like you are having flashbacks or that your trauma is causing problems in your life, seek out a therapist.

A therapist will help you process the traumatic event and allow you to work through your emotions.

* Write down your thoughts

If writing doesn't work for you, try journaling about what triggers flashbacks for you. 

It's important not to ignore these thoughts, but rather talk about them and find ways to move past them.

* Take care of yourself

Maintaining healthy habits--such as eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep--will help lower your chances of experiencing stressful feelings. 

This goes hand in hand with seeking therapy and processing your thoughts. 

It's also important to limit any substance use that may be contributing to anxiety or depression.

* Reach out to others

Reaching out is important because people who have gone through trauma often feel isolated or alone when they're struggling with their memories or mental health issues related to traumatic experiences. 

Make an effort to reach out to at least one person who has been through something similar so that they can offer support and guidance on how they dealt with their own traumatic experiences.


Trauma is a complex issue and affects individuals differently.

There is no way to completely erase traumatic memories, but there are solutions to minimize their impact.

How soon trauma will "go away" depends on how successfully the individual was able to seek help, whether through a certified therapist or other support groups.

When someone has experienced a recent trauma, it can feel like the flashbacks may never go away. 

But given time, and the right amount of support, the impacts of traumatic memories can lessen dramatically. 

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April 15th, 2024

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