You hear about these issues all the time: Deaths with questionable circumstances, health crises impacting masses of people, political unrest, and much more.
By listening to stories about these traumatic events whether through a friend, TV, or social media -- you can be impacted by vicarious trauma.
Psychotherapist Nannette Funderburk joined the Good Morning Show to talk about this topic.
Dr. Funderburk explained what vicarious trauma is.
Vicarious trauma occurs when there is indirect exposure to a traumatic event through someone else's first hand account. People in helping professions can suffer from this but also anyone who has a relationship with a survivor of trauma or even someone who regularly watches traumatic things on television or online.
How does someone know if they're impacted by vicarious trauma?
There are many different ways that people can respond and of course, some will be impacted more than others. Some symptoms that you may begin to see are:
Emotional symptoms- Feelings of grief anxiety or sadness. You may also notice irritability or anger.
Behavioral symptoms- Increased isolation, increased substance consumption, a change in eating habits and sleeping habits.
Physical symptoms- Increased headaches, rashes, heartburn, among other physical symptoms.
Cognitive symptoms - Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
Spiritual symptoms - Loss of hope, decreased sense of purpose, feeling disconnected from others around you or people in general. Crisis of belief.
How does someone reduce the risk of vicarious trauma?
Once you believe exposure has occurred don't isolate yourself.
Talk to someone who you trust.
Maintain as much life balance as you can.
Nannette Smith Funderburk, Ph.D., LPCS
The Social and Emotional Learning Group, PLLC
Psychotherapists to Meet All of Your Counseling Needs
3300 Battleground Ave., Suite 202
Greensboro, NC 27410
Phone: 336-285-7173, Fax: 336-285-7174