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Trauma and How it Affects Our Mental Health and Even Our Body Physically

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

 Trauma is caused by profoundly distressing and disturbing events such as accidents, violence, abuse, and loss. Learn about the physical and mental effects of trauma.

Trauma is defined as the response to disturbing or distressing events. While people often can cope and move past events, a traumatic event leaves you unable to cope and make you feel helpless. 

While some traumatic events are physical, others are psychological. The most common sources of trauma for that reason include the death of a loved one, witnessing violence, domestic violence, rape, accidents, or even natural disasters.

Regardless of the cause, trauma affects the mental and physical well being of an individual.

Physical effects of trauma

1. Pain

Trauma can cause physical pain, even when an individual has healed. Traumatic events such as domestic violence and accidents cause an increase in anxiety and arousal of emotions, which create defects in the body's pain coping mechanism.

Anxiety makes a body more susceptible to pain. Anxiety-related trauma leads to the over-activation of the norepinephrine system, making the body more sensitive to pain.

2. Illnesses

Traumatic events through early life, like living with a dysfunctional family and abuse, can increase someone's chances of developing complications like high blood pressure. Studies show that people who have experienced stressful events at different points have higher blood pressure than those who have not experienced the same. 

If trauma is not treated, it may escalate to other serious symptoms of high blood pressure, such as seizures and severe headaches, affecting vision.

3. Fatigue

Trauma can make someone tired. Due to the emotions involved, such as anger, high reflex, anxiety, and fear, the body becomes drained fast, leaving you tired. Also, note that trauma is associated with nightmares, terrors, and insomnia at night. This will affect the quality of sleep you have, leaving you fatigued and also impairing your concentration. 

Mental effects of trauma

Most of the effects of trauma are mental. Trauma can affect the way an individual relates to others and how they also feel about themselves. Trauma has been associated with mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or even anxiety.

Experiencing a traumatic event can lead to borderline personality disorder development or lead someone to substance and drug abuse. Long-term mental effects of trauma can be self-injury and eating disorders, which also take a toll on your physical health.

Take away

People who have experienced traumatic events are encouraged to speak up and get help to deal with trauma. Trauma can be treated with medication and therapy, which help individuals find healthy ways to cope and work through their feelings. RSM (Retracing Sequence Method) is an amazing therapy to help anyone heal from trauma.

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