Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

4 Ways Trauma Affects Your Body and Mind

Millions of U.S. citizens experience life-altering trauma each day, but most begin to heal within a few months. However, post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition impacting people who have been involved in or witnessed a traumatic event and continue to have symptoms for a long time. According to the Veterans Administration, 7-8% of the U.S. population will suffer from PTSD during their lives. With that in mind, clinics and therapists around the country now offer services designed to treat the unique needs of trauma patients.

  1. A Traumatic Event Has an Immediate Impact

Traumatic stress reactions are surprisingly common because so many things can trigger them. Essentially trauma happens when someone experiences a shocking event like combat, a shooting, torture, a natural disaster, or anything that creates a sudden sense of physical danger, leading to jarring reactions in the mind and body Trauma affects victims of horrible events and the first responders and medical personnel who treat them.

That is one reason that so many mental health professionals around the country have been trained to help trauma victims. Whether citizens of a small town in the south are searching for assistance or locals want to Find a therapist in Denver, CO, help is available. In many cases, professionals offer teletherapy, so it doesn’t matter where patients are located.

  1. Trauma Can Lead to Long-Term Mental Health Issues

Each person’s response to trauma differs, depending on factors like their background, life experiences, and emotional makeup. The CDC reports that virtually everyone has a reaction immediately after a shocking event, and reactions can lead to depression, fear, changes in appetite, altered sleep patterns, and dizziness.

While most people begin to feel better within three months of trauma, some people develop PTSD and do not get better on their own.

People living with PTSD often experience:

  • Avoidance: They stay away from feelings, thoughts, people, or activities related to their experience.
  • Re-living events: people with PTSD may have nightmares, flashbacks, and extreme reactions to life events. Many fear harm, feel guilty, and develop emotional numbness.
  • Extreme reactions: Sufferers are often easily startled and are overly alert. They may be irritable and get angry often.
  1. The Body Can Have Multiple Reactions to Trauma

Whether or not a trauma involves physical injury, a shocking event can eventually affect the body and the mind. When the body feels it is being pushed or undermined, it releases cortisone and adrenaline. It is automatic, and trauma victims cannot influence the process.

The aftereffects of the body’s reaction can lead to a series of effects that are sometimes labeled:

  • Freeze: The feeling of being unable to move
  • Flop: Doing what you’re told without question
  • Battle: Fighting or dissenting
  • Flight: Covering up or constantly moving
  • Grovel: Trying to please someone who hurts you

According to the University of the Arts, trauma victims often experience fatigue, headaches, sweating, and gastrointestinal upsets.

  1. A Trauma Can Alter Everyday Living

A person who has experienced severe stress can experience ongoing symptoms for months or years. The effects of trauma may come and go, but overall, they have a huge negative impact on well-being.

A trauma reaction might inhibit the person’s ability to care for themselves, confide in other people, or complete tasks. Their memory could be affected, and relationships often suffer. Victims frequently have trouble adapting to changes.

Millions of Americans suffer from conditions that are the result of trauma. The shock of trauma impacts everyone’s mind and body, but many people get better within a few months. However, some develop PTSD and have long-term problems. Reactions to trauma take a mental and physical toll that can make it difficult to maintain relationships, hold a job, and care for oneself.

Photo by Jason Yoder on Unsplash