Trauma can hit even the strongest among us with great force. Of course, physical traumas and injuries are usually visually measureable and can lead to trauma-related physical pain, but emotional trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also have a profound effect on the human body.
Emotional trauma can cause long-lasting brain changes that may lead to addiction, depression, and a host of other concerns that can devastate lives if left untreated. When traumatic events occur, it can take a significant amount of time to get over the memories, the emotions, and the feeling of just not being able to feel safe.
How Psychological Trauma and PTSD Affect People Physically
When your sense of security has been shattered by an incredibly stressful event, your body can often react in different ways.
Trauma may occur when you experience the following situations:
- Events that occur without warning
- Events that you were not prepared to deal with
- Negative events that occurred multiple times
- Events that left you feeling powerless
- Events that left you feeling remorseful without ready resolution
Traumatic events can impact anyone. Those who are able to recover the fastest are those who have support, have learned skills to gain healing, and give therapeutic counseling a try.
PTSD Symptoms and Health Problems
The symptoms of trauma can manifest both physically and mentally. The mind is, after all, part of the body. Our brain can impact our response to pain, our ability to heal, and our ability to feel rested and refreshed. Issues like depression or anxiety may prevent us from eating healthy meals or keeping healthy schedules. In some cases, people try to feel better the best way they know how, and they may attempt the temporary “fix” of drug or alcohol use.
Some physical symptoms include the following:
- Night terrors and insomnia, which lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating
- Agitation and anxiety, especially in unfamiliar places
- Having an extreme startle reflex, this could result in rage or further withdrawing
- Withdrawing from social situations, or even personal relationships
- Anger, rage, and mood swings
- Feelings of being numb or otherwise disconnected from reality and those around you
- Aches and pains that have no other explanation
- Racing heart, high blood pressure, and diabetics may find their blood sugar levels difficult to control
- Chronic health conditions related to stress
PTSD often includes realistic flashbacks that intrude on your day-to-day life. This often leads sufferers towards substance abuse as a method of coping. Often seen in veterans, PTSD can also affect anyone who has undergone an extreme emotional and psychological event. This could include sexual assault, a car accident, the loss of a family member, or even difficulties in the workplace.
Treatment for Trauma and Addiction
Getting help for your trauma and addiction together can help you reclaim your life. A rehab facility that offers integrated treatment for PTSD and addiction can provide you with a safe, secure, and stable environment in which to process both your addiction and trauma at your own pace.
The combination of your addiction and trauma can make you feel like you will never gain control of your life again. You may feel as though you will never have a sense of safety or comfort. However, our team is equipped with the tools needed to help you process, analyze, and work toward healing from your trauma while also recovering from your addictions.
Further Reading About How Trauma Affects the Human Body
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton