The Physical and Emotional Effects of Trauma

Posted by on Jan 26, 2015 in Trauma | 0 comments

If you have recently been through a severe trauma, it is normal to experience a whirlwind of emotions and physical responses. Although trauma takes many different forms, most traumas affect both the body and the mind. It can leave you feeling confused, hurt, and exhausted.In order to recover from and move forward after a trauma, it is helpful to understand the process the body undergoes after a traumatic-event. Below, the physical and emotional effects of trauma are explained in further detail:

The Physical Effects of Trauma

Depending on the type of trauma you experienced, you may be left with real, very tangible damage to your body. Personal injury, rape, natural disasters, car accidents, fights, or illnesses are all examples of trauma that typically leave the body negatively altered in some way. Whether your body was damaged as a result of your trauma or not, most traumatic incidents affect the body physically even if no obvious injuries were sustained. Traumas that are severe enough in nature can also lead to the development of PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder.

Even without the presence of PTSD, it is very normal to experience disruptive physical side effects after enduring a trauma. There are many negative effects of trauma, the most common include:

  • Rapid pulse
  • Increased perspiration
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Nightmares
  • Daytime flashbacks & memories
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Heightened response to sights, sounds, or smells that were present during the traumatic event
  • Panic attacks
  • Loss of color/paleness
  • General soreness/aches and pains

While some of these effects can be mild and sporadic, many trauma survivors experience symptoms that are constant and severe. Short-term effects can last for several months. Long-term repercussions, however, can manifest themselves for much longer—perhaps for years.

The Emotional Effects of Trauma 

The emotional effects of trauma tend to be subtler, and therefore more difficult to diagnose and treat. Traumatic events can leave mental scars that last for years, with some never healing at all. Different types of trauma will affect different people in unique ways, but all traumas tend to leave people feeling vulnerable and afraid. If you find yourself feeling mentally out of whack since your traumatic experience, it is possible you have sustained a substantial emotional injury as a result of the event. Common emotional effects of trauma include:

  • Increased anxiety/fear
  • Feelings of confusion
  • Isolation
  • Shock/disbelief
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Guilt/self-blame
  • Numbness
  • Sudden episodes of sadness or anger
  • Depression

While they are often less obvious than physical effects, the emotional effects of trauma can wreak silent havoc on your mind and overall well being. If they are not dealt with, the memories and emotional wreckage left behind by your trauma can become heavy burdens you’ll carry for years to come.

Healing and Moving Forward

Physical and emotional changes are the body’s natural response to traumatic experiences. While the effects to your mind and body can be difficult to deal with, they are nothing to be ashamed of—and it is possible to find peace and comfort.

Therapy, conditioning, medication, and time are all key components that can help you continue to recover from your traumatic experience. While there is no universal way to deal with the pain that trauma leaves behind, recovery is possible with hard work and patience. While most people will experience trauma during their lifetime, some scenarios are far more damaging than others and will therefore require more time to heal.

As you attempt to move forward from your negative experiences, be patient with your loved ones and with yourself. Recovering both physically and emotionally is a complex process and judgment or guilt will only hinder your progress. Be kind, do not get discouraged, and never be afraid to ask for help. In time, you will be able to leave your trauma in the past and move forward with your life.

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