The Side Effects of Trauma

It is estimated that approximately 70% of adults will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. The experience may occur during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Yet, regardless of how old the individual is at the time, the impact or significance of the experience, if you choose not to seek treatment, can forever alter your life. For that matter, 20% of those who experience a traumatic event early on may develop a trauma-related response or a mental health disorder directly resulting from these adverse experiences. Unfortunately, the memories and emotions that stem from such an event can be debilitating. They can trigger substance abuse, exacerbate a pre-existing mental health disorder, or trigger symptoms of a new previously undiagnosed mental health condition. Many types of therapy can treat the symptoms of trauma-related disorders when provided at an addiction treatment center with skilled, trauma-centered providers


An Introduction to Trauma

By definition, trauma is an emotional response to an event such as an accident, natural disaster, or other adverse experience that overwhelms your ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, and diminishes your ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences. Often referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, these reactions to trauma are quite common. When you experience PTSD symptoms, you may relive the traumatic experience through memories or dreams. You may also find that you go out of your way to intentionally avoid people, places, or events that may remind you of the experience. 

After experiencing a traumatic event, some people may develop symptoms that resolve themselves after a few days or weeks. However, long-term effects develop that can lead to substance abuse or other mental health conditions for others. The symptoms of trauma vary widely. They may range from mild to severe intensity and affect all areas of the body both physically and psychologically. Many factors influence how you react to a traumatic event, including your unique characteristics, pre-existing mental health conditions, or previous trauma exposure.


Physical Effects of Trauma

A strong diagnostic emphasis is placed on trauma’s emotional symptoms; However, trauma often presents in various ways. You may experience significant physical symptoms in conjunction with the emotions you are feeling. Some of the more common physical signs of trauma include pale skin, lethargy, fatigue, inability to concentrate, stomach upset, headaches, sweating, and an irregular or racing heartbeat. Also, you may experience increased anxiety or panic attacks in certain circumstances. 


Psychological Effects of Trauma

Emotion is one of the most common ways trauma manifests. Some of the more common psychological effects of trauma include denial, anger, sadness, and emotional outbursts. If you experienced a traumatic event, you might redirect some of the overwhelming emotions you feel towards others in your life, including friends and family members. For this reason, traumatic experiences can be difficult for both the victim and loved ones as well. 


Substance Abuse & Trauma

Trauma, especially that which occurs in childhood, has been linked to substance use disorders, including abuse and dependence. Substance use disorders are also highly common for those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mood-related mental health conditions. Some studies have shown that as many as 59% of people with post-traumatic stress disorder develop substance abuse problems and require addiction treatment to help mitigate the symptoms of trauma and achieve sobriety. 

Suppose you experienced a traumatic event in childhood or adolescence. In that case, it might increase your risk of substance use disorders due to attempts to self-medicate or dampen the emotional and physical symptoms you experience after the event. Also, gender and pre-existing mental health conditions play a role in linking trauma and substance abuse.


Rise in Malibu Is Here for You

If you have experienced a traumatic event and persistent or severe symptoms, including substance abuse, are impacting your daily life, it may be time to seek treatment. While for many, the symptoms of trauma resolve on their own, this does not happen for everyone. Ongoing emotional and physical symptoms related to trauma can result in significant impacts on your mental and physical health as well as relationships with your family and peers. If you or a loved one are ready to seek addiction treatment, whether related to trauma or not, contact our admissions team at Rise in Malibu today. 

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