5 Signs Emotional Trauma Is Impacting Your Health
There are events from your past that trouble you, and you’ve noticed some unhealthy behavior patterns emerging – but how do you know if your struggles have been caused by emotional trauma or something else? Research shows that a number of relatively common experiences, such as car accidents, being diagnosed with a health condition, a significant break-up, or a deeply embarrassing or disappointing experience, can result in emotional trauma.
Here are five signs that emotional trauma is affecting your life in unhealthy ways:
#1 You’re constantly nervous, fearful or sad.
Many people who have experienced some form of trauma re-live the event over and over again in their minds, leaving them in a continually hypervigilant emotional state. Some may be “on alert” at all times, while others may be guarded, withdrawn, fearful or sad. Symptoms of trauma include flashbacks, nightmares, exaggerated emotional reactions to triggering events, and terrifying or intrusive memories.
#2 You have physical reactions when you think about events or experiences from your past.
There are short- and long-term physical symptoms associated with emotional trauma. When experiencing or re-living a traumatic event, you may have the following physical reactions:
• Increased heart rate
• Nausea or vomiting
• Diarrhea or constipation
• High blood pressure
• Skin rashes
While none of these trauma symptoms are necessarily life-threatening, being in a constant state of alert takes a toll, leading to fatigue and a host of other physical and emotional problems.
#3 You feel emotionally numb and disconnected from the people in your life.
Do you shy away from close relationships? Or are you in a significant relationship, but not really all there? An inability to form satisfying relationships can be a sign of emotional trauma. Since making friends and going out can increase the chances that you’ll experience something that reminds you of the trauma or that brings up difficult emotions, many people struggling with trauma avoid social connections.
While this protective barrier may serve a purpose in the short term, it often leads to feelings of emptiness, guilt, hopelessness and emotional numbness. Isolation can also make it difficult to function at home or at work.
In order to heal from trauma, you’ll need to talk about your feelings and ask for support from others. Re-engaging in the activities you once enjoyed and rebuilding close relationships will combat isolation and re-ignite your passion for living.
#4 You struggle with drug abuse, compulsive gambling, sex addiction, or other addictive behaviors.
Emotional trauma is at the root of many addictive and compulsive behaviors. People who have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused, for example, have higher rates of drug and alcohol addiction and hypersexuality than others. Survivors of serious accidents or illnesses may abuse alcohol or drugs to cope with pain or other health problems. Many experts believe that people to turn to addictive behaviors in an attempt to self-medicate the symptoms of trauma.
#5 Your diet and sleep patterns are irregular.
An extension of the increased state of arousal characteristic of trauma is the disturbance of sleeping and eating patterns. Experts recommend following a structured daily routine with consistent times for waking, eating and sleeping. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet are lifestyle changes that can ease the symptoms of trauma and combat depression and anxiety.
Trauma Treatment at The Ranch
If self-help efforts aren’t enough, professional trauma treatment can help you explore the underlying issues in a safe, supportive environment. The Ranch, a residential rehab center in Nunnelly, Tennessee, provides comprehensive treatment for trauma and co-occurring disorders such as drug addiction, eating disorders, drug addiction and other mental health issues.
Trauma treatment at The Ranch is tailored to the individual and addresses all of the issues that stand in the way of a fulfilling, healthy life. Some of the trauma therapies employed at The Ranch include:
• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
• Equine Therapy
• Art Therapy
• Adventure Therapy
• Experiential Role-Play Therapy
• Native-American Spiritual Ceremonies
• Tai Chi
Emotional wounds run deep. Although traumatic experiences can negatively impact your life for years, you have the power to stop the suffering.