So, YES indeed trauma can affect your mental health. Just how does trauma affect mental health? It can make you more vulnerable to developing mental health problems. It can also directly cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some people misuse alcohol, drugs, or self-harm to cope with difficult memories and emotions. Depending on how you’re affected, trauma may cause difficulties in your daily life.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is a pervasive problem. Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, domestic violence, or natural disaster. Trauma does not go away but with effective evidence-based treatment, symptoms can be managed well and can remain dormant for years, even decades. But because the trauma that evokes the symptoms will never go away, there is a possibility for those symptoms to be “triggered” again in the future.
There are three main types of trauma: Acute, Chronic, or Complex
- Acute trauma results from a single incident.
- Chronic trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse.
- Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.
A Few Kinds of Traumatic Events
- Natural disasters, such as a tornado, hurricane, fire, or flood.
- Sexual assault.
- Physical assault.
- Witness shooting or stabbing of a person.
- Sudden death of a parent or trusted caregiver.
- Domestic Violence
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. Mental health is important because it can help you to:
- Cope with the stresses of life.
- Be physically healthy.
- Have good relationships.
- Make meaningful contributions to your community.
- Work productively.
- Realize your full potential.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- This is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.
- PTSD can affect a person’s ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends.
- A person with PTSD can often seem uninterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories.
- Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
- They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.
- PTSD is most often diagnosed, or confirmed, by a mental health provider.
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