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Physical Effects of Trauma on the Body

Experience clinician-run addiction treatment at Red Oak Recovery® in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains

Physical Effects of Trauma on the Body

Untreated emotional trauma is a severe health issue that requires professional trauma treatment for men. Traumatic experiences can have a detrimental effect on a person’s physiological state, causing immense physical suffering over time, in addition to the emotional pain experienced by the survivor. The intense physical effects of trauma are often unexpected and typically misdiagnosed since people usually do not associate the two when they go to their doctor. Instead, they may try to treat the pain on their own. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol to manage their trauma. In such cases, they eventually need help to treat their dual diagnosis of a substance use disorder and a traumatic mental health condition.

Red Oak Recovery® has trauma treatment programs that work to address the root cause of substance use disorders, including those stemming from the hidden and physical effects of trauma. We know that trauma-informed care is critical to providing the most effective therapies for people who have struggled with a traumatic experience. Our compassionate staff in our tranquil, safe center offers every client the opportunity to heal through evidence-based and holistic therapies. To learn more about treatment that can heal substance use and the physical effects of trauma, please contact Red Oak Recovery® today at 866.457.7590.

The Physical Effects of Trauma

Experiencing trauma often causes a variety of physiological symptoms. Individuals might experience disorientation, fatigue, mental agitation, emotional blunting, dissociation, and heightened arousal and anxiety. You might experience all or none of these symptoms or any number of unlisted symptoms due to trauma. An increase in physical exhaustion can result from the continuously heightened fight-or-flight survival mode in which a trauma survivor exists. Anxiety can cause nausea and dizziness, and severe tension headaches, often due to jaw clenching. When people are repeatedly anxious and stressed, they feel it in their bodies as their muscles tighten and constrict. Over time muscles become exhausted and depleted, and the whole body remains in a constant state of fatigue. This state decreases the ability to engage in physical activity.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the body’s central system of stress responses, is greatly affected by trauma experience. The HPA axis is where hormones interact with the nervous system to help the body deal with stress. In certain situations, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are crucial. Cortisol plays a vital role in the body’s ability to fight stress and repair tissue. In many instances, cortisol is necessary for the human body to carry out its functions. Despite its usefulness, steady cortisol released due to the ongoing traumatic stress response can have toxic effects on the body. These adverse effects include heart issues, brain imbalances, diabetes due to blood sugar imbalances, and even increased fat deposits around the midsection.

How Trauma Affects the Body Indirectly

In addition to immediate and measurable physical effects often experienced by trauma survivors, the indirect effects of trauma can be the most destructive of all to the body. Untreated emotional pain leads to many maladaptive coping mechanisms. Some preventable possibilities of untreated trauma that harm the body are:

  • Chain-smoking cigarettes
  • Binge drinking
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Drug misuse
  • Generally unhealthy eating choices and disordered eating
  • Mental health states cause somatic symptoms and cause people to isolate themselves from others, which often furthers physical and psychological health decline
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • The general neglect of one’s physical health, such as missing doctors, skipping medications, or lapses in hygiene

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it may be time to seek trauma treatment.

Healing the Side Effects of Trauma Through Therapy

Trauma can result from significant life events like enduring a natural disaster, shocking military experiences, rape or sexual abuse, or intermittent experiences of abuse, neglect, or bullying in childhood. Studies show up to 90% of American adults have experienced a traumatic event. People experience trauma in a multitude of ways, and there are countless modes of treating it. Still, the fact remains that in the majority of cases, professional trauma therapy yields the best outcomes.

Professional trauma therapy is crucial to rewiring the brain to live in the present rather than existing in the past trauma. By recognizing the thread that links core wounds of the past trauma with unsettling feelings of the present, individuals begin to unravel the connection and heal their sense of self. The goal is to eventually sever this thread altogether and gain a sense of peace. This level of healing is often not possible before completing some form of trauma therapy. In addition to uncovering emotional core wounds, proper trauma therapy treatment instills healthier coping mechanisms to deal with the pain. Patients learn new strategies and skills to approach life’s unpredictable circumstances, facilitating a healthy lifestyle and resilience, even in future adversity.

Find Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®

Red Oak Recovery® is an addiction recovery and mental health treatment facility specializing in whole-person healing, mind, body, and spirit. We offer various therapies, group activities, and medical treatments that help men address their trauma head-on through a well-rounded approach. Untreated trauma has adverse effects on the spirit, but it takes a drastic toll on the body.

Don’t let trauma continue to run your life. You can learn to live a happier, healthier life when you commit to getting better. If you’re ready to address your trauma and begin the healing process today, please contact Red Oak Recovery® at 866.457.7590.