How Does Mental Trauma Affect You Physically ?

PTSD, also known as post-traumatic stress disorder, occurs after you have been through a shocking or dangerous life event. Close to 10% of the population will experience PTSD at some point throughout their lives.

If you have experienced mental trauma, if you have PTSD or PTSD symptoms, or if you are concerned about your mental health, you can find help. Keep reading to learn more about the physical manifestations of trauma and how mental trauma affects your health.

What Is Mental Trauma?

Mental trauma can arise from a variety of events in your past that have had psychological effects. For many, this type of trauma looks like a traumatic childhood—any type of violent assault, accidents, or witnessing some other horrific event.

Most of these incidents that result in trauma are life-threatening and may trigger both emotional and physical responses.

What Are Physical Manifestations of Trauma?

Because traumatic events put your body through so much stress, there are many physical manifestations of trauma and PTSD. In fact, this type of trauma can make people more likely to develop health conditions like heart problems, obesity, diabetes, and more.

While there are many extreme physical manifestations of trauma, such as disease, there are also other physical reactions that are on a smaller scale. These include headaches, muscle tension, an upset stomach, extreme tiredness, and more.

If you are unsure if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, you can reach out to a doctor for a screening and an assessment.

PTSD Symptoms

PTSD symptoms can occur within months of a traumatic event, but may not even arise until years later. There are four types of PTSD symptoms. These are intrusive memories, changes in both physical and emotional responses, avoidance, and negative changes in thinking and mood.

One thing that is important to note about PTSD symptoms is that they can change over time. They may be more prevalent when you are stressed or when you are reminded of your trauma, or they may just get more intense over time.

Some people can have more than one type of symptom and they may vary over time and from person to person. Here is more information about PTSD and the common examples of each type of these symptoms.

Intrusive Memories

Some common examples of intrusive memories include flashbacks to your traumatic event, nightmares about the traumatic event, and severe reactions and distress that occur when you are in a similar situation as the traumatic event.

Avoidance Symptoms

Common avoidance symptoms include avoiding talking about the traumatic event and even avoiding people or places that remind you of the traumatic event. Avoidance keeps you from talking about the issue at hand. It acts as a way to bury your trauma and keeps you from overcoming your mental trauma.

Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood

If you are experiencing negative changes in thinking and mood, you may feel numb, detached, and even hopeless about your future. These negative changes make it hard for you to experience happiness and it keeps you from enjoying things you once loved.

Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions

Finally, PTSD can cause changes in both your physical reactions and your emotional reactions. For example, some people who experience this PTSD symptom are easily startled or frightened. They may always be on guard and paranoid about danger.

How to Find Help

There are many things you can do to find help if you are struggling with PTSD or any other type of mental or emotional trauma. While many have the natural instinct to withdraw and isolate themselves, this is one of the worst things you can do to deal with trauma.

It is important to continue doing the things that make you happy and being with others. It may help you to use others as a source of comfort. By talking things through, it can help you work through your feelings rather than fixating on the traumatic event.

Therapy is also a great way to find help as you are recovering from mental trauma. It isn’t a quick fix, but it will allow you to get to the root of your issues and overcome them.

It is important that you can’t just change how you feel. You can’t expect to “cheer up” overnight. If you are willing to put in the work, find a trusted therapist, and do things that help you feel like yourself, you can begin to recover from your trauma.

It is important to know that you can find help with your mental trauma recovery. While symptoms may vary over time, it is important to know when you should see a doctor. If you have had disturbing or severe thoughts, if you feel like you can’t get your life under control, or if you have any other serious issues, it may be time to talk to a doctor or therapist.

The sooner you get treatment, the easier it is to prevent your symptoms from worsening. Make sure you always reach out to a friend, loved one, or doctor when you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Learn More About Mental Trauma Recovery Today

If you have experienced mental trauma or have seen PTSD symptoms in your own life, you can find help! By reaching out to a mental health clinic, you can learn how to cope with and even overcome the traumatic events you have been through. If you are looking for a reliable mental health clinic, Solara Mental Health can help!

Our team offers comprehensive treatment for mental illnesses in San Diego, California. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you through a traumatic event.

Understanding Self-Blame: Why Do Victims of Abuse Blame Themselves?

Did you know that 7 to 8% of the population will experience post-traumatic stress syndrome at some point in their life? It’s important to remember that the trauma that causes this condition is never the victim’s fault. Unfortunately, one of the main symptoms of PTSD is self-blame.

This is troubling because self-blame can lead recovering victims down a dark mental health path — one that can lead individuals to self-harm. So why is it that victims of abusive situations blame themselves for the actions of others? In this article, we’ll help explain where this blame comes from and what you or your loved ones can do to address it. Let’s get started!

Where Does Self-Blame Come From?

It’s important to remember that self-blame isn’t always a bad thing. When we hurt others self-blame can make us acknowledge the hurt we’ve caused. From there we can learn from our mistakes and try to be more empathetic in the future. In this way, self-blame can make us more human.

Unfortunately, there’s a tendency for people suffering from middle to complex trauma to blame themselves for abuse. This is a problem because they often do it when they objectively were not responsible for it. This type of toxic self-blame can happen to any victim of trauma. However, it’s particularly prevalent for survivors of sexual and physical abuse.

Why is this? Well, in many of these cases the abuser is a loved one — a family member or a partner. Generally, these individuals are supposed to protect the victim. So, when they do the opposite, the blame tends to fall (incorrectly) on the victim instead. There is also the societal factor to consider.

As we will see, society often teaches victims of sexual abuse that their trauma was avoidable. So, self-blame related to trauma comes from a variety of different places. To understand in more detail let’s take a closer look at five common reasons why victims blame themselves.

Five Reasons Why Victims of Abuse Often Blame Themselves

The real reason why trauma victims self-blame isn’t always easy to find. In many cases, it can take months or years of trauma group therapy to find. However, some popular reasons are often cited. In this section, we’ll briefly dive into each of these.

1. Manipulation or Gaslighting From Partners

Many of the self-blame cases dealing with domestic abuse arise from instances of manipulation or gaslighting from the abusive partner. Often these individuals fail to take responsibility for their actions.

Instead, they will shift the blame onto the victims. Or, worse, they’ll convince the victim that the abuse isn’t even happening. This can be heightened when the abuser is considered nice by other people. This allows both the abuser and their peers, to downplay any of their actions. As a result, the victim blames the next most logical person: themselves.

2. Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is one of the plagues our society suffers in regards to sexual abuse trauma. This occurs when individuals blame the victim for their assault instead of the person that committed the assault. You’ve likely seen this type of blaming from family members, social media accounts, and even the media. Here are some of the common victim-blaming phrases you’ll hear:

  • “Why were they dressed like that?”
  • “Why were they drinking?”
  • “They shouldn’t have given mixed signals.”

It’s not hard to see why a victim would blame themselves after hear such awful comments. Unfortunately, when people hear that bad things happen to someone, their first instinct is to see the person as a bad individual. Indeed, a landmark psychological study seems to confirm this.

3. Toxic Self-Criticism

Toxic self-criticism is especially prevalent in childhood victims of trauma. This symptom occurs when individuals are unfairly blamed, or held to impossibly high standards.

This results in an internalized judgment that arises in the form of a negative voice. This negative voice tells the victim thing like “you’re bad” or you’re worthless”. The result is heightened self-blame and incredibly low self-esteem. When the victim’s standards are raised impossibly high, then it can even be debilitating.

4. Poor Self-Care

Victims of abuse often don’t take proper self-care measures after their trauma occurs. Often this is because they feel unworthy of any sort of care. Or, it’s because they’re forced to care for others and, as a result, don’t have time to care for themselves.

If left unchecked, then this lack of self-care can quickly turn into self-harm. In the victim’s mind, they often see themselves as deserving of punishment, even when they’re not.

5. Chronic Feelings of Anxiety, Guilt, and Shame

People who struggle with trauma and the self-blame that accompanies them often experience heightened emotional states. The most common emotions are also some of the most painful ones: anxiety, guilt, and shame. Typically, these emotions when the person is alone or not seeking therapy.

When isolated in your head, it’s easy to begin overthinking your trauma. This causes the chronic emotions to only get worse. If you want to learn more about the effect that self-blame has on the brain and emotions, then make sure to check out this article here.

Need Help Addressing Trauma? Contact Solara Mental Health

We hope this article helped you understand why victims of trauma often experience self-blame. Whether you suffer from PTSD yourself, or someone you love does, treatment is an essential part of healthy recovery. Unfortunately, finding a mental health treatment center that you can trust is often difficult.

However, if you live in the Southern California area, then look no further than Solara Mental Health. We believe in combining progressive psychotherapy with holistic life advice. This allows our patients to address the trauma in their lives while also learning healthy coping practices. If you’re ready to get the help you deserve for your PTSD, then make sure to get in touch with us today.

5 Important Complex PTSD Symptoms that You Shouldn’t Ignore

Post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, affects about 8 million people each year in the United States.

While you may have heard of PTSD, there is another type called complex PTSD, or C-PTSD.

But what is the difference between C-PTSD and PTSD? What are come complex PTSD symptoms and how do they overlap with PTSD?

In this article, you’ll learn more about C-PTSD and what symptoms you need to be aware of.

What is Complex PTSD?

To start, PTSD is a mental condition that arises due to intense traumatic events such as a car accident, a death, war, sexual trauma, or other similar instances. PTSD doesn’t discriminate and affects people at any age, even children.

Complex PTSD is a bit more involved. There are different symptoms and the duration of C-PTSD is longer, known as chronic trauma. It’s more likely to occur if the person experiences repeated trauma, such as domestic violence, neglect, sexual abuse, or any other trauma that seems inescapable.

This is why C-PTSD is stronger in people when the trauma occurs in childhood because children may be under the supervision of a parent or caregiver who is causing the trauma.

While the DSM-5 does not acknowledge C-PTSD as a complete mental disorder, it does agree that there are other symptoms that need to be recognized that may indicate a greater level of PTSD. However, it is included in the ICD-11.

Complex PTSD Symptoms

There are many symptoms of PTSD and not everyone will experience the same ones. Symptoms may appear a month or so after the event, but some could take longer. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Guilt
  • Sweating
  • Feeling sick
  • Distrust of others
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Anxiety or hyper-arousal

While some or all of these symptoms are present in C-PTSD, there are additional symptoms that point to C-PTSD. Here’s a list of possible symptoms you might find in someone with C-PTSD.

1. Preoccupied With Abuser

The relationship between the person and their abuser is a toxic one, and it’s likely to remain that way.

A person with C-PTSD may be preoccupied with their abuser. This could mean having a distorted image of them, allowing them to have dominance or control over you, or possibly plotting revenge.

2. Consciousness and Detachment

Trauma actually changes the brain in areas like the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. This can lead to a change in consciousness, meaning the person can actually forget the traumatic times.

It also includes feelings of detachment, in which you physically feel detached from your emotions. This type of detachment is called dissociation.

3. Difficulty Managing Emotions

The person may have difficulty managing their emotions. They may be prone to outbursts of anger, feelings of suicide, or extreme sadness. They may engage in self-destructive behaviors or isolate themselves from others.

4. Relationship Troubles

People with C-PTSD may find their relationships challenging, whether they’re in a new relationship or with family.

This is due to a lack of trust in people in general. The person may also search for someone to save them from their trauma or seek out a person similar to the abuser because they have no portrait of a healthy relationship.

5. Negative View of Self

Sadly, C-PTSD may result in a negative self-image. Because of the long-term trauma, those with C-PTSD do not view themselves in a positive, healthy light.

They likely have the same emotions similar to PTSD, but may have guilt, shame, feel helpless, or feel like they’re on a completely different planet than others. This makes it hard to connect with other people as well.

Remember, just as in PTSD, you may or may not have all of the symptoms associated with C-PTSD. It’s important to evaluate your symptoms and which ones appear and interfere with your life.

How is C-PTSD Diagnosed?

Because there’s no test for determining if someone has C-PTSD, it might be a little more difficult to pin down, especially since it’s newer to the mental-health world. However, your doctor can help you determine if there’s a diagnosis.

They may ask you to keep track of your symptoms and the severity of them. Then, the doctor may ask you about any traumatic events you’ve experienced and if you, or anyone in your family, have a history of mental health issues.

You may receive a diagnosis of PTSD, but if the trauma was chronic, they may diagnose you with C-PTSD.

Treatments and Management of C-PTSD

There are some treatments available for someone with C-PTSD, but it just depends on how severe the symptoms are and what symptoms are present.

A variety of medications are available to help control symptoms. Other therapies like cognitive processing therapy, holistic therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing also may provide some relief.

Supporting Those With C-PTSD

C-PTSD is difficult to understand for those who’ve not experienced trauma. But it’s a serious condition that needs to be dealt with gently. They may seem like a different person or reject any good thing or thought you try to help them with.

Though it’s sad, this is a normal part of C-PTSD.

Support groups exist for those that suffer from C-PTSD. Encourage the person to get help or therapy, and learn as much as you can about C-PTSD.

C-PTSD: There is Hope

Knowing complex PTSD symptoms can be helpful in differentiating between PTSD and C-PTSD. Because it’s a serious condition finding help sooner rather than later may result in a better quality of life.

Is someone you love suffering from C-PTSD? Our team of experts can help. Contact us today to learn more about our services.