Did you know that half of all people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime?
When we think of trauma, we often picture the emotional and psychological distress that lingers long after a harrowing event.
But there’s another side to the story, one that often goes unspoken: the profound ways in which trauma affects the body.
The profound connection between the mind and the body means that trauma can leave a lasting imprint on our physiology. It can manifest itself in a myriad of ways that can be challenging to identify and address.
To make things easier for you, we’ve put together a guide that breaks down the physical effects of trauma. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Trauma?
Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. It has a significant impact on a person’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. You might experience trauma if you’ve been exposed to events or situations that overwhelm your ability to cope. This might cause you to feel helpless, vulnerable, and disconnected.
Common causes of trauma include natural disasters, accidents, and physical or emotional abuse to life-altering events such as grief, loss, or witnessing violence. The intensity and duration of the traumatic event can influence how they perceive and react to the trauma. Their personal history, resilience, and support system can also play a role in how somebody reacts to trauma.
Trauma can create long-lasting consequences on a person’s mental health. This could manifest as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Understanding the underlying causes of trauma and addressing them through therapy, support, and self-care are crucial steps toward healing and recovery.
How the Body Reacts to Trauma
The human nervous system is resilient and adaptable. It is not, however, immune to the effects of trauma. When we experience distressing events, our bodies react in various ways to protect and preserve our well-being. These reactions can differ based on the types of trauma we face. It does not matter if it’s a sudden, life-threatening event, a long-term exposure to abuse or violence, or emotional turmoil related to grief or loss.
In response to trauma, our bodies release stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can heighten our senses. They will prepare us for the “fight or flight” response.
This heightened state of arousal can be life-saving during a traumatic event. But this response can also cause long-lasting issues. Chronic activation of the stress response system can cause a range of physical symptoms. This includes muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.
Furthermore, trauma can disrupt our immune system. It will make us more susceptible to infections and increase inflammation throughout the body. This, in turn, can contribute to the development of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
Ways to Release Trauma From the Body
There are several trauma healing solutions that can help people process and release the lingering effects of traumatic experiences. This will help them regain balance. They will also restore health. Over time they will be able to reclaim their lives. To heal from trauma, you will need to recognize the connection between the body and mind.
Engaging in practices like mindfulness meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help increase self-awareness. These are also great practices for facilitating the release of pent-up physical tension.
Another effective approach for releasing trauma from the body is engaging in somatic based therapies. These focus on the physical sensations and bodily experiences associated with trauma.
Techniques such as Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing can be particularly beneficial.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an evidence-based therapy shown to be highly effective in the treatment of trauma. EMDR therapy treats the emotional, somatic (body) and mental impacts of trauma. EMDR therapy involves the use of bilateral stimulation (e.g., eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones). This process helps the nervous system to reprocess traumatic memories. It is also effective at integrating them into the person’s overall life experience. This reduces the distress associated with the trauma.
In addition to these approaches, it’s essential to build a strong support system. This might include friends, family, support groups, and a professional therapist.
How to Choose a Trauma Therapist
Choosing the right counselor or therapist is a crucial step in your healing journey. First, what are the person’s qualifications? There are numerous “practitioners” stating that they are able to treat trauma. Many have at least some personal experience, but may have no real professional training. A licensed and trained therapist or counselor who has additional training and expertise in treating trauma are qualified to offer help. Seeing someone who does not really understand trauma or how to treat it can cause further damage and make things worse.
Someone who is, for example, a “trauma coach”, who is not also a trained therapist will not have adequate training to support you in treating the serious impacts of trauma.
The rapport and trust built with your mental health professional can significantly impact the effectiveness of therapy. There are numerous options for trauma therapy available. But it’s essential to consider certain factors. This will make it easier to find the most suitable therapist for your needs.
First, research the various therapeutic techniques. Your goal should be to find an approach that resonates with you. Next, consider the therapist’s qualifications and experience. You should also pay attention to their areas of expertise. They should also have experience working with clients who have faced similar traumatic events. Once you have a list of potential therapists, schedule an initial consultation. This will give you the chance to evaluate your rapport with them. Keep in mind that a strong therapeutic relationship is built on trust and empathy. This is why it’s vital to feel comfortable discussing your trauma with your chosen professional.
Learning How Trauma Affects the Body
Trauma is more common than many people realize. It affects the body and mind in profound ways.
This is why trauma sufferers might experience headaches and make it difficult to sleep. The good news is that there are many effective trauma healing solutions.
Are you ready to release trauma from your body? If so, we can help you. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to get started today! Center of Balance Counseling has multiple locations serving Oregon, Washington, Georgia, and Florida.