How Does Trauma Impact Mental Health?


Traumatic events can happen to nearly all people and at any age. These events are serious, life-threatening, and can significantly affect how one views their world for a period of time. While many people are able to process these events and are able to move forward with their lives, some people will have great difficulty in getting past trauma. If left untreated, trauma has long-lasting impacts on an individual’s mental and physical well-being.

So how does trauma impact mental health? This article will further explore what trauma is and how it affects the brain. Additionally, you will learn the impacts of trauma on mental health. Most importantly, you will learn where you can find professional treatment for trauma. Is trauma and crisis impacting your mental health? Liberty Wellness’ trauma program will give you the tools and support you need to move past trauma and find lasting peace and happiness. Call us now to learn how our New Jersey addiction treatment center can help you.

What is Trauma?

Trauma can be defined as exposure to an incident or series of events that are extremely disturbing and even life-threatening. The effects of trauma can be long-lasting and have adverse effects on the way people function physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Examples of traumatic events can include the following:

  • Natural disaster
  • School shootings
  • Acts of terrorism
  • War
  • Physical, mental, and emotional abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Being a victim of violence

Trauma can occur at any age, but its effects are especially profound on children. Experiencing trauma is a common phenomenon in the United States. According to information provided by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, about 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse.

How Does Trauma Affect the Brain?

In our brain, the “flight or fight” response to dangerous situations is built in and was essential to ensure our safety. When we experience a traumatic event, that primal response works overtime in order to keep us safe—even if we aren’t in danger. Traumatic stress changes our brain chemistry, and those changes are dependent on the severity of the traumatic event we experience. Trauma activates the brain area known as the amygdala which helps us process emotions. An overactive amygdala can create chronic stress, heightened fear, and an inability to calm oneself.

Trauma can also shrink the size of the hippocampus where we store memories and helps us differentiate between present and past memories. Traumatic events make it hard to distinguish between past and present memories. Additionally, traumatic stress keeps old painful memories to the forefront and people may react with fear even if their environment doesn’t pose a danger. Prolonged traumatic stress inhibits our ability to make rational decisions and can make us feel unable to control our anxiety and fear.

How Does Trauma Impact Mental Health?

So how does trauma impact mental health? Perhaps the biggest consequence of trauma is the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People with PTSD will experience symptoms such as vivid flashbacks, recurring nightmares, and crippling anxiety. Those with this condition often avoid environments and situations which may trigger flashbacks. Many people who experience long-term trauma often turn to substances in order to cope with their feelings. Without professional help, self-medicating often turns into substance abuse.

Additionally, people with trauma may develop co-occurring mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Many people who don’t develop PTSD will instead develop some form of anxiety disorder. Also, people can also develop trauma-induced depression.

Liberty Wellness Provides IOP Mental Health and Trauma Treatment in New Jersey

Struggling with trauma is mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. If you or a loved one are fighting a losing battle against trauma, you can feel like there is no hope and you feel you will live in a nightmare for the rest of your life. Fortunately, Liberty Wellness can help. Liberty Wellness is a top-tier trauma treatment rehab in New Jersey, offering personalized evidence-based programs to meet your specific needs.Our expert staff will work with you every step of the way during treatment and will give you the tools and support you need to transform your life. Don’t struggle with trauma another day; call Liberty Wellness and begin your lifelong journey toward happiness and health at our drug and alcohol rehab in Berling, New Jersey

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