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The human body is incredible in the way that it responds to trauma and traumatic events. The brain has certain plasticity when it comes to positive and negative cognitive influences. While it may be a quicker healing process when we are dealing with physical wounds, our emotional wounds may take a little longer to heal and some may stay long after. This can lead to emotional numbness, emotional processing issues, and anything else our brain presents us with when we are faced with a stressful situation. 


When we are talking about trauma, we are talking about a severely emotionally upsetting life event or occurrence, such as a death in the family, sexual assault, an accident, a natural disaster, and any other extremely stressful emotional situation that you may encounter. This trauma can be distinguished into three categories: acute, complex, or chronic. There are also more severe consequences to trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or acute stress disorder, which is less severe than PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most extreme forms of trauma-related emotional responses, but you also do not have to have PTSD to experience the effects of trauma thereafter. While some of the symptoms can be emotional responses, some of them present as physical symptoms, and without proper diagnosis it can seem to present as something else.


                                                                            Five ways trauma can affect your body:

1. Muscle Discomfort and Pain

Trauma that goes unresolved can present itself in physical symptoms, such as muscle aches and pain. Individuals can experience chronic tension, shoulder discomfort, or tightness in the hips, chest, and even the jaw. These symptoms can lead to health complications such nerve pinching or disruption around the body. 

2. Hormones

When looking at any high-stress situation, we see that our body releases different types of hormones in response to this, these hormones are called cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones get released into our bloodstream and elicit responses based on the situation and the stress level. These hormones are released to help our body’s response to these high-stress and high-anxiety situations and are a normal and healthy response. Though, if released too often or if too much is released, it could negatively affect our health and even be toxic. 

3. Compromised Immune System 

Along with many other physical symptoms, stress and trauma can directly affect the effectiveness of your immune system. You may be more susceptible to common illnesses like the common cold and the flu. This may even worsen the symptoms or even extend the duration of the illness. It is also seen that trauma and stress related to trauma can be associated with higher rates of asthma attacks. 

4. Sleep Disruptions

Trauma and stress-related situations can also lead to sleep disruptions. These disruptions can even develop into disorders, such as insomnia or hypersomnia and even night terrors. Insomnia is the phenomenon of not being able to sleep, while hypersominia is an excessive amount of sleep during the night and even the day. Having trouble sleeping can affect your day-to-day cognitive capability and functioning, as well as affect your mood and temperament. 

5. Physical Effects

There can be many physical symptoms or effects elicited, some of these being aches, pains, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, depression, and low energy. This can lead to possible dissociation from one’s self and others around you. 

Trauma presents itself in many different ways, and it is not just about the actual event. It is also about the response to the experience and how one deals with trauma as a whole throughout their life. There are many resources available for those who are affected by trauma, and some of these can be a counselor, a friend, or family, and some somatic-related therapies such as yoga and dance. All are seen to have a positive effect on one’s sense of self and stress/anxiety level and can be useful in the healing process. The effects of trauma can be resolved through some of these methods and can lead to a healthier life.


If you or someone you know has experienced trauma or a traumatic event, please speak to a counselor today to help start the process to recovery.