Trauma & Mental Health Disorders: The Connection
It’s no secret that trauma can have a profound and lasting impact on mental health. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, 70% of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at some point in their lives. And of those adults, 20% will go on to develop a mental health disorder as a result of that trauma. That means that 1 in 5 people who experience trauma will develop a mental health disorder.
So, what is trauma? And how does it lead to mental health disorders? Read on to learn more.
What is trauma?
Trauma is defined as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Some examples of traumatic experiences include, but are not limited to, witnessing a loved one being killed or injured, being the victim of physical or sexual abuse, or surviving a natural disaster. It’s important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event will go on to develop a mental health disorder; however, research has shown that there is a strong correlation between the two.
There are many different types of trauma, but some of the most common include:
witnessing or experiencing violence, such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, or warfare
being involved in a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake
being involved in a man-made disaster, such as a car accident or industrial accident
experiencing the death or loss of a loved one.
These are just a few examples—trauma can really be anything that causes physical or psychological damage.
How does trauma lead to mental health disorders?
There are many different ways that trauma can lead to mental health disorders. One way is by causing changes in the brain. When someone experiences trauma, it can cause changes in the structure and function of the brain. These changes can lead to problems with memory, concentration, and emotional regulation.
Another way that trauma leads to mental health disorders is by causing changes in the body’s stress response system. This system is responsible for regulating our fight-or-flight response—the way our bodies react when we’re in danger. When this system is constantly activated by traumatic events, it can lead to problems with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities that someone normally enjoys. Depression can also cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, and changes in appetite. Depression affects people of all ages and can be debilitating if left untreated.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder. People with anxiety disorders experience persistent and excessive fear or worry. This can lead to avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding certain places or situations that trigger anxiety. There are different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
Finally, trauma can also lead to mental health disorders by causing changes in our social support systems. When we experience trauma, we may lose trust in others or feel isolated from our support systems. This can lead to problems like social anxiety and agoraphobia.
As you can see, there are many different ways that trauma can lead to mental health disorders.
And unfortunately, these disorders can be very difficult to overcome without treatment.
If you or someone you know has experienced trauma and is struggling with mental health issues as a result, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to those who need them.
Trauma is a serious issue that can have lasting effects on mental health. If you or someone you know has experienced trauma, please reach out for help from a mental health professional. There are many resources available to those who need them.