Trauma and Self Care

Often times when a person experience a traumatic event or multiple traumatic events they become less aware of their bodies, this is especially true if the trauma happens at a young age. Usually this will show up through a person struggling to meet their nutritional needs and eat healthy, having an inability to sleep, not taking care of their bodies, and struggling with interpersonal relationships. This article is a brief overview of how trauma effects a persons self care, all subject matter will be elaborated on in future articles.

Food and nutrition: Studies have shown that stressful life events, especially those happening around the time of puberty, can be major triggers for the development of an eating disorder because the person becomes less mindful of what their bodies nutritional needs are and more focused on what they look like and how other people see them. The person may also become less aware of the signals their body is sending them in regards to being hungry and full since they develop a distance from their body as a coping mechanism.

Sleep: Insomnia, day tiredness, nightmares, and sleep anxiety can often develop after a person has experienced a traumatic experience. “When the body is overstimulated, the brain is flooded with neurochemicals that keep us awake, such as epinephrine and adrenaline” (Krakow, B). When the body is sending us signals that there is dangers and that we cannot let our guard down or relax it becomes very difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. When a person does fall asleep they may be having nightmares about the trauma or have night flashbacks because it’s their mind and bodies way of dealing with the trauma.

The body: Trauma can show it in many physical ways in the body including pain at the site of the trauma, headaches and stomach aches, dizziness, and a variety of other physical symptoms. Often when a person has experienced trauma they become less aware of their bodies and have a harder time taking care of it in a variety of ways. Some of those ways include deliberately hurting their body, consuming substances that are damaging to their body, over excercizing, and not exercising at all. Many of these self neglect and self abuse behaviours can have detrimental short term and long term effects on the person who experiences the trauma in cause their life to become increasingly complex.

Interpersonal relationships: Often times following a trauma the person whom had the adverse experience will be struggling to understand and deal with their experience, this becomes complicated because they may feel they’re the only person that has had such a terrible life experience or that no one could understand what they are going through. They may also stuggle to trust people if their trauma was experienced as a result of another persons choices especially if they felt helpless and unable to stop the event from occuring. The other major effect on interpersonal relationships is the presence of flashbacks and reactions to memories of the trauma. The person who has experienced the trauma is having a body and mind reaction to a memory which is hard for them to feel and reexperience and the other person or people may not understand what’s happening to the person they care about and may feel guilty or as if they have caused the other person to have this negative experience.

Thanks for reading and all subjects above will be elaborated on in future articles.

Angela Englander

Reference:

Nauert, J. (2012, April 25). » Traumatic Events Can Prompt Eating Disorders – Psych Central News. Psych Central.com. Retrieved July 10, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/04/25/traumatic-events-can-prompt-eating-disorders/37811.html

Krakow, B. (n.d.). Trauma and Sleep. Trauma & Sleep. Retrieved July 10, 2014, from http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/trauma-and-sleep 

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