Adverse life experiences are linked to chronic health conditions.
A divorce, child abuse, assault, natural disaster, bad car accident, drug abuse, mental health conditions, sudden loss of a loved one, being a long term care taker... if these are anywhere in your past you can bet your health is being impacted today.
These circumstances are just a few common traumas that many people experience. A trauma is considered to be any event or series of experiences that overwhelms one's ability to cope.
These experiences range on a spectrum from less extreme to most extreme but are typically subjective in nature. The sad part is that 86% of women will experience trauma at some point in their life. When we look at women who have already experienced one trauma, they are 99% guaranteed to experience more. This is a phenomenon called compounding trauma.
Compounding trauma is a build-up of multiple traumas.
Many times they are related and cascade. For example, someone who grew up in poverty and extreme financial distress may be more likely to encounter sexual abuse, gun violence and drug abuse. With each trauma that occurs, we are more likely to experience further trauma and are more likely to have our health impacted in the future. It really is so unfair.
By being aware of the impacts of trauma and how trauma can be cumulative we can mitigate risks AND fortify our health and resiliency for future negative life altering moments.
Health Impacts of Trauma
The more trauma one experiences or the more impacted one's life is from these adverse events, the more likely the person is to experience significant health consequences. Combine this with lifestyle habits, environmental factors and genetics and our health may end up being a ticking time bomb.
PTSD, anxiety, depression , personality disorders, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, increased rates of injury, obesity, osteoporosis and cancer are among the chronic illnesses that are provoked by trauma.
Behavioral Changes from Trauma
Trauma changes the structure and physiology of the brain. These changes make us more susceptible to mental health struggles including:
- Personality Disorders
- Relational distress
- Eating Disorders
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The trauma creates coping mechanisms that serve as protection at first. If not addressed these coping mechanisms spiral and become long-term health issues.
Physical Impact of Trauma
Coping mechanisms can lead to unhealthy habits like emotional eating, sleep disturbances, lack of physical activity, drug and alcohol dependency and more. These coping mechanisms become their own forms of trauma. The physical impacts of trauma we are talking about though occur on a biological level that results from enduring extreme levels of stress.
When you experience stress or trauma your nervous systems sympathetic response kicks into overdrive. This is a natural alarm system that helps us survive. When we are in stressful situations for prolonged amounts of time, we can remain "stuck" in overdrive. The results are devastating on virtually every system in our body. This ages the body quicker and wears down all systems faster. Habitual states of any stress lead to increased inflammation and free radicals in the body. This chronic inflammation is associated with chronic heart disease, cancer and many auto-immune conditions.
The Consequences of Not Getting Help
The sad reality is that most people who experience trauma do not get help. Only 1 in 5 people who experience traumatic events will ever seek help. Many do not get help until much later in life, specifically for those in cases of childhood abuse or sexual assault.
There are many barriers to getting help including finances, safety, environment, education level, available resources, support, and awareness of the events that have occurred.
Most times the trauma response creates defense mechanisms that actually prohibit one's willingness to seek help. These can include:
- Avoidant Health Behavior
To name a few...
What you can do to Reclaim your Health! Book a call today
The average woman comes to us at Empowered RX 1-2 decades after the trauma they experienced occurred. Most of them will have been in and out of therapy finding some success in understanding and processing the events that occurred. None of them have sought help for their health deterioration OR they have gone through life struggling with health and blaming themselves, creating further shame and stress.
While therapy, pharmacology and psychiatry may be important parts of treatment... there are three other factors that NEED to be in place to heal from trauma effectively.
All of these components decrease inflammation, stabilize hormones, increase internal and emotional health. If any of these factors is out of place, you can guess that the trauma you experienced (even decades ago) is going to impact your health down the road.
The issue is that those who have experienced trauma don't always see results with traditional goal setting and many find they fail to successfully reach their health goals. Finding a trauma-informed Coach who can help you evaluate your health as it relates to trauma is PIVOTAL. If you've experienced trauma of any kind we recommend that you
With an Empowered RX Coach to see what is really going on with your health and all the obstacles you are facing.
Have you tried to lose weight but find nothing works?
Are you always tired even though you are spending 8 hours in bed?
Do you constantly feel muscle tension?
Are you getting injured a lot?
Are you struggling with emotional eating?
How about motivation?
We tend to beat ourselves up for these things even though the reality is that they are caused by trauma. Once we acknowledge this and start to truly address our health issues we see the sky is the limit and all of our goals become achievable.
This is where we come in! We help YOU rebuild your life after trauma!