Health Headlines: Lasting impacts of trauma

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Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 7:34 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Trauma, 70 percent of adults will experience some form of it at some point in their lives – that’s more than 220 million people in the US. It can impact our physical health, our mental health, the way we live our lives, our work, and even affect the people we are closest to. The thing about trauma is that nobody knows who will experience it or how they will experience it. In fact, trauma doesn’t have a timeline and can be triggered years, even decades after the event.

From something that impacted us all to tragedies that may only happen to a few...

Jessica Gold, MD, MS, Psychiatrist at Washington University, St. Louis says, “Trauma’s a really interesting thing where a lot of times we’re trying to bury it and not even consciously.”

Psychiatrist Jessi Gold says that many times we believe if we push forward, we can overcome its effects.

Doctor Gold explains, “We just spent a day dealing with it and then kind of pulled ourselves together and went back and did our thing. And so, sometimes, then we think we’re fine. ‘That obviously didn’t affect me as much as it might have affected someone else.’”

And then…a sound, a TV show, a photo, a conversation…and things start to change.

“So, that can look like anxiety; can look like trouble breathing.” Doctor Gold explains.

Doctor Gold says a body doesn’t forget. “That there are things that remind you of the trauma that you feel in your body and don’t know why.”

Maybe it’s a headache for no reason, a stomachache, muscle tension, a sore neck…

Doctor Gold says, “Sometimes, with therapy, you can start to figure out what it’s related to.”

Delayed emotional responses can also happen at any time.

Doctor Gold explains, “Emotional dysregulation will be what we would call that in fancier terms. But really, that just means, like, ‘I’m angry at people and I don’t know why, or I’m irritable and I don’t know why.’”

Understanding that trauma has no timeline, and that what you’re experiencing is a reaction from the past is the first step to healing in the future.

When someone you know is going through trauma, the best thing to do is be there for them and listen to them. But Doctor Gold says to avoid saying things like, “I know what you’re going through,” “I’m so sorry for you,” “It could be worse” and “It will be ok.”

Contributors to this news report include Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.