Emotional Trauma is the emotional response resulting from incomprehensible experiences based on various types of trauma. Suffering an attack, surviving an accident, or experiencing a natural disaster isn’t something everyone goes through. It’s not normal or natural to face these types of experiences. When we do, our brains and bodies remain impacted from emotional trauma. What we see, feel, and experience has a direct impact on our minds and our bodies which means trauma and health are very connected.
Three Types of Trauma
Trauma isn’t limited to a one-off event or accident. There are three main types of trauma.
Acute trauma: This type of trauma comes from a single incident that is often out of the blue and not typical for the environment. It can include witnessing a trauma, experiencing a trauma, or surviving an accident or illness. The emotional trauma attached to this is shock, grief, denial, and more.
Chronic trauma: This type of trauma is repeated over time and includes issues like domestic violence, homelessness, and other prolonged exposure to dysfunction. This can create more complexity in emotional trauma such as stress, fear responses, uncertainty.
Complex trauma: This represents someone exposed to a variety of traumas including multiple traumatic experiences as well as prolonged traumas combined. This emotional trauma is the most complex as it involves many layers of emotions such as anger, rage, fear, powerlessness, victimhood, snd more.
The Body Keeps the Score
Author Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD published the popular book The Body Keeps the Score illustrating how trauma impacts the body and causes a wide variety of mental and physical problems as well as emotional trauma.
Our bodies are designed to withstand emotional trauma. Our brains are specially hardwired to kick into gear when we face a traumatic experience. Moreover, our brains secrete hormones and send signals to our nervous system that help us act in the face of a threat and keep ourselves safe. But the experiences imprint on our mind too and can cause immediate and long-term issues, including-
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Anxiety and other mental health disorders
- Digestive issues and autoimmune diseases
- Increased risk for stroke or heart attack
You May Not Be Aware of the Impact of the Types of Trauma Has on Your Body
Sometimes a traumatic situation will immediately trigger a response in your body. Witnessing a tragedy or experiencing something traumatic can cause upset stomach, headache, or any number of other symptoms. Other times, your body may protect itself in the moment and seem to disregard what’s happened only to react later on when you may not make the connection. Either way, your body is keenly aware of what’s going on and has a conscious or subconscious reaction. The body is responding to emotional trauma.
People living with chronic or complex trauma may have normalized the sensations in their bodies. And have no awareness of the connection between their illnesses, diseases, or poor health and trauma.
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It’s Time to Connect the Dots
If you haven’t given much thought to your health and how it may be impacted by trauma, it’s time to connect the dots. Taking a look at your personal history and comparing it with your medical history can be eye-opening. Once you recognize a potential connection between your physical health and any emotional trauma you may have experienced (or are experiencing) you can begin to take a holistic approach to healing by looking at all aspects of health and healing to include mental, emotional, and even physical ramifications surrounding your health.