There are many physical and mental health issues, survivors of complex trauma endure. They can range from mildly life impacting – to severely life impacting.
I write a lot about the mental health issues, that develop as a result of ongoing abuse, including by ongoing child abuse, complex trauma and severe repeated abuse and trauma. The mental health issues that can develop are Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), severe PTSD, depression, anxiety and there are more. Many mental health illness/disorders can be triggered in particular by childhood trauma and abuse.
This article highlights, the physical health issues that many also develop, as well as the mental health issues… as trauma affects physical health, as well as mental health.
“Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up.
Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.
This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer.
An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.”
~ Dr. Nadine Burke Harris – TED Med 2014
On 14th June 2017, I asked my amazing complex trauma community audience, to list the physical health issues they endure as a result of complex trauma.
These were some of the responses…
Fibromyalgia muscle pain, due to decades of body hyper-vigilance, headaches, dizziness, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, exhaustion.
Adrenal insufficiency from chronic stress
Anorexia (past), still have chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue, IBS, other digestive issues, women’s problems, detoxification issues, vitamin D deficiency, all I think linked. I think some of that is to do with the anger being stored in the liver. All to do with trauma being trapped in the body & DNA. Epigenetic etc.
Headaches, unable to distinguish the here and now physical symptoms versus flashback body issues, chronic pain ( but I also have physical injury ) I think muscle tension increases pain during stressful times, anniversary dates (months).
I have developed Pseudo-seizures due to the trauma and chronic stress I endured. When I feel threatened I start having tics. If I have to deal directly with my abuser, attend court or something that triggers my PTSD I actually have a seizure. The Psychiatric Neurologist said that the abuse and chronic stress has taken a physical form. It’s repairable through intensive therapy. My PTSD brought on my Fibromyalgia about 10 years ago. My chronic pain and tics/seizures have made it so that I am unable to work anymore or drive. It’s devastating.
Due to Complex PTSD – my worst physical symptom was inability to eat without severe vomiting , which in turn caused serious acid reflux., weigh loss etc and also stripped the enamel off my teeth.
IBS-d (which is horrid for me) headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite or too much appetite, muscle tension and pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, GERD. Just off the top of my head. Hyper-vigilance and anxiety is the cause of much of it.
Sharp muscle spasms in my neck. Debilitating stress headaches.
I have IBS, hyper-vigilance and hypertension. Blood pressure couldn’t be read the other evening as it was too high? Cold feet and sweaty. Muscle aches….feel like I’ve run a marathon. Exhausted.
Chronic migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, psychosomatic joint pain in my hands, morbid obesity.
All symptoms are due to being very underweight (v low blood pressure, dizziness, fatigue, lack of stamina etc). Chronic head and neck pain from daily tension & unease in my shoulders. Daily pain. Massages stop headaches almost instantly. Exhausted after being out or around friends due to hyper-vigilance and self- judgment. I find this so tense & tiring & sometimes upsetting once home.
MS, arthritis, scoliosis, peripheral neuropathy, spotty vision, painful stabbing shooting pain in my back etc.
Hashimoto, fatigue, severe insomnia, migraines, muscle pains, acid reflux.
I suffer chronic sleep disturbances: insomnia, nightmares, and lack of sufficient REM. My night-time breathing is shallow, rapid, and laboured, and I often hold my breath (vs. a physical condition like sleep apnea).
The excellent TED talk that discusses the understanding medical professionals are now beginning to understand are caused by childhood trauma, is by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris…
“How Childhood Trauma Can Affect Health Across A Lifetime @ https://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime
I am so aware from my amazing community, just how life impacting complex trauma is to so many people.
It is very challenging when dealing with serious mental and physical health disorders and issues.
In sharing this, I hope to better educate society, raise awareness and increase compassion for people who have already suffered so terribly.
Please see my Website, for more information and resources @ https://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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