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Long-Term Effects Of Trauma

Woman experiencing the long-term effects of trauma

Have you or someone you know ever had an experience that triggered extreme fear or distress? If so, you know what it’s like to go through a traumatic event. While substantial in the short term, these kinds of effects usually fade over time. However, they may also stay with you and lead to longer-term consequences for your mental well-being. In these circumstances, a trauma therapy program can help you break free from persisting reactions to past events.

At Northpoint, we help patients overcome the long-term effects of trauma. If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic event, reach out to our team at 888.231.1281.

What Explains the Effects of Trauma?

Most people exposed to trauma will experience a more-or-less immediate response to what’s happened. How and why do these responses occur? As a rule, the process starts when you live through something that makes you feel:

  • Overwhelmed by stress
  • Extremely afraid
  • Helpless
  • Detached from reality

Intense feelings such as these typically have consequences. Specifically, they can throw off your mental balance and make it harder for you to function. Within limits, we can adjust to these kinds of changes and gradually return to normal. For this reason, trauma reactions tend not to last. However, traumatic experiences may also exceed your ability to offset their impact. This is what creates the possibility of experiencing longer-term trauma reactions.

No one really knows how they’ll react to a traumatic situation until they go through one. Still, certain factors can help determine how trauma affects you. For example, factors such as an unstable home life or existing mental health issues can worsen its impact. On the other hand, a stable home life and strong social connections may help decrease the impact of trauma.

The Many Possible Long-Term Effects of Trauma

Long-term trauma effects differ from short-term effects. Short-term effects are fairly predictable. However, the longer trauma impacts you, the harder it is to tell what effects it may have. This means that any two people who go through the same event may experience substantially different ongoing reactions. Your particular reaction may include any of the following:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Feelings of grief or shame
  • Emotional detachment
  • A preoccupation with aches or pains in your body
  • Withdrawal from social contact
  • Loss of your sense of purpose
  • Exhaustion
  • Highly unrealistic thinking
  • Overactivation of your fight-or-flight response

These are just some of the many possible long-term trauma effects. You may also experience other emotional, physical, or behavioral reactions.

Long-Term Trauma Effects vs. PTSD

Some people who experience the long-term effects of trauma fulfill the criteria for a mental health diagnosis. Two of the most likely diagnoses are acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is a substantial amount of similarity between these conditions. But there are also important differences.

The biggest difference is the timeframe for a diagnosis. You can only meet the criteria for ASD within the first 30-day period following trauma exposure. Once you pass this period, you enter the timeframe for a potential PTSD diagnosis.

However, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind. First, not everyone who develops ASD will later fulfill the criteria for PTSD. What’s more, you can experience serious effects of trauma without ever fulfilling the criteria for either condition.

Start Your Trauma Recovery at Northpoint

Think you may be suffering from the long-term effects of trauma? You may have symptoms of ASD or PTSD. Even when these conditions aren’t present, you may still experience problems that interfere with your well-being.

Want to find out more about how trauma affects you? Get the information you need at Northpoint Colorado. You can also turn to Northpoint for timely trauma therapy during drug or alcohol rehab. To ask questions, get advice, or enroll in customized rehab, just call us today at 888.231.1281. You can also contact us using our online contact form.