How Does Trauma Impact One’s Mental Health?

TMS Annapolis Experts Examine the Link Between Trauma and Depression

Suffering from an abusive relationship, fighting in a war, and growing up in a violent household can all cause severe mental and physical trauma. Experiencing this trauma can cause a number of negative short-term and long-term effects on a victim’s mental and emotional state. Sometimes this trauma stems from experiencing something first-hand. Other times, it results from witnessing it from afar. 

No matter what the cause behind your trauma is, it’s crucial that you seek professional treatment to cope with it. Many times, trauma can cause someone to develop depression or start to abuse substances. TMS Annapolis experts — the Psych Associates of Maryland — explore the link between trauma and depression in our latest article. 

Different Types of Trauma You Might Experience

TMS Annapolis experts explore numerous events that can cause trauma

battered woman sitting in front of drunk man on sofa

Trauma is considered to be an emotional response to a serious or life-threatening event. People typically associate trauma with witnessing horrific acts of war or growing up in an abusive household. 

Other common sources of trauma can also include living through a natural disaster or experiencing a serious illness. Hundreds of people who were injured as a result of Hurricane Sandy or who lost their homes from the natural disaster developed severe PTSD. People who survived a life-threatening illness such as cancer or who lived through a serious car accident can experience emotional trauma along with their physical scars. 

Other common causes of trauma may include:

  • Dealing with the death of a loved one
  • Suffering from domestic violence
  • Becoming a victim of sexual assault
  • Living through a serious attack like a mass shooting
  • Going through a divorce

Three Types of Trauma People Experience

Unbeknownst to some people, there are actually several different types of trauma that people can experience. This includes:

  • Acute Trauma: Trauma that results from a single event or stressor
  • Chronic Trauma: Trauma that results from repeated exposure to stressful events such as domestic violence or bullying
  • Complex Trauma: Trauma that results from being exposed to multiple events

Diagnosing Trauma

When dealing with a traumatic event or situation, people can feel its effects both immediately and long after they have occurred. Feelings of helplessness and shock can accompany physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches. For instance, if you experienced a violent assault, you might begin to feel confused, anxious, and scared. These emotional symptoms can be accompanied by nightmares of the event, the inability to focus or concentrate, and muscle tension. 

These symptoms can last anywhere from several days to several months. If you find that your symptoms don’t begin to ease up over time or that they have become worse, you might be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Some people also develop depression as a result of these events. 

Symptoms of Depression or Anxiety

If you experienced a traumatic event, you might start seeing these symptoms

depressed woman sitting by a window

Depression is a serious mental illness that can result from a number of different factors, including trauma. Patients who are experiencing trauma-induced depression may experience symptoms such as: 

  • Feelings of extreme sadness
  • A change in appetite
  • Suffering from flashbacks or reoccurring thoughts of the event
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling emotionally numb

Experiencing these feelings after a traumatic event is normal. However, if you notice that you have been experiencing for over two weeks or that they have begun to interfere with your life, it’s time to seek professional help. 

Some people believe that you just need to “snap out” of your depressive funk or just start thinking positively. Unfortunately, our brains aren’t wired to simply stop feeling depressed or traumatized after a serious event. It’s okay to seek professional help. It doesn’t mean that you are weak or that something is wrong with you. 

Helpful Techniques and Treatments for Dealing with Trauma

Help is out there for people who are coping with trauma and depression

man talking to mental health counselor

There are a number of different treatment options available for people suffering from trauma-induced depression. People who work with mental health professionals are able to discuss their feelings and learn effective methods for coping with them. Sometimes, a physician might prescribe a medication for you to go along with your treatment. Peer support groups are also available for people who have experienced traumatic events like domestic abuse or who fought abroad.  

Tips for Nurturing Your Mental Health

In addition to seeking out professional help, you can also make several lifestyle changes to help you cope with your depression such as:

  • Spending more time with friends and family
  • Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day
  • Practicing meditation and relaxation techniques to calm your mind
  • Start a gratitude journal to write in every morning
  • Creating a consistent sleep schedule to help you stay energized throughout the day

Life can sometimes be filled with traumatic situations that leave us feeling scared, depressed, and even angry. But you don’t have to cope with these feelings alone. TMS Annapolis experts, the Psych Associates of Maryland, are ready to help you heal from the traumatic events in your life that have caused severe damage to your mental health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


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