Justin Linksz Speaks on Trauma & Mental Illness
Trauma can be the result of various experiences, including unexpected illnesses, accidents, natural disasters, violence, or prolonged abuse, where the chance for harm or death is highly possible towards people or loved ones. Traumatic experiences or situations can have a profound effect on a person’s emotional and mental well-being. The pain and stress that occurs during such events often overwhelm people, leaving them powerless and without the ability to cope.
When you face life and death situations, you naturally respond with one of two actions which are known as “fight, flight, or freeze.” This mechanism is triggered as a survival instinct with an immediate release of chemicals that increase your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce appetite. Your reaction to trauma is, therefore, one of fighting or fleeing the threat. Upon experiencing trauma, people often experience shock or even denial which can last for hours or days. Many people return to normal after the threat has vanished and they have had time to recover.
Trauma & the Underlying Effects
However, some individuals find it difficult to let go of the extreme feelings and emotions produced by traumatic events which can lead to serious mental health issues. A common problem with trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which stems from victims re-living traumatic events over and over through flashbacks or nightmares. This inability to escape trauma can lead to disruptions of sleep decreases in concentration and emotional response, panic attacks, drug and alcohol abuse and depression. Depression, in and of itself, is debilitating and is also common in trauma victims. Those suffering from depression experience intense feelings of helplessness and hopelessness as well as being negative and anxious.
Unfortunately, children are often the most susceptible to mental health problems stemming from trauma which can be both severe and long-lasting. On the one hand, children are resilient and tend to bounce back from harsh experiences. On the other hand, they can be easily scarred by childhood trauma which tends to distort their worldview and retard their ability to function normally. Without the right type of supportive and protective relationships to help resolve issues, children can carry destructive emotions within them that surface years later into adulthood as mental health issues.
Dealing with Trauma
Immediately after a traumatic event has occurred or has been identified as occurring, it is important to take steps to deal with emotional and psychological trauma in order to resolve and prevent them from more adversely affecting mental health. The sooner support and treatment are obtained, the easier it will be for victims to recover a normal or near normal life.
Having the support of family and friends plays an important role in diffusing trauma. Usually, victims are so traumatized by events that they cannot think or function with enough normality to resolve emotional and psychological overload on their own.
A circle of caring individuals also provides an added layer of protection that gives great comfort to those who have experienced trauma.
In many cases, professional assistance is required to effectively overcome trauma — especially when it affects one’s mental health. Professionals are trained to recognize trauma symptoms and to provide correct treatments that hasten lasting results.