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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Haunt You Far Beyond Your Dreams – Here’s How

Meeting a car accident, losing a loved one, surviving a war, or being abused – these are all distressing events that can change your life in an instance. If such events haunt you even if they happened a long time ago, you may be suffering from a mental health condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, which doesn’t only affect your mental wellbeing but also your physical health.

Whenever something terrifying happens, it’s normal for you to take some time to cope and adjust to the situation, but if you feel you’re stuck in a rut and have been lingering to the unfortunate event for a long time, then you may have PTSD. Patients who suffer from this mental health disorder find it hard to go on their day-to-day activities, and because it triggers all sorts of emotions, it could also cause complications in our bodies.

Organ Inflammation and Gastric Issues

Constantly being reminded of the trauma you experienced can increase the release of cortisol, known as the stress hormone, pretty much what is released when your teacher announces a graded recitation in a class that you did not study for. The inescapable thought can also lead to a heightened level of a pro-inflammatory chemical, called cytokine.

Leszek Glasner/Shutterstock — PTSD patients may experience gastric problems

If left in an increased state for a long time, these chemicals can wreak havoc on the body, River Oaks Treatment Center medical director Michael Murphy said. A National Health Institute study on over 4,000 Danish patients who have been suffering from PTSD for 16 years found that there’s a connection between the mental health disorder and gastric problems like ulcers.

Muscle and Joint Pain

Fizkes/Shutterstock Muscle and joint pains are a result of prolonged anxiety

If you find it hard to be free of a traumatic past, then you may have been experiencing muscle and joint pains. Because you are always anxious and super-vigilant, this could strain your muscles and joints. The expert explained that if the brain is in a prolonged state of fear and hyperarousal, it can lead to many problems.

Substance Abuse

People who have PTSD can resort to a temporary escape through substances, which could quickly turn to abuse once they feel that they do feel better with these. However, this could lead to a host of body problems if not caught early on.

A person who already has hormonal imbalances and has been overly anxious because of the trauma can further complicate things when they abuse substances. Sometimes, Michael explained, people tend to self-medicate through alcohol or sedatives, which they may become dependent on through time.

Sleep Problems

Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock — They usually have nightmares, so they avoid sleeping

PTSD patients also tend to have problems falling asleep because they sometimes associate nighttime with trauma. They feel that it is terrifying to not be in control during sleep, and thinking that they are unconscious when they doze off is another reason not to hit the hay. Moreover, they usually have nightmares, which is why they often avoid getting a shut-eye.

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