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Everything you need to know about unresolved trauma and what you can do about it

Published on:30 November 2020, 16:00pm IST
When something stays unresolved in your head, it can literally eat you alive. Therefore, it is important to watch out for these signs and symptoms.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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A healthy mental space is important. In case, you have an unresolved issue dominating your mind, then it won’t be possible. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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A bad phase of someone’s life might get over, but sometimes, certain incidents leave a permanent scar on a person’s mind. That person doesn’t just live with the traum,  but s/he undergoes changes both physically and mentally. Unresolved trauma can result in extraordinary stress, which can create a lot of problems for the person dealing with it.

The worst part is that in severe cases, people develop a sense of insecurity, and then it becomes harder for them to lead a normal life. They face major trust issues and start preferring isolation – which is not a great idea when it comes to mental well-being.

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According to Dr Santosh Bangar, senior consultant psychiatrist at Global Hospital Psychological, trauma can result from severe stressful events affecting emotions, behaviour and memory. 

He says, “Traumatic experience can be one-off or recurrent in nature. Common forms include physical or sexual abuse, or emotional or physical neglect. Experiencing trauma in childhood can result in severe and long-lasting effect on psychological health. Various psychological illnesses can have association of trauma, for e.g., depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug and alcohol misuse, alterations in personality and dissociative disorders.”

Yes, it is a serious matter. That’s why it is important to understand the signs and symptoms people show, when they are dealing with unresolved trauma.

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Here are the emotional and psychological symptoms:
  • Shock or denial
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Guilt and/or shame
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling numb or flat
These are the physical symptoms:
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Being startled easily
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Feeling edgy or restless
  • Muscle tension

All the above signs are the initial ones. 

And here’s a list of some warning signs that show up, when early signs are left untreated
  • Having trouble functioning at home or work
  •  Severe anxiety, mood swings or depression
  • Unable to form close or trusting relationships
  • Experiencing terrifying nightmares or flashbacks or trouble sleeping
  • Avoiding anything that reminds of the trauma
  • Feeling emotionally numb and disconnected from others
  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better
PTSD
Trauma comes uninvited, and so does this affliction. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here are seven self help tips that might help you deal with unresolved trauma

“Having a healthy body can increase the ability to cope with the stress of trauma,” says Dr Bangar.

    1. Exercise can help reset the body’s chemical disruption after the trauma. It can also release the ‘feel-good’ chemical called endorphin. 
    2. Participate in social activities
    3. Reconnect with old friends
    4. Sleep One should aim for 7 to 9 hours of undisturbed and refreshing sleep each night.
    5. Avoid alcohol and drugs as their use can worsen the trauma symptoms, and increase feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
    6. Eat a well-balanced healthy diet
    7. Reduce stress with meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises

“What we need to remember is that recovering from trauma takes time, but everyone heals at their own pace. So, don’t be over-possessive but keep an eye on people who have dealt with a trauma, especially showing the above signs. And don’t hesitate to seek medical attention,” concludes Dr Bangar. 

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.