Trauma and its Effects

The effects of being traumatized are very individual, and people who have experienced trauma are impacted physically, emotionally, behaviorally, cognitively, spiritually, neurobiologically and relationally.

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Trauma can result in:

  • changes to the brain
  • compromised immune systems
  • increased physical and mental stress
  • decreased trust
  • attachment difficulties and conflictual relationships
  • hyper arousal and hyper-vigilance
  • rigid or chaotic behavior

The effects of trauma can be experienced across the lifespan.  Click here for a list of the Fight / Freeze / Flight responses to trauma.

For additional information about the effects of trauma, click on the tabs below:

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  • difficulty feeling love, trust in relationships
  • decreased interest in sexual activity
  • emotional distancing from others
  • relationships may be characterized by anger and mistrust
  • unable to maintain relationships
  • parenting difficulties
shutterstock_83549866An overproduction of stress hormones that when activated do not return to normal but can endure for hours or days as identified below:
  • Jittery, trembling
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Alarm system in the brain remains "on"; creating difficulty in reading faces and social cues; misinterpreting other people's behaviour or events as threatening, sleep difficulty and the need to avoid situations that are perceived to be frightening
  • part of the brain systems change by becoming smaller or bigger than they are supposed to be
  • Fight, flight, freeze response (which may look different from person to person)
  • Responses are involuntary
Click here to view the Trauma and the Brain Flow Chart.
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  • feeling that life has little purpose and meaning
  • questioning the presence of a power greater than ourselves
  • questioning one’s purpose
  • questioning "who am I", "where am I going", "do I really matter"
  • thoughts of being evil, especially when abuse is perpetrated by Clergy
  • feeling disconnected from the world around us
  • feeling that as well as the individual, the whole race or culture is bad
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  • memory lapses, especially about the trauma
  • loss of time
  • being flooded and overwhelmed with recollections of the trauma
  • difficulty making decisions
  • decreased ability to concentrate
  • feeling distracted
  • withdrawal from normal routine
  • thoughts of suicide
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  • self-harm such as cutting
  • substance abuse
  • alcohol abuse
  • gambling
  • self-destructive behaviours
  • isolation
  • choosing friends that may be unhealthy
  • suicidal behaviour
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  • depression
  • feelings of despair and hopelessness and helplessness
  • guild
  • shame
  • self-blame
  • self hatred
  • feeling damaged
  • feeling like a "bad" person
  • anxiety
  • extreme vulnerability
  • panic attacks
  • fearfulness
  • compulsive and obsessive behaviours
  • feeling out of control
  • irritability, anger and resentment
  • emotional numbness
  • frightening thoughts
  • difficulties in relationships
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  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Depression
  • Fetal death
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Illicit drug use
  • Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
  • Liver disease
  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Smoking
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Early initiation of smoking
  • Early initiation of sexual activity
  • Adolescent pregnancy

Begin your path to recovery at Trauma Recovery

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