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  • Kathryn O'Brien

Trauma and Physical Health

April 7th is World Health Day





As we mark World Health Day on April 7th, it's essential to shine a spotlight on a topic often overlooked in discussions about well-being: the impact of trauma on physical health. While the term "trauma" may conjure images of emotional distress or psychological scars, its effects extend far beyond the realm of mental health, leaving lasting imprints on the body as well.


Trauma comes in many forms, ranging from childhood abuse and neglect to exposure to violence, accidents, or natural disasters. But no matter what causes it, trauma messes with your body's balance and makes you more likely to get sick.


One big way trauma can affect your body is by causing chronic diseases like heart problems or diabetes. Studies show that people who've been through traumatic times, especially as kids, are more likely to get these illnesses later in life. It's like your body's alarm system is always on, causing inflammation and other problems that can lead to these diseases.


Moreover, trauma can also impact your body's ability to regulate stress hormones such as cortisol. These disruptions not only contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression but can also weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.


Beyond its direct effects on physical health, trauma can also influence your health behaviors and lifestyle choices. If you have survived trauma, you may struggle with sleep disturbances, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity, in turn making you more vulnerable to disease. Understanding how trauma affects your health is important for getting the right help. It's not just about talking to someone - it's also about taking care of your body. This could mean getting therapy that understands trauma, practicing mindfulness, eating better, or getting medical care that's right for you.


On this World Health Day, let us not only celebrate the strides we've made in advancing medical science but also acknowledge the importance of addressing the underlying factors that shape our health outcomes. By raising awareness about the impact of trauma on our physical well-being and advocating for trauma-informed care, we can work towards a healthier, more resilient future for all. Together, let's ensure that every individual has the opportunity to heal from their past traumas and thrive in mind, body, and spirit.


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