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How Childhood Trauma Can Cause Sleep Issues

a woman struggles to sleep due to unresolved childhood trauma

It is estimated that about 70% of American adults have experienced some kind of trauma in their lifetimes. That’s over 220 million people. Many of those are victims of childhood trauma. People with histories of childhood trauma, as well as trauma occurring later in life, are likely to develop PTSD. The effects of trauma on the physical and mental health of an individual are significant. If you or someone you love is struggling because of childhood trauma, look into a PTSD treatment program in Ohio at Evoke Wellness.

We can help you understand the effects of trauma, including the connections between childhood trauma and sleep issues, daily stress, concentration, and mental health. Give us a call at 866.430.9267 or submit our online form to connect with one of our caring, expert staff members.

What Is Trauma?

Trauma can occur on the battlefield or in the living room. It can result from living through horrible events such as:

  • Military combat during war
  • Living in a war zone, whether military, terrorist, or gang-related
  • Witnessing violence in the home, neighborhood, or elsewhere
  • Extreme medical interventions
  • Rape and other forms of sexual assault
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Childhood abuse of any kind
  • Childhood neglect
  • Grief and loss
  • Living in an environment of constant fear and danger
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes
  • Cultural, historical, or intergenerational trauma

Trauma occurs when someone’s entire being is overwhelmed by negative, horrifying events and circumstances. The resulting feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and terror crush the person’s ability to cope.

Experience of trauma is linked to physical symptoms and some serious ailments. In addition, about 35% of those who experience trauma develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex PTSD (CPTSD), which is usually the result of repeated, lasting, or ongoing trauma.

The Psychological Effects of Trauma

The psychological and physical effects of trauma are many. They differ among trauma victims, and not everyone has all the following.

Some of the emotional and psychological consequences of trauma include:

  • Numbness to any strong emotion
  • Feeling emotions powerfully, such as anger, shame, fear, or grief
  • Panic attacks
  • Chronic worry
  • Loss of identity or sense of self
  • Hypervigilance, which means extreme alertness due to fear something bad will happen
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Being in shock
  • Self-blame
  • Insomnia

The feelings and emotional side-effects of trauma may look one way in the days and months after the event and then shift into new or different manifestations. The brain works hard to protect people from their trauma, but it rarely works fully. Professional help helps trauma victims learn coping mechanisms and how to re-file the trauma in the brain so it can do less ongoing harm.

The Physical Effects of Trauma

Trauma, which manifests as a severe form of stress, has an impact on physical health as well. Some of the physical effects of trauma include:

  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Memory problems such as memory blackouts or difficulty laying down new memories
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Breathing issues, including COPD
  • Hypertension
  • Amenorrhea
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Insomnia

You might notice that insomnia is listed as both a psychological and physical side effect of trauma. That is because both adult and childhood trauma and sleep issues are very much intertwined.

The hypervigilance, anxiety, panic, fear, and other psychological consequences of trauma interfere with sleep hygiene by keeping the mind racing instead of resting. In addition, effects such as high blood pressure physically interfere with sleep. The body of someone who has experienced trauma is often flooded with cortisol and adrenaline, the stress hormones. The mind believes danger is near. It does that to protect the individual and ensure vigilance so they’ll be ready for the next traumatic event. That strategy of the brain tends to backfire once the risk of ongoing trauma is gone. Instead of healing, the body and mind continue to live as if still experiencing trauma.

Contact Evoke Wellness Ohio to Start Healing from Trauma Today

To prevent the experience of trauma from continuing to affect your mind and body, seek professional help by calling Evoke Wellness at 866.430.9267 or reaching out using this online form. There are established, evidence-based therapies that effectively treat trauma and PTSD. Let Evoke Wellness help you live a life free from the devastating mental and physical effects of trauma.