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  • Impacts of trauma on mental health

Impacts of trauma on mental health

According to a report by WHO, 7.5% of all Indians suffer from a mental disorder. Now 7.5% might not sound like a lot of people but 7.5% of the second largest country, in terms of population, surpasses the population of USA.

The word ‘Trauma’ has been borrowed from the Greek language, in which it means ‘Wound’. Trauma typically takes hold of an individual when an event exceeds that particular individual’s threshold of coping.

A traumatic event can be anything or an experience that puts a person or someone close to that person at risk of harm or even death. The risk can include:

  • Road mishap
  • Violence
  • Prolonged abuse
  • Natural disasters
  • Serious illness

When an individual experiences a traumatic incident, their body involuntary activates a primal response that triggers their body’s defenses which further builds a stress response. This response is known as the “flight or fight” response where our body produces certain chemicals, mainly adrenaline, that makes us behave differently.

The symptoms of a Flight or Fight response are:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased perspiration
  • Decreased stomach activity

Flight or Fight response is a result of evolution that helps us in situations of emergency, making it easier for us to choose between either running or fighting. 

As the effects of this response wear down, a person might experience denial and shock which is followed by a range of emotions like sadness, anger and guilt. In small stints, it is actually a very useful response that helps us in dealing with a potentially traumatic incident but if the feelings linger, it puts people at risk of developing several mental health issues like:

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