Long-Term Effects of PTSD

We think of PTSD as only a problem that we suffer from mentally. We feel fear, anxiety, and hopelessness. It affects our memory and our ways of thinking. It’s a lot to deal with, but it’s only mental, right?

 

Wrong.

 

Many studies are now showing that PTSD can have some seriously dangerous physical effects if you suffer long-term. Problems such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity can begin to occur as a result of long-term PTSD.

 

Hypertension can easily be a result of stress, and when you have PTSD, you know that you are put under stress constantly. Even daily tasks can become too much to handle at times, but the result, if you don’t try to seek the help you need, could be hypertension.

 

Hyperlipidemia is when you have unusually high amounts of fats and lipids in your bloodstream. This can cause all kinds of scary problems such as blood clots and even heart attacks and strokes. A number of things could cause this to happen when you have PTSD for an extended period of time. It could simply be that your stress has caused you to start making less healthy food choices and stop going to the gym, or it could be something else.

 

Obesity is yet another common effect of long-term PTSD. It could be caused by making unhealthy choices in the moment of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or it could also be that your body is trying to store up the energy for when it needs it. Your physical body panics too.

 

The reasons why long-term PTSD causing these issues might not be completely known. But we do know that suffering for a long time can lead to hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity. The best thing to do is to seek out the help you need and try to continue making healthy choices. Talk with your therapist and your doctor to figure out the best solution that will work for you.

Depression on the Body

Trauma doesn’t just leave its marks on the mind. Even after the scars of the attack or event have healed, the body can still suffer physical problems. One of the most common and devastating issues that can arise along with PTSD is severe depression. Unfortunately, a lot of people feel like they should be strong enough to handle “being sad” and try to face this challenge alone. Not only can this mindset leave the mental struggle untreated, but it can also have serious effects on the body as well.

 

If you are suffering from any of the following physical symptoms, especially if you have suffered some kind of trauma, you should seek out professional help.

 

  • Loss of appetite – Have you been having trouble enjoying food like you used to? Do you just not feel hungry?  Have you been losing weight without meaning to? A loss in your appetite can be an indication that you are dealing with depression.
  • Insomnia – Do you find it hard to sleep? Does the darkness and stillness of the night leave you anxious or unable to drift off?
  • Hypersomnia – Or, on the other hand, do you find yourself sleeping too much?  Do you have a hard time waking up in the morning and end up spending hours in bed when you know you should be up?
  • Memory problems – Have you found yourself becoming more forgetful?  Do you forget where you left your keys or can’t find your glasses? Short term memory can especially be affected by depression.

 

Untreated depression is very dangerous, but there is hope. With the help of a therapist, you can overcome your depression and enjoy a happy active life again!

Why You Should Be Exercising If You Have PTSD

There are a lot of ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression – all things that are associated with the victims of trauma and PTSD.  Therapy is always a great idea, and meditation, community support, and positive self talk are all key. But one area that often gets overlooked is also the one that’s the most fun – sports and exercise!

 

When people suffer physical trauma, it leaves its scars not only on the body but on the mind too. It makes sense, then, that if we want to make the mind healthier we should also work on making the body stronger. After all, human beings aren’t compartmentalized with separate body, mind, and emotions.  We are holistic creatures, and what happens to one part of us affects the rest.

 

Exercise and sports have a wide range of benefits for people with PTSD.  Of course, there are the usual ones that everyone gets out of exercise – better cardiovascular health, weight loss, and more energy.  But for those with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, there are even more good things that come from having an active lifestyle. One study reported by the National Institute of health showed that exercise provides:

 

  • Decrease in depression
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Overall reduction in PTSD symptoms

 

For anyone suffering from these symptoms, it should be empowering to learn that you have the ability to help control them simply by getting up and moving around.  

 

But, of course, nothing is ever as simple as it should be. While exercise has been clinically proven to help reduce the symptoms of PTSD, those who suffer from it are less likely than others to actually do it. There are a number of reasons for this.

 

First, PTSD is associated with depression.  Depression usually includes a lack of motivation, low energy, and generally shutting down and cutting yourself off.  It is hard to get up and exercise when you are depressed, even if you know that it will help make you feel better.

 

Second, exercise causes many bodily symptoms that can increase anxiety in a person with PTSD.  For most people, the rush of getting their blood flowing and their heart rate up during exercise is exciting.  But when you have PTSD, it can feel like a panic attack, with your heart racing and feeling short of breath. People who do not suffer from anxiety can’t understand how terrifying this can be.  So many who deal with these symptoms avoid anything that can make them feel that way.

 

Finally, people with PTSD often engage in self destructive behaviors, like smoking and using alcohol, which in turn make it harder to exercise.  

 

Despite these obstacles, the benefits are just too many to ignore.  exercise and sports can be a key to getting your PTSD under control. One of the best ways to help overcome them is to join a team.  Exercise doesn’t have to be boring hours on the treadmill. There are all kinds of sports to choose from, and most areas have adult teams that get together to play and practice.  When you join a team sport, you don’t just get the benefits of exercise. You also get to tap into a supportive and united community that is built to help make everyone stronger and better.  Since PTSD can often lead to isolation, team sports are a great way to build connection and friendship while also working the body and having a great time.

 

Exercise can be hard for someone with PTSD, but it can help make your life so much better. Every day you get active, you become stronger, more energetic, less depressed, and feel better.  And when you do it with other people, you get to enjoy the benefits of friendship, community, and support. Don’t be afraid to get out there – you’ll be glad you did!