People can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when they experience, observe or hear about a terrifying event involving disaster, death, injury, violation, disorder, illness or separation. It can also evolve from developmental trauma or long exposure to stressful conditions. It can even emerge from a number of sequential, seemingly less disturbing, incidents.
The exhaustive effects of PTSD and CPTSD
PTSD, and its complex version (CPTSD), both demand a significant part of an afflicted person’s bodily energy. The constant state of dual mental and physical tension that it entails, drains the body of the energy it needs to perform at acceptable levels and to carry out its own maintenance and immune system functions.
Our brains and neural networks consume profoundly high volumes of energy. The PTSD victim’s nervous system is on constant high alert and burns considerably more energy than that of the average person. In addition, their muscles can be in a state of sustained tension, which saps more energy. The resultant exhaustion can weaken mental and physical acuity, leading to decreased proficiency in all aspects of their private and working lives.
Apart from the energy drain, other prevalent PTSD factors, such as an inferior diet, use of stimulants and suppressants, frequent ailments, etc., disrupt the digestive system and hamper the absorption and production of vital resources such as nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and hormones.
Periods of excessive stress-related activities are usually followed by spells of burnout. Some common PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, restlessness, insomnia and nightmares, can prevent sleeping, robbing the body of the ideal opportunity for normal maintenance and regeneration.
Weariness can also cause procrastination of essential tasks and loss of interest in activities like healthy exercise, hobbies, hygiene and other pursuits that affect overall wellbeing.
The combined effects of shortage of energy and other resources leave the person suffering from PTSD or CPTSD vulnerable to illnesses and diseases, as well as further mental and behavioural disorders.
If PTSD lasts for a prolonged period, the person can turn to unhealthy coping methods and escape mechanisms, such as over-medication, alcohol and drugs, or harmful behaviour disorders. Over time, this destructive cycle can progressively worsen the symptoms and negative consequences of PTSD and CPTSD. The potential further mental and physical dysfunctions include a wide range of disorders, illnesses and diseases.
The longer PTSD lasts, the more comprehensive and deeply entrenched it can become. The onset of symptoms are sometimes delayed and only become apparent long after the causal incident or circumstances occurred. People react differently to traumatic events and, while some may perceive an incident as bearable, others may not. If a traumatic experience provokes concern, it is best to approach a suitably qualified therapist as early as possible for advice and guidance.
Evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment techniques are available. A well-designed program, tailored to the patient’s individual needs, and applied by therapists with extensive experience, can successfully heal the effects of recent trauma, as well as long-term PTSD and CPTSD.
Common signs and symptoms of PTSD and CPTSD:
- Vigilance and distrust
- Anxiety and depression
- Muscle tension
- Nightmares, insomnia
- Recurring memories
- Obessesive compulsion
- Poor self-image
- Emotional instability
- Domestic violence
- Avoidance behaviour
- Dissociatiative amnesia
- Disconnection syndrome
- Excessive discipline and rules
- Poor interpersonal bonding
- Denial, self-righteousness
- Loss of interest in pleasure
- Employment instability
- Inability to maintain family unity
- Social isolation and loneliness
- Physical illness and sickness
- Chronic body pains and aches
- Physical exhaustion and lethargy
- Sexual dysfunction or promiscuity
- Gambling or reckless behaviour
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
- Self-mutilation, self-sabotage
- Substance use disorders
- Behavioural disorders
Mental developments of prolonged PTSD:
Mental conditions that may grow worse or develop over time, include:
- Panic disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
- Various phobias
- Bipolar disorder
- Burnout syndrome
- Dissociative disorder
- Avoidance behaviour
- Antisocial behaviour
- Major depressive disorder
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Obsessive compulsive behaviour
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Physical developments of prolonged PTSD
Physical conditions that may grow worse or develop over time, include:
- Auto-immune disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic body pains
- Chronic tiredness
- Cystic fibrosis
- Digestive problems
- Dietary problems
- Frequent inflammation
- Heart failure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Liver dysfunction
- Migraine headaches
- Multiple sclerosis
- Risk of cancer
- Stomach pains
Please note: The above lists are not complete. It is simply an indication of the multitude of ailments that can affect a PTSD or CPTSD patient.
Disclaimer: Health-related information provided on media platforms are generalised for broad public audiences. You are required to consult a suitable health professional for personal advice applicable to your specific personal condition and circumstances.