This is Part Two of the many Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms that are present after a traumatic incident or period in one's life.
Substance abuse includes drugs, drink, medication, and various foods. These can provide temporary relief from the agony and suffering of PTSD and Developmental Trauma. Substance abuse is thus a way of coping; a way to avoid being confronted with the internal turmoil of Post-Traumatic Stress. Even though substance abuse becomes problematic in and of itself, in order to deal with it effectively, the underlying structures-- the substratum of trauma-- must be addressed.
Addictions can be more varied than substance abuse, but fall under the same category of dissociative or coping behavior, and are likely to come at a certain price. A few examples of addictions are shopping, gambling, porn and/or sexual activity, watching TV, and excessive work. Addictions are fueled by underlying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Socially Isolating Behavior
The effects of unresolved Trauma are fragmentary, and have an isolating effect as the person coping with unresolved trauma must struggle to preserve the functioning of body-mind systems and to cope with/manage dysfunction within the body. It comes as no surprise that Post-Traumatic Stress can lead to socially isolating behavior. To interact with and relate to people is, for most of us, self-confronting, and can be too overwhelming while suffering from PTSD and/or Developmental issues. On the other side of the spectrum, people who are overtly extrovert and suffer Post-Traumatic Stress might seek constant social engagement in order to sublimate their own problems.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder compromises the natural resilience of the nervous system. It can leave the body-mind systems in a constant state of alertness, till the person’s energy is so depleted that phases of constant alert can be followed by a collapse and a severe, depressive state. This is the vicious cycle that trauma victims, through the nervous system, will suffer. A state of anxiety relates to a highly charged, hypervigilant nervous system as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress.
Inability to Relax as a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms leave levels of highly charged residual energy in the body-mind systems. Unless this is resolved, the ability to relax deeply is unattainable.
Rage and Hostility
Acting out anger can be a healthy way of reestablishing lost boundaries that have been breached. When there is physically no possibility of outwardly expressing anger, as would be the case for young children in abusive families, anger becomes internalized and can develop into suppressed rage and hostility towards others; this can result in that person becoming more extreme in nature. Sudden bursts of "acting out" rage and hostility can show up when there is an additional stress/trigger.
Depression as a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom
To manage and maintain trauma identities, either consciously or unconsciously, takes up enormous amounts of energy. Unresolved trauma freezes high energy charge of the nervous system, and collapses boundaries and containment of a healthy and resilient sense of self. This all adds up, and contributes to the stagnation of energy flow in the body-mind systems, which leads to a depressed state of mind.
Projection into Blame and Guilt
The effects of trauma are overwhelming. In order to deal with this overwhelming feeling, we seek understanding and explanation of why we feel the way we do. The interpretation we give ourselves while suffering any form of Post-Traumatic Stress, of what happened, is most likely to invoke some form of blame, guilt ,or self-reproach. The narrative or interpretation of what happened seeks to override the stresses of the Post-Traumatic State. Unfortunately, it also prevents resolution and strengthens the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The effects of PTSD and Developmental Trauma disconnect us. When we don't feel well in our body and disruptive body-mind states are internalized, it isn't long before our psyche starts incorporating its way into our sense of self. Thus, not feeling well bodily will in time be interpreted as "I am not well", "I am not good enough" and can develop into self-loathing, self-hatred, and furthering finally into the feeling "I am no good".
Self harm follows the a state of self-loathing and hatred, but in an outwardly expressed form. By self-mutilation one can seek release from internal turmoil and conflict. The act of self-inflicted pain can therefore involve a sense of temporary pleasure and become addictive (think of excessive tattoos and piercings). It might also be an attempt to seek help and attention from the people who are close to us.
Sexual Dysfunction as a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom
Sexuality most often involves a sense of bonding with and connecting to another human being. While suffering PTSD or Developmental Trauma, to bond and connect can result in too much of that which is emotionally overwhelming, especially when Post-Traumatic Stress involves a negative body-image, sexual abuse, and assault. To maintain a disconnected state as a survival strategy, then, can result in sexual dysfunction. On the other hand, loving sexuality can be an opening to resolving Post-Traumatic Stress, and lead to profound healing.
Self-sabotage is often related to a lack of trust, feeling incompetent,and/or actions that bring about feelings of overwhelming helplessness. Self-sabotage can manifest as making excuses, forgetting, falling sick, and even getting into difficulties or accidents prior to the arranged set of intentions or actions.
Which Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms would you add that apply to you? Leave your comment below.