When you have a physical wound you do whatever-it-takes to get it to fully heal. Its just as important for you to do whatever-it-takes to get your PTSD wound to fully heal. PTSD doubles your risk of multiple sclerosis, shrinks part of your brain and sabotages your career – but with some hard work you can reverse all the damage.
If you have PTSD its natural for part of you to want to hold onto the pain of your trauma memory. You may feel that holding onto your fear and/or anger will keep you safe. Similarly, you may feel that if your trauma fully heals that you will be letting the person that hurt you off the hook or that it will mean that it was ok that it happened. While it is normal and natural to have these thoughts, it is important to realize that PTSD is actually a major emotional wound and leaving a major wound open and unhealed is not good for you.
Here are the top 7 reasons that I encourage you to whatever-it-takes to make sure that your PTSD wounds fully heal.
- Your Health – Unresolved PTSD throws your immune system out of whack DOUBLING your risk of cardiovascular problems, arthritis, allergic reactions, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia and even diabetes.
- Your Risk of Future Trauma – Unresolved PTSD makes you 50% more likely to blindly walk into another similar traumatizing event.
- Your Risk of Future PTSD – Unresolved PTSD for an old trauma increases your risk of developing PTSD after any future traumatic event by 300%.
- Your Mental Health – Unresolved PTSD can morph into a range of other disorders including depression, phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety (chronic worry), eating disorders, panic attacks, alcohol abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder.
- Your Relationships – Unresolved PTSD can distort your relationships making some people avoid confrontations while others will have anger outbursts, some become control freaks while others give in too much, some will become withdrawn while others will become dependent and clingy.
- Your Brain – Unresolved PTSD can actually shrink your hippocampus, the part of your brain you use to remember. The good news is that your hippocampus can recover once the PTSD resolves.
- Your Career – PTSD reduces your ability to concentrate, cope with stress, deal with conflict and handle emotionally charged situations.
Breslau, N., et al. (2008). “A second look at prior trauma and the posttraumatic stress disorder effects of subsequent trauma: a prospective epidemiological study.” Arch Gen Psychiatry 65(4): 431-437.