How PTSD Affects Your Health and Relationships

PTSD can create significant effects on your overall health and personal relationships. Here are some ways in which PTSD can create an impact:

  1. Mental Health: PTSD can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, which can further exacerbate PTSD symptoms and make it difficult to manage daily life.
  2. Physical Health: PTSD can manifest in physical symptoms like chronic pain, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal problems. These physical symptoms can contribute to a decline in overall health and well-being.
  3. Emotional Well-being: PTSD can cause individuals to experience emotional numbness, anger, irritability, and difficulty connecting with others emotionally. This can strain relationships and make it difficult to maintain close bonds with loved ones.
  4. Communication: People with PTSD may struggle with effective communication, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts in their relationships. This can make it challenging to resolve issues and maintain healthy connections.
  5. Trust and Intimacy: PTSD can cause difficulties in establishing trust and emotional or sexual intimacy in relationships. The symptoms can make individuals feel detached and create barriers to closeness.
  6. Coping Mechanisms: Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse, can develop in response to PTSD symptoms. These behaviors can further strain relationships and contribute to negative health outcomes.

PTSD and Its Effects on Health

How PTSD affects the Lymphatic System?

It’s common knowledge that PTD is a mental health condition activated by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. While PTSD primarily affects the brain and mental well-being, it can also have indirect effects on various systems of the body, including the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a crucial part of the immune system that helps to fight off infections and maintain fluid balance in the body. PTSD can affect the lymphatic system indirectly through chronic stress. 

When a person experiences chronic stress, the body releases stress hormones such as cortisol, which can impair the immune system’s function.

The impaired immune system may lead to a less efficient lymphatic system, making it more challenging for the body to ward off infections and maintain fluid balance. Additionally, people with PTSD may experience sleep disturbances, which can also negatively impact the immune system and, consequently, the lymphatic system.

While PTSD does not directly target the lymphatic system, its impact on mental health and the stress response can indirectly contribute to a weakened immune response. 

Seeking professional help and resources for PTSD can not only improve mental well-being but also benefit overall physical health.

How Does PTSD Affect the Heart?

PTSD has a profound impact on the heart, manifesting itself through various physiological changes. One of the key effects is the escalation of resting heart rate and heightened startle reactions, both of which contribute to an elevation in heart rate and blood pressure.

This chronic stress response puts a strain on the cardiovascular system, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, research has shown that women with PTSD symptoms resulting from trauma have a 60% higher risk of heart attacks and strokes compared to those without such experiences. 

Even trauma exposure alone, without the presence of PTSD symptoms, can elevate the risk of cardiovascular events by nearly 50%. Therefore, addressing PTSD and its symptoms can be crucial for improving overall cardiovascular health.

Physiological responses (increase in heart rate, blood pressure, tremor and other symptoms of autonomic arousal) to reminders of the trauma are a part of the DSM-V definition of PTSD. Multiple studies have shown that patients suffering from PTSD have increased resting heart rate, increased startle reaction, and increased heart rate and blood pressure as responses to traumatic memory. 

Some researchers have studied the sympathetic nervous system even further by looking at plasma norepinephrine and 24-hour urinary norepinephrine and found them to be elevated in veterans with PTSD as compared to those without PTSD. PTSD is associated with hyperfunctioning of the central nervous system and has also been shown to be associated with an increased prevalence of substance abuse.

Behaviors like smoking and lack of physical activity and medical factors like hypertension and the use of antidepressants accounted for nearly half the association between PTSD and cardiovascular disease in women with four or more symptoms of PTSD, but less than 15% in women who reported trauma without PTSD.

Posttraumatic stress is truly heartbreaking. The psychological impact of trauma is not limited to a woman’s emotional health but also affects her heart health. While more research is needed, PTSD may disrupt physiological stress systems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the autonomic nervous system, in addition to leading to various unhealthy behaviors that may increase risk of heart attack and stroke.

PTSD and Its Effect on Relationships

How Survivors React After Experiencing Trauma 

In the first weeks and months following a trauma, survivors may feel angry, detached, tense or worried in their relationships. Survivors with PTSD may feel distant from others and feel numb. They may have less interest in social or sexual activities. 

Because survivors feel irritable, on guard, jumpy, worried, or nervous, they may not be able to relax or be intimate. They may also feel an increased need to protect their loved ones. They may come across as tense or demanding.

The trauma survivor may often have trauma memories or flashbacks. They might go to great lengths to avoid such memories. Survivors may avoid any activity that could activate a memory. If the survivor has trouble sleeping or has nightmares, both the survivor and partner may not be able to get enough rest. This may make sleeping together harder.

Survivors often struggle with intense anger and impulses. In order to suppress angry feelings and actions, they may avoid closeness. They may push away or find fault with loved ones and friends. Also, drinking and drug problems, which can be an attempt to cope with PTSD, can destroy intimacy and friendships. Verbal or physical violence can occur.

In other cases, survivors may depend too much on their partners, family members, and friends. This could also include support people such as health care providers or therapists. Dealing with these symptoms can take up a lot of the survivor’s attention. He or she may not be able to focus on the partner. It may be hard to listen carefully and make decisions together with someone else. Partners may come to feel that talking together and working as a team are not possible.

How a Loved One May React? 

Partners, friends, or family members may feel hurt, cut off, or down because the survivor has not been able to get over the trauma. Loved ones may become angry or distant toward the survivor. They may feel pressured, tense, and controlled. The survivor’s symptoms can make a loved one feel like he or she is living in a war zone or in constant threat of danger. Living with someone who has PTSD can sometimes lead the partner to have some of the same feelings of having been through trauma.

In summary, a person who goes through a trauma may have certain common reactions. These reactions affect the people around the survivor. Family, friends, and others then react to how the survivor is behaving. This in turn comes back to affecting the person who went through the trauma.

This is not to say a survivor never feels a strong bond of love or friendship. However, a close relationship can also feel scary or dangerous to a trauma survivor.

Do All Trauma Survivors Have Relationship Problems? 

Many trauma survivors do not develop PTSD. Also, many people with PTSD do not have relationship problems. People with PTSD can create and maintain good relationships by:

  1. Building a strong support network: Surrounding themselves with understanding and supportive friends, family, and professionals can help trauma survivors navigate the challenges they face.
  2. Seeking professional help: Working with a mental health professional experienced in treating trauma and PTSD can be essential for recovery and improving relationships. This can include individual therapy, group therapy, or couples counseling.
  3. Open communication: Honest and open communication with loved ones about the survivor’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences can help build trust and understanding in the relationship. Encourage loved ones to share their feelings as well.
  4. Establishing healthy boundaries: Respecting personal boundaries and understanding that trauma survivors may need space and time to process their experiences can help maintain a healthy relationship dynamic.
  5. Practicing self-care: Taking care of one’s physical, emotional, and mental health is crucial for trauma survivors. This can include exercise, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, relaxation techniques, and engaging in hobbies and activities that bring joy.
  6. Educating loved ones: Educating family and friends about PTSD and its effects on relationships can help them better understand and support the survivor.
  7. Building trust: Developing trust is essential for a healthy relationship. Trust can be built through consistent and supportive interactions, being dependable, and following through on promises.
  8. Developing coping strategies: Learning and implementing effective coping strategies can help trauma survivors manage their PTSD symptoms and minimize their impact on relationships.
  9. Fostering empathy and understanding: Encouraging empathy and understanding between the survivor and their loved ones can help strengthen the relationship and create a supportive environment for healing.
  10.  Being patient: Recovery from trauma and rebuilding relationships takes time. It’s important for both the survivor and their loved ones to be patient and understand that progress may be slow and nonlinear.

While trauma survivors may experience challenges in their relationships, it is possible to build and maintain healthy connections with others. 

By seeking appropriate support, fostering open communication, and practicing self-care, trauma survivors can work toward improving their relationships and overall well-being. 

To mitigate the impact of PTSD on health and relationships, it’s essential to seek professional help and establish a strong support network. Open communication, problem-solving skills, and relaxation activities can also contribute to maintaining stronger relationships and improving overall well-being. 

The most important mitigating factor is to have the traumatic events and experiences cleared through a memory consolidation process. At the Inspired Performance Institute, we use our patented method called TIPP. 

TIPP updates, reboots, adjusts and clears the way the mind responds to previous traumatic experiences. 

Without clearing the effects of these events, all the other coping mechanisms and relaxation techniques are like painting over rust. Eventually the rust will bubble up through the paint. 

How PTSD Affected Anna’s Health and Relationships

A woman in her forties, we’ll name her Anna, was dealing with Complex PTSD from childhood trauma. 

When I met her, she told me about a mother that left her home alone when she was very young to go to work. She stayed home alone many nights by herself, and she was as young as four or five. Then her mother started dating a man and he offered to stay with her while the mother worked. You can imagine what happens with this scenario. There were several boyfriends over the years and similar situations continued to occur. 

She confessed to a priest when she was 13 about what had happened to her. You may be wondering why she was confessing? It’s because she felt guilty, that somehow, she was to blame. It’s quite common for survivors of sexual assault to experience guilt and shame. 

Her confession to her priest only made the situation worse because he then continued the abuse of this fragile little girl. Her experiences caused her to experience PTSD for most of her life. In addition to her sexual abuse, she had several other traumas including a robbery at knifepoint. She suffered flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, and became unable to complete simple tasks or even leave her house at times. 

Anna did manage to get married and have two children whom she loved dearly. However, she knew her anxiety and panic attacks were affecting her children and the relationship with her husband. Her mental and physical health were severely affected. 

On the health side she had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in her early thirties. She had difficulty working after she was officially diagnosed with PTSD at age 35.

Despite a life-time of significant challenges, after completing the TIPP program, Anna was able to drive across the country with her family and had no panic attacks. Her anxiety levels significantly reduced, and her overall quality of life has improved. 

Get the Help You Or Your Loved One Needs

Our mind is a fascinating thing. It’s designed to make us survive, and it will do everything to protect us in the face of danger. But what happens when the danger (and all our traumas are seen as danger by our mind) is long gone, yet you’re still struggling because of it today? 

When we experience something disturbing or traumatic our senses are heightened which causes us to record the event in high definition in our memory. By doing this, our mind is trying to protect us from ever experiencing that again, by making sure we never forget it. 

This means that when something happens in the present and activates this memory deeply embedded in our subconscious mind, this current situation is perceived as a threat. 

You see, our mind is accessing these high definition memories as if they are happening in real time. Our mind can’t tell the difference between the memory and what’s happening right now.

Because of this, the mind engages our fight or flight response, as a way to protect us. 

This is the error message, the glitch, that’s being sent to our brain. 

So that led to the questions:

How can we clear this error message? How do we tell the brain everything is okay?

And can we replace it with a response that leads to higher levels of performance?

After several years of trial-and-error, testing everything and figuring things out, we’ve found a way to take stressful life events and reprocess them in a way that tells our mind: “This is memory, this is past. You’re in the now, and you’re safe now.” This process is called reprocessing:  we’re shifting your high res memories into a low resolution version. The mind learns that it doesn’t have to keep reminding you of the trauma, you don’t need to be stuck in that loop anymore – you’re safe now.

Once the reprocessing is done, your mind stops feeling threatened. 

It doesn’t confuse what’s happening NOW with what’s happened in the past anymore, opening you up to accessing 100% of your energy to focus on the present situation.

Our program, The Inspired Performance Program (TIPP) is designed to help you do exactly that: with TIPP, you’ll reboot your mind so you can live a happier, calmer life. 

We have helped thousands of people just like you overcome past trauma and disturbing events – by updating their mind’s operating system to achieve peak performance.

Our TIPP program is specifically designed to help reset your mind and restore your body to optimal states of health, performance, and wellness. We use simple, but powerful, cutting-edge neuroscience to “reboot” your mind. Our approach is gentle and effective – you don’t even have to talk about your trauma in order to overcome it. Once you complete the TIPP program, you’ll feel in control of your mind, you’ll be more present, and you’ll be ready to live your best life.

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