Post Traumatic Stress and its Effects on Your Body

Today, we'll tell you about the impact of post-traumatic stress on your body. A stressed mind will always have significant effects at a physical health level.
Post Traumatic Stress and its Effects on Your Body

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Post-traumatic stress is a mental disorder that results from exposure to traumatic events. Exposure to an accident, a war, homicide, a natural disaster, physical or emotional abuse are all things that may trigger it.

In this article, we’ll focus on the effects post-traumatic stress has on your body. After all, it goes well beyond psychological damage. It affects the whole body and can become very serious.

To face this disorder to recover our health and our life, it’s important to keep many things in mind.


There are many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Among them are deep anguish, persistent memories, nightmares, and other recurring frightening thoughts. It’s all related to having experienced a traumatic event or prolonged exposure to trauma.

This type of stress can be short-lived and overcome with time. However, some people may have more difficulty doing so and whose symptoms will be worse. These can affect them at a physical level and can be dangerous to their health.

Read also: Discover Three Yoga Practices to Manage Stress

The Effects of Post-Traumatic Stress

A seemingly distressed person.
The body of a person with post-traumatic stress remains in a state of constant alarm and it leads to imbalances in their physical and mental state.

Living in a state of stress means keeping your body on permanent alert. Your natural predisposition to fight or flight is harmful at a physical level. It’s a natural response that should only happen under specific circumstances. So, when it’s constant, your body can’t relax.

Your body gets tense when you experience post-traumatic stress. Thus, your respiratory and cardiac frequency increase. Then, your muscles stress and pupils dilate. It all activates your body for action against something hostile. So, this stress will harm your body if you remain under its spell.

The Physical Impact of Post-Traumatic Stress

The body of people who are under stress over a long period will suffer negative consequences. These are some of the symptoms that may appear.

Of course, they vary according to the person:

  • Respiratory disorders. Hyperventilation is characteristic of stress and may lead to dizziness, fainting, tiredness, lightheadedness, and tremors.
  • Increased sweating due to higher circulatory flow.
  • Affectation of the cardiovascular system caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels. This increases the chances of heart disease.
  • A long term weakening of the immune system.
  • Digestive discomfort due to increased cortisol levels that manifest as constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, gas, acidity, etc. Furthermore, excess gastric acidity promotes ulcers.
  • Exhaustion due to lack of night rest. This may be a consequence of insomnia and/or nightmares.
  • Contractures and muscular pain in various parts of the body but mainly in the area of the head near the jaw.
  • Hormonal imbalances that may affect menstruation and fertility. They may also manifest in the form of acne, thyroid function, lowered sexual desire, etc.

Also, all these disorders create vicious circles that can have other impacts. These include sudden changes in weight and libido, hair loss, skin problems, among others.

Relaxation Techniques for Body and Mind

People doing yoga.
Relaxation techniques lead to significant improvement in a person’s mental and physical health.

It’s important that you understand the relationship between your body and your mind, even before you understand PTSD. Any treatment you opt for should take this relationship into account. Only then will you be able to get relief from this kind of stress. Keep in mind that the goal here is to focus on a therapy that encourages your mind to positively impact your body at a physical level, thus improving your health.

To do this, seek activities that will help you to relax and concentrate. For example, meditation and deep breathing techniques are very helpful. You could also try yoga, tai chi or qigong.

Studies show that these disciplines can help reduce anxiety, depression, and anger. At the same time, they improve tolerance to pain. Also, they’ll have a positive impact on your self-esteem and energy levels. You’ll be able to relax and be ready to cope with any stressful situations.

Now you know a bit about the negative effects of post-traumatic stress in the body. However, you should also know that the treatment to overcome it must take into account work on both a physical and mental level. This way, you’ll recover your well-being and improve the quality of your life.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bryant, R. A. (2017). Posttraumatic stress disorder. In The Science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
  • Kim, S. H., Schneider, S. M., Kravitz, L., Mermier, C., & Burge, M. R. (2016). Mind-Body Practices for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Investigative Medicine.
  • McEwen, B. S. (2008). Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. European Journal of Pharmacology.
  • McEwen, B. S. (2006). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators: Central role of the brain. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.

The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.