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Health Spotlight: Silent symptoms

Health Spotlight: Silent symptoms

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Trauma—70% of adults will experience some form of it in their lives – that’s more than 220 million people in the U.S.

It can impact our physical and mental health, the way we live our lives, our work, and even the people closet to us. The thing about trauma is nobody knows who or how a person will experience it. In fact, trauma doesn’t have a timeline and can be triggered years, even decades after the event. Here are the silent symptoms to watch out for.

From something that impacted us all, to tragedies that may only happen to a few.

“Trauma’s a really interesting thing where a lot of times we’re trying to bury it and not even consciously,” said Jessica Gold, a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Gold says many times we believe if we push forward, we can overcome its effects.

“We just spent a day dealing with it and then kind of pulled ourselves together and went back and did our thing,” said Gold. And sometimes, then we think we’re fine. ‘That obviously didn’t affect me as much as it might have affected someone else.’”

“That can look like anxiety. It can look like trouble breathing.”

Gold says a body doesn’t forget.

“That there are things that remind you of the trauma that you feel in your body, and don’t know why.”

Maybe it’s a headache for no reason, a stomach ache, muscle tension, or a sore neck.

“Sometimes, with therapy, you can start to figure out what it’s related to.”

Delayed emotional response can also happen at any time.

“Emotional dysregulation will be what we would call that in fancier terms. But really, that just means ‘I’m angry at people and I don’t know why’, or ‘I’m irritable and I don’t know why,’” said Gold.

Understanding that trauma has no timeline, and what you’re experiencing is a reaction from the past is the first step to healing in the future.

When someone you know is going through trauma, the best thing to do is be there for them and listen.
But doctor gold says avoid saying things like, “I know what you’re going through,” “I’m so sorry for you,” “it could be worse” and “it will be ok.”

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.