Understanding the Effects of Trauma on Young Adult Mental Health
Every day, young adults confront various forms of intrusive traumatic experiences, ranging from one-time events such as natural disasters or violent acts to chronic experiences of distress or abuse. Research shows that when left unresolved, these traumas can have long-term mental health implications and can lead to a range of physical and psychological conditions. Understanding the implications of these traumas is essential in helping young adults develop the resilience required to cope in today’s world.
The Different Kinds of Trauma
Young adults may experience a variety of traumas growing up, and each type of trauma has unique psychological and emotional effects. Some of the most common types of trauma include:
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse can include physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, as well as emotional neglect. The long-term effects of emotional abuse can include depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse can range from physical assault or battery to physical and sexual violence. The long-term effects of physical abuse can include depression and feelings of worthlessness or shame, as well as physical health problems.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse includes the abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs. Long-term substance abuse can lead to addiction, physical illnesses, and mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse can include any type of non-consensual sexual contact, including rape and sexual assault. The long-term effects of sexual abuse can include depression, PTSD, and substance abuse problems, as well as physical and emotional health issues.
- Domestic violence: Domestic violence can range from verbal or emotional abuse to physical and sexual violence. The long-term effects of domestic violence can include depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
The Impact of Trauma on Young Adult Mental Health
When left unresolved, these traumas can have long-term implications on young adult mental health, ranging from changes in behavior and emotions to serious mental health conditions, such as depression and PTSD.
Some of the most common mental health issues that trauma can cause in young adults include:
- Depression: Traumatic experiences can lead to chronic feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and helplessness. These feelings can lead to avoidance of social interactions and withdrawal from activities.
- Anxiety: Anxiety can manifest in different forms, such as general anxiety disorder or panic disorder. It can be caused by traumatic experiences, and can lead to physical symptoms like sweaty palms, racing pulse, and shortness of breath.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is a serious mental health disorder that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of activities or people associated with the trauma, and feelings of detachment or numbness.
- Substance Abuse: Traumatic events can lead to substance abuse issues, as young adults may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their distress or avoid dealing with the trauma.
How to Build Resilience and Overcome Trauma
Although the effects of trauma can be devastating, there are steps that young adults can take to build resilience and overcome trauma. Some of these steps include:
- Seek professional help: It is important for young adults to seek professional help from a qualified mental health care provider, such as a therapist or psychologist. Working with a mental health care provider can help young adults develop the skills and coping strategies needed to manage their trauma.
- Practice self-care: Self-care is essential for young adults dealing with trauma. This can include activities such as spending time outdoors, exercising, meditating, getting enough sleep, and engaging in creative pursuits.
- Stay connected: Young adults can increase their resilience by staying connected with friends, family, and other supportive individuals in their lives. Connecting with others can provide support and perspective, and can help young adults feel less isolated and overwhelmed.
- Engage in helpful activities: Engaging in activities that are stimulating and enjoyable can help young adults manage and cope with their trauma. Examples of such activities can include taking a class, volunteering, or pursuing a hobby.
The impact of trauma on young adult mental health cannot be underestimated. With the right resources and support, young adults can develop the resilience needed to cope with and manage their traumatic experiences. It is important for young adults to seek professional help, practice self-care, stay connected to supportive individuals, and engage in helpful activities in order to build resilience and manage their trauma.
If you would like further information on how to build resilience and cope with trauma, contact one of our qualified mental health care professionals today. At ABC Mental Health, we offer a range of professional mental health services for young adults, including individual and group counseling.
Contact us today to find out more about the services we offer and how we can help you or a loved one cope with trauma.