Deep Bench: Mental health impacts of abuse and trauma

WAUSAU, Wis. (WZAW) -- Abuse and trauma can have long-term effects on your mental health. It can affect how you feel about yourself and how you relate to others.

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Anyone who has gone through abuse, whether physical, emotional, verbal or sexual, or other forms of trauma, have a higher risk of developing a mental health conditon, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lee Shipway, a licensed clinical social worker and co-executive director of Peaceful Solutions Counseling in Wausau, joined the Deep Bench on Wednesday.

"Whenever trauma occurs, it does a great injustice to not just the brain, but also the body, and so the mental health gets affected, because in a trauma situation, someone has something that they've experienced that creates so much fear that the brain can't process it, to put it in very simple terms," Shipway said.

She said sometimes people go through dissociation, where they leave their body during the height of the trauma.

"Later they have a very difficult time retrieving all the pieces of the memory, or it comes back in different pieces a little at a time," Shipway added.

Shipway said because there's been so much very, the amygdala gets hyper-vigilant and people start to have depression or anxiety symptoms. She said you can experience nighmares or feeling like you're experiencing the trauma all over again.

"It can produce some very long-range effects, lifetime long. People have trouble with their relationships a lot of times after this."

Shipway said there are many types of trauma experiences you can have, whether tornadoes, floods, car crashes and experiencing combat overseas for those in the military.

"As well as kids who witness domestic violence. People don't often think of that,"she added.

Nervousness, being on edge, feelings of anxiety and sleeplessness are just some signs that a person is affected by an abuse or trauma.

"If you feel any of those symptoms happening to you, you really should seek out the help of a mental health professional."