Psychological trauma is damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event. Trauma is usually the result of an awesome amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved that have.
Symptoms of psychological trauma
- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- Anxiety and fear
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected or number
Stress and how it impacts aging?
It is totally normal to experience traumatic stress due to disturbing events, which may be coronavirus pandemic, a traffic accident, plane crash, violent crime, or a natural disaster like an earthquake, hurricane, or flood. You may feel intense shock, confusion, and fear, or feel numb or overwhelmed by a number of conflicting emotions, sometimes all directly. And these emotions aren’t limited to the people that experienced the event. Round-the-clock news and social media coverage mean we’re all bombarded with horrific images of tragedy, suffering, and loss almost the moment they occur anywhere within the world. Repeated exposure can overwhelm your nervous system and make traumatic stress even as if you experienced the event firsthand.
Traumatic stress can shatter your sense of security, leaving you feeling helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world, especially if the traumatic event was manmade, such as a shooting or act of terrorism. You may feel physically and emotionally drained, or find it difficult to focus, sleep, or control your temper. These are all normal responses to abnormal events.
A wide range of studies has shown that the stress caused by things like untreated depression, social isolation, long-term unemployment, and anxiety attacks can speed-up the aging process by shortening the length of each DNA strand.
Every human cell has 46 chromosomes,23 come from your father, and 23 come from your mother. Each chromosome is sort of a DNA library with two protective caps on the top referred to as telomeres. As telomeres become shorter and their structural integrity weakens, which causes cells to age faster and die younger. In human cells, telomeres are usually single-stranded DNA that contains several thousand repeats of a simple sequence.
At a certain point of shrinkage, cells lose their ability to divide further. This stage is known as “replicative senescence.” Cellular senescence is a necessary mechanism to eliminate worn-out cells, but it also appears to contribute to premature aging and shorter human lifespans.
Diseases which follow due to psychological stress which cause aging
The four major pathological conditions are:
- Acute confusional state (Delirium): It characteristically occurs over hours or days, usually accompanied by acute physical illness. Levels of alertness fluctuate, being worse in the dark, with lucid spells during the day, although the person is often disorientated to time and place. They may be fearful, irritable, and aggressive. Paranoid ideas are normal as auditory hallucinations and visual. Symptoms can be resolved when the underlying cause is treated.
- Depression: It is characterized by abnormally low mood may be developed over weeks or months. The signs include loss of interest in life, neglect of private appearance and hygiene plus the expression of recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideas. Concentration levels are low, decisions difficult to make as are the carrying out of daily tasks. The person may complain of multiple physical symptoms, sleep, and appetite also become affected with a resultant decrease in energy.
- Paraphrenia: It isn’t universally accepted as a definite syndrome. The person is usually female, lives alone, and has evidence of inauspicious social interactions earlier in life. The report of plots against them, that specialize in relations, which are persistent, extreme, and elaborate. Usually, cognitive impairment is not present, but a hearing impairment is common. Although the person is physically independent, social functioning and cooperation with staff members are greatly impaired.
- Dementia: It is an umbrella term used for signs and symptoms characterized by a generalized and irredeemable impairment of intellect, memory, and personality. The decline is permanent and progressive. The three most common types of dementia are:
- Alzheimer’s disease: A neurodegenerative disorder with generalized brain cell loss, especially in the cortex, plus extracellular plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles. It has a progressive unremitting course with widespread loss of function and abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is slightly more common in women than in men.
- Vascular dementia: small or large vascular lesions cause focal damage within the brain with resultant focal neurological signs. Stepwise deterioration in cognitive and physical function occurs. It is more common in men than in women, and there’s usually a past history of cardiovascular pathology (e.g. hypertension).
- Lewy Body dementia: presents with very different patterns of symptoms including clouding of consciousness, paranoid delusions, complex visual hallucinations, falls, depressive symptoms, and auditory hallucinations.
Just as it can often take time to clear the rubble and repair the damage following a disaster or traumatic event, it also can take time to recover your emotional equilibrium and rebuild your life. But there are specific things you can do to help yourself and your loved ones cope with the emotional aftermath of trauma—and find a way to move on with your life.
Sooner or later people are going to lose their sanity due to lack of human interaction, it’s very important to keep yourself emotionally strong in such difficult times.