The Impact Of Unprocessed Trauma

unprocessed trauma

The impact of unprocessed trauma will often result in unfamiliar mental and physical difficulties. After experiencing an overwhelming amount of stress, many of us will tend to use avoidance in the hope of overcoming the trauma which has taken place. Unprocessed trauma can potentially warp the outlook we obtain of our own lives, leading us to react to any future situations abnormally.

The Mental Impact

The conversation around the mental and emotional impact which can follow a traumatic life event is being increasingly recognised. Over time, we have been gaining an understanding that unresolved trauma can cause significant negative effects upon any one of us and may strike at any given time. Many people will not respond to a traumatic incident straight away –  in many cases, it can take weeks, months, or even years for the triggers of an event to creep up within our lives.

This is why it is essential to understand the importance of recognising and processing the events that have taken place. If left untreated, trauma can grow to affect our day to day life and may result in experiencing side effects such as:

  • Flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Dissociation
  • Hyper Arousal
  • Sleeping problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Grief
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance misuse[1]

These post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms can significantly affect our quality of life and may even cause emotional impairment and damage our relationships with others. In contrast to feelings of happiness and state of calmness, we may often be confronted with unexpected feelings of:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Irritability

These feelings can spill over, and we may take them out on the people in our lives. It can be extremely alarming to react in an unnatural way to what we are used to. We can become frustrated as we mourn the loss of who we once were. However, it is important to give ourselves positive recognition and understand that when experiencing a traumatic life event, our minds will quickly switch into survival mode. Due to this, our minds also rewrite the way we absorb the world around us.

It is more often than not that these life events will change us forever, yet acceptance and acknowledgement are crucial to overcoming them as much as possible. 

The Physical Impact

Unprocessed trauma can cause mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. It can also have a major effect on our physical well-being.

The physical impact of unresolved trauma can result in a diverse range of outcomes, from unnerving nightmares and flashbacks to adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms. It can often be overlooked just how much traumatic events can have short- and long-term effects on the body.[2] Trauma affects how we function and can potentially cause impairments to our physical health, including:

  • Substance abuse
  • Overeating
  • Increased rate of adrenaline
  • Inflammation of the body

These ways of coping can formulate an unhealthy reality, as it is reported through a Harvard Health Study that these can lead to potential side effects in the future, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke[3]

It is important to remain mindful of what we consume and what effect that may have on our recovery process. It may sometimes feel unfair that we have to observe more of what goes into our bodies, and it can even feel like wasted time at worst. But when learning to understand how trauma affects our bodies, growing a little vigilant of what goes in isn’t bad!

When learning to understand how our trauma affects our everyday lives, it can sometimes seem frustrating to be unable to return to our usual way of approaching life. Yet this reset will encourage us all to adapt and grow in opposition to avoiding and suppressing, potentially leading us further into numerous health complications.

Resolving The Unresolved

It may seem somewhat impossible to recover from trauma at the start of your journey. You may feel as though there is no point, or that it is too late for you to start trying. However, this is not the case, and there are many exercises to get in touch with the unprocessed traumas that we carry and reprocess them in the most natural, healthy, and beneficial way.

There are many routes that you can take to begin to work with unprocessed trauma. However, one of the most powerful ways to reclaim your body is through yoga. Yoga reintroduces the relationship between our minds and our bodies. There is evidence that trauma-sensitive yoga (TSY) not only reduces the effects of PTSD placed upon us but depression and anxiety too.

Yoga holds the power to reset us all back to the very basics. Reminding our bodies of how to breathe mindfully to feel the benefits of taking a moment to ourselves. Yoga can work as a way to form a deep connection with your body and take care of your inner self once again.[4]


It is not an easy path to resolve unprocessed trauma, but it can be done. No matter how long you have lived with trauma, you can heal and live your life free of the adverse effects that trauma can bring.

If you have a client or know of someone struggling with unprocessed trauma, reach out to us at Khiron Clinics. We believe that we can improve therapeutic outcomes and avoid misdiagnosis by providing an effective residential programme and outpatient therapies addressing trauma. Allow us to help you find the path to realistic, long-lasting recovery. For more information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).


[1] Mind 2020

[2] 2018 Sep; 24(5): 319–333.

[3] “Post traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Problematic Overeating Behaviours in Young Men and Women”. Ann Behav Med. 2017

[4] Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, volume 24, August 2016, Pages 32-40

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