Mental illness is any emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that are thought to be out of the norm. There is a debate as to whether mental illness is caused by nature, nurture, or both. Some theorize that most human beings are born without mental illness but somewhere down the line we start experiences some pretty torturous symptoms. The consensus of clinicians now believe that someone who experiences trauma, whether that be one event or several, will also experience an increase in stress for a period of time and if that stress goes untreated then it will sit in our bodies and eventually turn into anxiety. A lot of trauma can cause that anxiety/stress to turn toxic which creates an environment for more concerning disorders such as OCD, addiction, eating disorders, dissociation/numbness, personality disorder, and mood disorders. Trauma can also cause physical ailments whether that be aches and pains or auto immune diseases. You heard that some people die from a broken heart? Well, there is actually some truth to that. Can you image what these negative feelings/sensations are doing the body and brain? Scientists are also finding more evidence to support the theory that trauma may be the cause of all mental illnesses. Most of my patients are even surprised that they experienced trauma because we mistakenly believed that trauma is only the real bad stuff. But believe it or not, trauma can be anything that is upsetting and/or confusing to an individual. If you find yourself thinking about an image, thought, words, person, event, etc. for a period of time and you have some tension, anxiety, or numbness to go with it then you probably have trauma. Most people experience trauma but most of us don't realize how much it has an affect on every part of us.
The way we treat this is by releasing the stress that is essentially stuck in your body and teach your mind and body how to relax. By creating a more peaceful environment for your mind and body to thrive in, your body will begin to heal itself. How long this process will take all depends on the person. Everyone is different. But I have hopes that everyone can be helped and I have personally helped numerous individuals achieve this and they have grown into people they aspired to be. It's all about calming your entire body down. Your body loves calm and peaceful environments. When the stress is reduced in the body then the mind/body doesn't need to partake in any maladaptive coping skills. Maladaptive coping skills are any coping skill that does more harm than actually helps. Can you identify what yours may be? Everyone usually has at least one but the extremity of our maladaptive coping skill is usually determined by the trauma.
So many factors determine the severity of the symptoms due to trauma. A three year old is not going to experience the death of a parent the same way a 10 year old might. three year olds do not understand death but 10 yr olds will because their brains are more developed. The 10 year old, because they understand death, will have a much stronger emotional reaction than the three year old who will probably not even have a reaction. Someone who grows up in a home with frequent fighting is usually going to have anxiety/depressive symptoms vs. someone who grew up in a more peaceful home.