While things like flashbacks, avoidance, hypervigilance, and mood swings are common symptoms of PTSD, they are not the only ones. If you are dealing with post-traumatic stress, you can contact the office of Dr. James Campbell, LLC for help. This article will go over a few examples of the lesser-known symptoms of PTSD so that you can recognize other ways in which you might be affected.
- Cravings and Weight Gain – One of the less well-known symptoms of PTSD is weight gain, particularly an increase in belly fat. This occurs because cortisol, the hormone released in response to stress, has a significant impact on appetite and on fat storage. Prolonged exposure to elevated cortisol levels can cause the body to store more fat in the abdomen. This change in fat distribution can change even when you eat a balanced diet, but you might also experience cravings for sugary or fatty foods.
- Digestive Issues – Traumatic and post-traumatic stress elevate the levels of cortisol and another hormone, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), in your body. These hormones can cause changes in your digestion. When dealing with PTSD, you may experience diarrhea in response to stressful or triggering situations, and you may even develop conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Cold Hands and Feet – Many of the symptoms of PTSD are misfiring survival responses—your body is doing things that would keep you alive in a genuine life-or-death situation, but these responses are disruptive now that you are safe again. For example, when in a dangerous situation, the body restricts blood flow to the hands and feet so more blood and oxygen can get to the brain and other vital organs. This leaves your hands and feet feeling cold.