October 13, 2022

Surgery PTSD: Mind-Body Trauma and Anesthesia

Dr. Kaveh describes surgery PTSD and what it's symptoms are, especially under anesthesia from anesthesia awareness or recall

Physical trauma affects our mental health just as much as mental trauma affects our physical health, but my patients rarely know this. Physical effects of PTSD can be seen in surgery under anesthesia, from the neurologic changes of chronic mental health disease, as well as the medications and substances used to manage the symptoms. Anesthesia awareness, in particular, can be a major cause of trauma surgery PTSD. Major depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, and past traumas all have very real effects on our physical body.

I share a personal story from a patient who had a history of physical trauma surgery but never recovered from the mental trauma resulting from it. Those effects of the mental trauma became clear when the patient was under anesthesia for subsequent surgery. This is revealed through heart health, brain response to anesthesia, and so much more. The physical effects of trauma are very real and tangible, especially in the operating room for surgery and anesthesia.

One of the strongest protectors from PTSD is the presence and strength of our support systems. Support before, during, and after atraumatic experience is a strong predictor of whether that experience will turn into PTSD in the future. The medications that our body is exposed to can also affect the risk of developing PTSD in the future after a traumatic episode.

In this video, I travel to the University of California, San Francisco, to reveal this powerful connection between physical traumas and mental traumas, and vice versa. There are many trauma surgeries at the Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco, and we must all appreciate the importance of supporting the mental health of these patients as soon as the physical body is ready. Otherwise, we run the risk of treating the physical body but breaking the mind.

Fortunately, there are powerful ways we can strengthen our mind and body to have incredible resilience and coping mechanisms in the face of life’s inevitable traumas and hardships. You have more power over your health than you've probably ever been told.

Visit Dr. Kaveh in San Francisco to experience how psychedelic medicine can help you overcome depression, anxiety, addiction, and chronic pain.

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