mental illness, narcissistic victim abuse syndrome, narcissistic victim syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd, PTSD and bowel problems

PTSD – It’s Effect on the Immune System

If you have PTSD ,  you might find that you are having physical reactions to the stress and you are sick more often.  PTSD can cause a variety of problems that come from  interference with the normal functioning of your immune system.

The DNA in the group with PTSD showed a significant increase of a gene that made them more vulnerable to multiple types of sicknesses. One particular gene, called the unmethylated gene, was more abundant in PTSD patients than in non-PTSD patients.

This increase proved to drastically impact a person’s life. Their immune systems ultimately were compromised. Rochelle Oliver –  Psych Central . Article called Traumatic Experienced Weaken Immune System Gene

If you noticed that you became sick more often after going though traumatic ongoing abuse then it was not all in your head. Your immune system was compromised by the PTSD. 

Personally I ended up in the hospital and / or the ER  repeatedly after my abusive relationship. Soon after the relationship ended,  within a couple of weeks, I got a severe intestinal infection and I was admitted to the hospital after spending 4 hours in the Emergency Room to stabilize my blood pressure, which had gone down to 69 over 42. 

After that hospital stay I was week for a while and then got back on my feet again.  In another few weeks I had a relapse of the intestinal infection which was treated with another round of Cipro antibiotics.

The a few weeks later I began to feel very ill. I was afraid the intestinal infection had come back. I was vomiting this time, which had not occurred before. I had a fever and sweating. I was very sick and by the time I dragged myself to the ER I could hardly walk. 

They gave me a CT scan on the hospital and they determined that it was not an intestinal infection this time, but a severe kidney infection. The kidneys were filled with bacterial infection and if I had not gotten myself to the ER I could have died. 

The doctors did not understand how someone my age could get two unrelated infections so close together. The infections were in different organs and both of them were severe and life threatening. 

I suspected that my immune system might be crashing but I did not think the doctors would believe that PTSD was causing this, so I did not bother to say anything.

I decided to research this after I became better from the illnesses. It was a slow and painful road to healing.

We know that people with PTSD have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, which are diseases associated chronic inflammation.  Steve Tokar  Article called “Men’s and Women’s Immune Systems Respond Differently to PTSD.

Men who return from combat zones end up with PTSD and a variety of physical illnesses. Research has been done and is still being done about the reasons for immune system crashing after a person experiences trauma.

“This is the first time that it’s been shown that men and women respond differently to PTSD on a very basic biological level.”   Lynn Pulliam, MS, PhD, chief of microbiology at SFVAMC and professor at UCSF.

People with PTSD are more likely to develop heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. There is too much stress on the heart and on the entire biological state of the body.

“…research explains why people with PTSD have always been more susceptible to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among many other disorders.”  Rochelle Oliver –  Psych Central

They also have an inflammatory response which causes an increased risk of early onset severe arthritis, which can eventually become debilitating. Arthritis is a painful condition which is caused by inflammation and eventual deterioration of the joints.

The brain of someone with PTSD has biological changes in the neural pathways and the way the  sympathetic nervous system handles stress.

The normal functioning of the system is damaged due to the “fight or flight mode” being activated for too long.  During a situation of threat and perceived danger, the sympathetic nervous system does its job to try to alert you.


“In individuals with PTSD, the HPA axis response is dysregulated. Individuals with PTSD have low circulating levels of cortisol.

In one study of motor vehicle accident victims, low cortisol levels immediately after the accident were associated with the development of PTSD and high cortisol levels were associated with the development of depression.”  Medscape article Gender Differences in PTSD

PTSD is a very real mental disorder and it can cause the sufferers to have a much lower quality of life.

It affects all aspects of a person’s life including social life, family life, work life and  romantic life. PTSD can interfere with a person’s ability to perform basic daily tasks and even to take care of their personal grooming and other needs.

PTSD is painful and frightening. The memories of the event linger and victims often have vividflashbacks. Frightened and traumatized, they are almost always on edge and the slightest of cues sends them hurtling back inside their protective shells.

Usually victims try to avoid people, objects, and situations that remind them of their hurtful experiences; this behavior is debilitating and prevents them from living their lives meaningfully. by  – Brain


The reality that the immune system becomes compromised adds to the problems. The combination of mental illness and physical illnesses can cause the sufferer to lose all hope and feel that their life is worthless.

More research is being done about PTSD, and hopefully there will be more information about this disorder. If you suffer from PTSD, know that you are not alone and there is hope.

The best thing is to find someone to talk to about your feelings, who has a frame of reference to understand what you are going through.

Since PTSD is invisible, it is often difficult for people who have not experienced any kind of mental illness, to understand it.


It is not through any fault of your own. It is easy to lose hope and to feel like self isolating. Being alone all the time can cause more problems with loneliness and depression.

If someone is triggering to your PTSD then try not to spend much time with them. In the mean time reach out and find a few people that you can talk to that validate your experiences and feelings. There is no reason to suffer alone.

If you cannot find anyone to communicate with, there are many people in the blogging world and support groups on the internet where you can find some support and relief.

Blessings for peace of mind.


15 thoughts on “PTSD – It’s Effect on the Immune System”

  1. Before I left the abusive relationship, I was sick all the time. I constantly had pneumonia and/or bronchitis. I could hardly stand up my nervous system was so stressed. I have not been sick like that since I left. Thank you for this post, very informative and helpful.


    1. I believe it. Your immune system was compromsed from having your brain attacked. Our brains, thoughts, emotions, and bodies are interlinked. There is no way to attack one system without the others.

      I am very glad you are out of the relationship that was harming you. It takes a long while to heal but we can get to a better place and the physical health improves.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is amazing how things sometimes present rhemselves just when you need them. I had a similar experience the other day.

      Thank you for letting me know that the post was helpful to you.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Annie… nice to read one of your posts again. I’ve been thinking about a video you had on your blog several months ago (I’m sure it’s you). It was a documentary about a “self-professed narcissist” he was also a leading expert… not sure if he was a doctor of psychology. Anyway, I was wondering if you could find the link to that post or the link to utube. I can’t seem to recall his name… perhaps Lou-something. I’d like to have another chance to see it. Many thanks, hope you’re well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would be Sam Vaknin. I can tell you more about him. As far as a psychology degree…he does not have anything like that.
      Sam Vaknin is a psychopathic narcissist. He is very intelligent and he gives a lot of accurate information. Most of it is correct. Some of it contradicts itself and some of the videos are opinions I do not agree with.

      I have watched all of his videos more than one time. You can get good info as long as you keep in mind that he is generating his narcissistic supply by taking on the role as a person who cares about the victims of narcissistic abuse, which he does not. He is not empathetic or compassionate.

      What particular did you want to know about him? I have studied him for many months.I will give you a couple of links that might help…


      1. Thank you, Annie. I didn’t need to know anything in particular, but just wanted to hear him again. The guy is scary and I would avoid this kind of person like the plague. Do you think that, for a narcissist, he’s very aware or maybe this is all intelligence and no feeling. Thanks for the links, appreciated 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, definitely “all intelligence and not feeling”. He has a video called Cold Empathy and he also does an interview with someone about that. I would not recommend the interview because the other guy in the video and Sam together are a very annoying combination to listen to. But the cold empathy is the ability of the narcissist to understand what you want, what your situation is, what things would hurt you or help you etc.
      This is the skill they use to identify which tactics will injure you the most. They also use the cold empathy to lure the vicitim and sustain the idealization phase for a while. They cannot stand to keep it up for very long.
      There are some videos by Sam where I notice very narcissistic comments. His followers are his narcissistic cult. They all like to have a cult of some kind.
      You are right, I would avoid him too. I notice some other youtubers interviewing him but i also see how he manipulates their words and pushes their buttons. I would not risk an interview with him.


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