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Trauma and Hep C

When we think of trauma, we usually think of the trauma unit in a hospital, or a physical event. I am sure many of you understand that it is not just a physical manifestation; The emotional trauma that people experience can be just as damaging, and in many cases, it does not heal without treatment, not to mention rest, recuperation, and therapy.

Typical forms of trauma

We are all familiar with the term “PTSD” (post-traumatic stress disorder) and have some idea of what a terrible condition it is for the people who are suffering with it. Until not so long ago it was a term mostly used when describing what soldiers experienced after combat. Sometimes, personal injury such as limb loss accompanies their PTSD. We are all at least familiar with how destructive PTSD can be for those affected, including their families who struggle to understand and cope themselves.

Can hepatitis C cause trauma?

I am of the opinion and belief that in some people, hep C is a cause of trauma. It has the doubled impact of physical and emotional/psychological impacts. We are all familiar with the stigma, and you know I have written exhaustively about its destructive and damaging ability. I am not suggesting that hep C, in itself, is a cause for PTSD, but I use it as an example of the connection between the physical and emotional when it comes to trauma.

The effects of trauma

In recent conversations with peers, the topic of trauma has been weaving its way into the discourse. A friend recently shared an insight into the trauma experiences that can lead people to certain “behaviors”, such as drug use had led to hep C. For example, child abuse, both emotional and physical, is traumatic. The long-term effects can vary, but the trauma of any abuse, drug use, alcohol addiction, homelessness, or other challenging life experiences can shape how we fight disease, function socially, hold down employment, etc.

You may be asking why I am writing about trauma, and I get it. If you are one of the people who has lived a safe life, free of trauma of any kind, it may be alien entirely. I am not suggesting that anyone take on the persona as a victim because of their hep C diagnosis, we are not all the same. Feelings matter, and how we are affected by disease and life events matters, and that is why it is becoming harder for me to separate the two. If you think you are struggling with the effects of trauma in this context or any other, I would encourage you to ask for help, I have.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Tash
    7 months ago

    it’s nice to see an article about this topic because I personally have had types of trauma from having hep c even after being cured. I have had difficulties trusting since having hep c due to people I thought were friends completely walking out of my life due to the simple fact I’ve had hep c at any point in my life or treating me like I’m some walking disease that could infect them just by being in the same room as them & have even had some challenge the fact I’m cured saying that I’m still able to infect them, that being cured only means the virus is under control but I’m still infectious. That right there has taken a mental toll of always having to defend myself, showing proof that no I am cured which means I can NOT infect anyone anymore, & just because a resource center said otherwise they’re not professionals or specialists who have any right to say that. It’s exhausting honestly. I also see a doctor for mental health & have struggled even more with anxiety & depression since having hep c. I am still more tired than I once was before being infected with hep c & after getting cured it did help with my energy returning but not to the full extent beforehand. I’ve been accused of being a “junkie” & many other things I’d rather not post even though I didn’t get infected through drugs but even if that was the case it doesn’t make it right for people to call you horrible names just because you had suffered from hep c. I wish schools would add hepatitis c to the list of diseases you can get & educate people about so the stigma people suffer on top of suffering from a deadly virus might not face as much hatred from people who are uneducated about the REAL facts of hep c.

    I personally believe there is a reason why when someone like myself can get cured, we call ourselves survivors. We are survivors in more than just hep c, we continue to be survivors every day of our lives by being able to overcome both the trauma, aftermath, & stigma of having hep c.

  • Daryl Luster author
    7 months ago

    Tash, I am sorry you have been traumatized in your hep c experience, and appreciate you sharing in your experience. It is important that we share I think, and to know we are not alone in this thing, and we aren’t at all. The stigma around hep c continues to cause us all to be judged in ways that are simply wrong. Whether you, or anyone else was exposed through drug use is not important and one day I hope we can move on from that belief that so many still hold about how we got hep c. It is based in shame and blame, and how would that ever help anyone who is dealing with a disease. Yes, like you I am a survivor and know what you mean when you say it is not only hep c. Keep on keeping on as we used to say, and I know you will. Thanks again for sharing, it matters!

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