How psychological trauma physically affects you
Following on from previous article 'The Physical Effects of Trauma and Abuse', in this article I will explore 'how' psychological trauma affects you physically with some examples; perhaps you may relate to some of them. Once again, I am not suggesting that all health issues are caused by psychological trauma, as there may be genetic, social, environmental and nutritional factors, but if you can explore the root cause of your health issues holistically to avoid chemical medication, that has to be a good thing for you and the planet!
Trauma may occur when you experience the following situations;
- events that occur without warning
- events that you were not prepared to deal with
- negative events that occurred multiple times
- events that left you feeling powerless
- events that left you feeling remorseful without ready resolution
Our survival responses to trauma include not only 'fight' and 'flight', but also 'freeze' and 'appease'. Our nervous system exerts a huge amount of energy which can become trapped in freeze and appease.
Here is a list of some physical impacts of trauma, and some suitable resolutions;
1. Brain architecture
- Shrinkage in the prefrontal cortex (planning complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour), corpus callosum (the bridge between the left and right sides of the brain, vital for physical co-ordination), and the hippocampus (the formation of new memories that is also associated with learning and emotions).
- Enlarged and more reactive amygdala (shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions).
Resolution - safe, stable, nurturing relationships, a nature walk, touch, and exercise.
2. Brain waves
- Predomination of the wrong brain waves in the wrong part of the brain leads to anxiety, an inability to concentrate, and seizures.
Resolution - Neurotherapy.
3. Neural pathways
- The need to 'rewire' our brain from old thought patterns and habits of mind, conscious and unconscious.
Resolution - meditation/mindful action, and positive self-talk.
- Prolonged high cortisol and ghrelin create greater reactivity to stress.
- Long term damage to cells, structures of the body, and other hormone glands (thyroid).
Resolution - oxytocin ('the love hormone').
- Elimination - intestines and kidneys are less able to eliminate toxins (slow gut or unbalanced flora).
Resolution - salt baths and a sauna.
6. Cellular change
- Shortens 'telomeres' (the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes), which prematurely ages and reduces reproduction of cells. This can also cause cancer.
Resolution - social support.
- Turns genes on or off in adaptation to dangerous environments; its effect can last for generations.
Resolution - a safer environment (or perception of).
8. Nervous system
- Supercharged sympathetic nervous system.
- Parasympathetic nervous system not engaged to bring back into balance.
Resolution - yoga, breathing, or other physical/emotional regulation.
9. Immune system
- Resistance to cortisol or lower cortisol creates unchecked inflammation.
- The cause of many diseases - asthma, arthritis, etc.
Resolution - meditation/mindful action, walking in nature, diet, and rest.
- Vulnerable to addiction as dopamine transmitters/receptors are not developed or damaged. Reduces motivation and focus, and creates fatigue.
- Low serotonin causes depression.
Resolution - all of the above, and talking therapies such as hypnotherapy.
You may have been affected by one of the above; perhaps trauma has led to you having physical health or psychological issues which have impacted your relationships, work, or general quality of life. You do not have to suffer in silence or alone - hypnotherapy can help you to explore the root causes of your presenting issues, releasing trapped energy.
Our bodies can also have physical trauma memory, as the brain isn't the only part of our bodies that remembers the trauma. Every cell of our bodies can remember the trauma, even when our brain is not consciously thinking about it.
Thank you for reading!
(I do not advise stopping any prescribed medication in exchange for holistic remedies without first consulting your GP.)
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About Bradley Dearman
Bradley Dearman - Senior Hypnotherapist | Dip Hyp Psych | Dip C Hyp | GHR (REG)
I implement effective Hypno-Psychotherapy methods to guide self-understanding among clients and encourage them to adopt new attitudes and feelings towards life situations.
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