Updated: Jul 29, 2019
Trauma can be a result of one event or the result of several less severe events spread over a period of time (Richards, n.d.). The entire human system is affected by trauma and if it is left to reside within the body and mind without treatment it can lead to a manifestation of a variety of physical symptoms not limited to the ones described below (ASCA, n.d.).
The interaction between the brain/nervous system and the hormones produced is called the neuro-endocrine system. Disturbances to the neuro-endocrine system affect primary psychological and physiological functions, such as moods, stress response, immune system, digestion, etc.
The nervous system is affected by the overflow of fight or flight hormones and becomes highly active in response to a consistent anticipation of further danger as seen in the symptoms of PTSD. An overloaded nervous system means an ever-present fear is maintained even if the environment is 'safe'.
Major pathways connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain are interrupted leading to less integration between the hemispheres and leading to irregular shifts in mood or personality.
The production of thyroid hormones are decreased leading to a less adaptable metabolism which in turn contributes other health issues.
The effect of stress and trauma has far reaching consequences since without intervention and an attempt to correct the dysfunction within the body and brain, patterns become set throughout life and are thus passed from generation to generation.
Next post: How mindfulness reverses the effects of trauma
Adults Surviving Child Abuse. (n.d.). Impact on the physiology of the brain. Retrieved from http://www.asca.org.au/WHAT-WE-DO/Resources/General-Information/Impact-on-the-physiology-of-the-brain
Richards, N. (n.d.). Trauma’s impact on the body. Retrieved from http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/reunion/traumas-impact-body