The Impact of Trauma on Brain Functioning

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    Trauma occurs in a variety of forms and sizes. Emotional trauma, physical trauma, or trauma produced by persistent, chronic stress or harmful social, political, or romantic interactions can all result in trauma. Trauma is frequently not a transitory event, but rather something felt across the entire body, echoing in the future way we think, feel, and absorb information.

    Trauma can cause changes in the brain

    Traumatic stress can create long-term alterations in some brain locations. Traumatic stress affects the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, often owing to increased cortisol production and norepinephrine response, which is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter that elevates the heart rate. Following catastrophic stress, both cortisol and norepinephrine are quickly released in times of more ordinary everyday stress, prompting the body to react negatively.

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    The amygdala is located in the temporal lobe’s centre. Its aim is to detect serious dangers and trigger our sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight reaction. It also aids in the storage of new memories regarding threat-related circumstances, allowing us to avoid them in the future. The prefrontal cortex’s job is to manage attention and situational awareness, as well as to assist us make the best judgements in potentially stressful situations. The hippocampus’s function is related to learning and memory. It is malleable and changing, and it may be harmed by a variety of stressors.

    Consider PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). According to Psychology Today, it might make it difficult to build healthy, happy relationships or to bear the uncertainties and let-downs that come with life. It can also induce unwarranted fears, sleep disruption, anxiety and sadness, and difficulty focusing or concentrating on activities. Our capacity to manage appropriate emotional reactions is repressed, and our fear centre is overactive.

    Trauma causes other changes throughout our body

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    Other ways that these brain alterations might influence our daily lives are that they can make us hypervigilant, short-tempered, and generally agitated. This sort of unjustified, prolonged everyday stress wears on our bodies. It hides in our tendons and joints, creating strain and, on rare occasions, injury. It is harsh on our skin, causes us to age faster, causes us to sleep less, reduces our immune system, and makes us prone to chronic diseases and inflammation.

    There are, however, ways to recover, but they need commitment. We must rewire our minds, which is a difficult but doable task. It requires time, effort, and ritualised repetition. It is suggested that a traumatised individual seek professional counselling, although mindfulness practises and breathing exercises may be quite effective—they only demand entire dedication.

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