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How Trauma Affects the Brain

jrtempleton - May 22, 2019

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Traumatic experiences can impact you physically and emotionally. Severe injury or the psychological distress of being in peril can also create changes within the brain. If you’ve dealt with trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may not be aware of the physical changes that may have happened to your brain and how those changes could be impacting your thoughts, memory, decision making and more.

Typical Brain Function

There are a few areas of the brain that are impacted more than others by trauma:

  • The amygdala is largely responsible for your reaction to fear and perceived threats. When it’s functioning properly, it helps regulate fight, flight or freeze responses and your sex drive. It also plays a significant role in how you perceive anger and sadness.
  • Your hippocampus is also involved with the regulation of emotions and how you perceive and navigate space. However, it is primarily associated with your memory and ability to learn new things.
  • How you express your personality, engage socially and make decisions are all functions of the prefrontal cortex.

Dealing with Physical or Emotional Trauma and the Brain

When your brain reacts to stress, the amygdala’s activity increases. Your hippocampus can shrink. These and other changes in the systems within the brain may lead to long-term disruption regarding future reactions to stress or trauma.

Trauma suffered earlier in life may cause greater damage to the brain. Most of your brain’s development occurs before you’re born, but it continues to change and grow into your late teens or early twenties. Traumatic experiences that occur as you age can have long-lasting effects on your emotional well-being, personality, memory function and more.

Trauma and Addiction

If you’re having trouble coping with trauma or PTSD, you may have found temporary relief in drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, when you start self-medicating for these kinds of issues, the effects of the drug often exacerbate the negative feelings you were trying to escape once the initial relief subsides. This may lead to a destructive cycle of increased use and further psychological turmoil.

Early experimentation with alcohol may also lead to issues later in life with anxiety and stress responses. Trauma resolution therapy can be an invaluable tool when used as part of a comprehensive addiction recovery plan.

Get Help for Addiction in Florida at Footprints Beachside Recovery

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, you can expect personalized treatment based on your unique, individual needs. The knowledgeable, compassionate staff will work with you on a recovery plan to help you avoid the pitfalls of relapse and regain control of your life.

Maybe you’re worried about the cost of treatment or you think you’re only harming yourself. These excuses are standing between you and a better, happier, healthier life. Don’t find reasons to delay your own personal growth. Contact our team today to find out how to begin recovering from addiction and trauma.