To start the discussion about trauma, we must first understand how trauma is defined in a psychological perspective. You see, science makes a point to differentiate between STRESS and TRAUMA but how does it do this exactly? Well, apparently, it’s not an exact calculation but rather multiple growing observations. It is believed that STRESS is a natural response to a threat or heightened need for awareness. When a person responds to stress, they will usually display resilience accompanied by multiple bodily functions like rapid heart rate, vision changes, decreased digestion etc. A stress response should have little to no major effect on the neuro pathways of the brain.
Trauma on the other hand is defined as an intense emotional experience that cause such a strong cognitive and emotional impact that they actually cause new neuro pathways to form. This brain reconfiguration affects the organs, hormones and more. Individuals with high ACES scores or Adverse Childhood Experiences are at a substantially increased risk of chronic disease and autoimmunity.
In fact, observational studies have linked poor EMH’s or Emotional Holding Patterns (how someone represses stress and traumas) to an increase in mental health instability. When these neuro pathways and trauma pathways stress the organs, the body uses more nutrients and the organs also produce more toxins leading to nutrient difficiency and chronic inflammation which is present in nearly all know disease.
It is believed that the neurological effects of trauma also play into brain-based irregularities such as spectrum “disorders.” If you’ll notice, we put “disorders” in quotes because we believe the human brain and the purpose of each individual to be powerful and purposeful and where there are irregularities in typical patterns, you will often find brilliance in others.
Understanding trauma this way allows us to advocate and seek a new level of work with those who come from trauma. The brain has proven that it can re-wire certain pathways and increase activity in previously low-functioning areas. We’ve also seen individuals calm and regulate previously overactive areas of the brain and in return, experience a more unified homeostasis within the body and the mind.
This area of observation is shedding light on the complexity of mental health, trauma, stress, psychology and holistic health. The deeper we dig, the more obvious it appears that through connecting all of these components of wellness and study, we may be able to make a massive impact on mental health and those seeking to recover from trauma.