Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Denver Wash Park Therapist: Trauma and Brain Development, Part I

Today's Blog Post

This is a brief, and very limited educational post only.     

Conservative estimates predict by age 18, roughly 40% of Americans will experience as least one traumatic experience, and a vast majority do not receive, or have access to mental health treatment.  Therefore, it is fair to say, many of our psychosocial issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, fears, etc) are trauma based.  
As a country/society, the US spends approximately $670 billion per year in trauma related healthcare and lost productivity costs.  Most importantly, the impact of trauma is far greater on children than it is for adults -- children's young brain's are vulnerable due to neurological stage growth and development. 

Definition of Trauma

Results from a distressing event(s) or set of circumstances that are experienced by an individual or group as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening.  It may have a lasting adverse effect on brain development and normal functioning, and physical, social, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. 

Types of Trauma

An event(s) or circumstance(s) that may include the actual or extreme threat of physical or psychological harm or the withholding of material or social resources critical to healthy development.  Examples: 

✳ Physical and emotional abuse.
✳ Sexual abuse/assault. 
✳ Bullying
✳ Physical and emotional resource neglect.
✳ Natural or man-made disasters.
✳ Violent crimes and accidents.
✳ War and genocide.
✳ Poverty and social-political systems.

Brain Reaction

It reacts due to an overwhelming amount of stress (i.e., neuro-chemicals) that exceeds our ability to regulate emotions related to the event(s).  It causes one section of the brain responsible for rational thinking to shut down.  At the same time, another part called the reptilian, is activated, and puts us in survival mode.  Survival mode is designed to protect us when stress is high, and is commonly known as fight, flight, or freeze behavior.

Brain Development

Trauma may severely effect normal development, and may cause long-term chronic illness (e.g., depression, anxiety, immune issues).  If trauma is consistent, the overwhelmed brain could become stuck in reptilian functioning (i.e., primitive survival skills).  If this occurs, other parts of the brain, which facilitate normal day-to-day functioning and higher thinking, may not properly develop. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of age or gender, untreated traumatic-abusive experiences will most likely cause a disruption in your daily life.  It may also have a long-term affect on your cognitive functioning -- this is especially true for children.  The good news -- the brain can recover and heal from trauma.  With the right counselor and treatment plan, many people end up living happy, healthy, and productive lives.  

To learn how to manage brain trauma, feel free to read part II at: https://yourlifecounseling.blogspot.com/2018/08/denver-wash-park-therapist-trauma-and_8.html

If you or a family member have been exposed to trauma, we can help.  Please click here to see our trauma/abuse treatment programs: https://yourlifecounseling.blogspot.com/p/style-technique.htm 

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