Trauma & body

Trauma has a way of ‘marking’ the body, other than the mind.⁣
M. Guidotti talks about the differences between humans and animals and their respective reactions to trauma.⁣

When experiencing trauma, animals often go through a limited freezing. After some time, they burst into an aggression (fight) or they run away (flight), manifesting an actual reaction to danger.⁣

Humans, instead, have a part of their brain which is much more developed compared to animals (the frontal cortex) and that, in some traumatic situations, impedes this reaction, and keeps the state of freezing by inhibiting the fight/flight response. ⁣

What happens as a consequence of this? The brain remains in this ‘lower state’ mode after the trauma, being stuck on this missed reaction and therefore making a continuous effort, as to replace that reaction.⁣

This might be at the roots of chronic pain, which is almost absent in animals, while very common in humans in the aftermath of trauma. This chronic reaction is often physical: muscular tension, eczemas, paralyses, somatoform dissociation (a feeling of dissociation that interests the body).⁣

Many of these symptoms were common in what was called hysteria, where a trauma caused unexplainable physical symptoms, and now can be seen in disorders such as ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’, which involves having a significant focus on physical symptoms. The most common are: back pain, joint pain, bloating, food intolerance, abdominal pain, headache. ⁣

(Drawing by Noa Snir)⁣

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