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How Unprocessed Trauma Is Stored In The Body

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Trauma is not just in your head; it literally has an actual, physical impact on your body and your powers of recall. Untreated past trauma can have a negative influence on your future health. The emotional and physical reactions it triggers can predispose you to serious conditions, including heart attack, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, according to Harvard Medical School research. From outward indications, a trauma survivor may appear to be whole and healthy, but trauma may fester like an untreated wound, weakening the body's defenses until it shows up in the form of an illness.


Trauma can have a profound impact on the body and can affect physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. When an individual experiences trauma, the body's natural stress response is activated, which can lead to a range of physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and muscle tension. These symptoms can be temporary and resolve on their own, but if the individual continues to experience trauma, or if the trauma is particularly severe, these symptoms may persist and become chronic.

Research suggests that trauma can be stored in the body in a number of ways, including through changes in brain structure and function, alterations in hormonal and immune system function, and changes in the body's physical structure. For example, trauma may lead to changes in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a role in memory and emotion regulation, which can affect an individual's ability to cope with stress. Trauma may also lead to changes in the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can affect an individual's physical and emotional well-being. Additionally, trauma may lead to changes in the body's physical structure, such as chronic muscle tension, which can contribute to physical pain and discomfort.

It is important to note that the way trauma is stored in the body can vary from person to person, and that the impact of trauma on the body may be influenced by a range of factors such as an individual's genetics, life experiences, and coping strategies. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of trauma, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional who is trained to address these issues. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, and other interventions that can help individuals cope with and heal from the effects of trauma.


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