Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

“The effects of childhood sexual and physical abuse lasts a lifetime” – Scott Mendelson MD – Huffington Post.

5 Comments

Good article on how childhood abuse causes lasting, often lifelong damage. I know my capacity to deal with stress, is damaged. And I accept this, and it helps to know others who are the experts in childhood trauma, are increasingly understanding the lifelong effects of complex trauma.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-mendelson-md/the-lasting-damage-of-chi_b_4515918.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

The effects of childhood sexual and physical abuse last a lifetime. Abused children may grow up to be adults prone to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders. They are more prone to suicide. However, in recent years we have learned that abuse does more than wound self-esteem and break the spirit. It can damage the very substance of the brain and how it functions.

A major way by which childhood abuse can disrupt normal brain activity is by diminishing its capacity to handle stress. Stress is more than the worry and distress we experience when the circumstances of life push us beyond our limits. The body’s response to stress is a complex biological mechanism. When the brain senses that the body is being taxed beyond its usual capacity, it initiates the stress response by releasing a substance called corticotrophin releasing hormone, or CRH. CRH stimulates the pituitary gland to release ACTH that, in turn, triggers the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, from the adrenal glands. Cortisol marshals the body’s resources to provide the extra energy and endurance to meet the demands being placed upon it. Once, this might have been escaping an angry mastodon. Today, it would more likely be getting used to a new job, a nasty divorce, or recovering from surgery.

The stress-induced switch into physiological overdrive is designed to be brief. In fact, among the many things that cortisol does in the body, one of the most important is to feed back to the brain and start to shut the stress response down. Cortisol does this by binding to specific receptors in the brain. Cortisol fits the receptor, like a key in a lock, and turns the response off. One of the problems in those that have suffered severe, childhood abuse is that the brain’s turn-off switch for the stress response is disabled

A study published in 2009 in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience revealed part of the reason why adults who were abused as children have abnormal stress responses. The grim details of the study included comparisons of the brains of individuals who had committed suicide vs. those who had died natural deaths. Among those who had committed suicide were some who had suffered severe childhood abuse and others who had not. It was found that among those who had suffered abuse, there were fewer of the special cortisol receptors in the brain that allow cortisol to turn off the stress response. It was further found that the section of DNA responsible for maintaining adequate numbers of these receptors had been methylated. They were no longer in full operation.

When the stress response won’t shut off and cortisol levels remain high in the brain, bad things can happen. Whereas bursts of cortisol help bolster the brain’s supply of glucose and chemical messengers, sustained high levels of cortisol can cause damage. Cortisol diminishes the brain’s response to the chemical messenger, serotonin, while it enhances the response to norepinephrine. Persisting high levels of cortisol also decrease levels of Brain-derived Neurotrophic factor, a substance that is necessary to maintain and replenish neurons in the brain. These and other changes alter mood, disturb sleep, heighten anxiety, and cause irritability. Consequently, the individual becomes more prone to Major Depression, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.

Advertisements

Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle.

5 thoughts on ““The effects of childhood sexual and physical abuse lasts a lifetime” – Scott Mendelson MD – Huffington Post.

  1. Thank you for this article. It is not only scientifically sound, but, more importantly to me, it comes from a heart that has been there. God Bless.

  2. I thank you for this article . It has given me some information that is very helpful in understanding what is going on with my emotional and physical being. I am struggling to understand and trying to heal from childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse by my own parents. I was unaware how much this and then surviving a marriage of domestic violence that mirrored my childhood , was affecting my adult life .

  3. Dear Lilly thank you for being brave enough to give voice to what threatened to break your spirit and silence you. for being a like a lighthouse for those wandering in the dark, for sharing valuable information that is often times lacking in the care system and for taking the time to make this available. Bless you girl for healing your wounded healer and for coming out on top KUDO to you ✨✨✨✨👌👌👌👌 by your acts alone, you give others permission to find their voices and stand up too xxxx Love

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s