How Can Trauma Affect the Brain?

How Can Trauma Affect the Brain?

For many in addiction recovery, trauma has had a lasting impact on their life. From domestic violence to tragic accidents, trauma leaves us wounded in ways that scar us for years to come. Addiction recovery is an entity in and of itself to work through, but when a person has experienced trauma, they have another layer they need to work through in order to experience healing and restoration. Sometimes the trauma experienced – no matter how long ago it was – can leave a lasting impression on our subconscious, which can play out into many aspects of our lives. Many years ago, the National Institute of Health (NIH) published a study that determined that traumatic stress can significantly affect several regions of the brain, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.

According to Medical News Today, trauma such as child neglect and abuse can directly affect the white matter in our brain, which correlates with our capacity for learning, something that continues to develop throughout early adulthood. Trauma sparks the “fight or flight response” in the brain, which places the brain in a state of heightened awareness; the stress hormone cortisol can flood the brain, which Concordia-University Portland claims can damage the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. In turn, this makes it more difficult to learn, more difficulty with memory, and more difficult to objectively analyze complex data.

As described by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, here are 4 types of memory functions that are directly affected by trauma, which are:

·    Semantic memory – remembering general knowledge and facts

·    Episodic memory – the autobiographical memory including who, what, and where

·    Emotional memory – the memory of specific emotions you experienced during a particular event

·    Procedural memory – remembering how to perform a common task without having to actively think about it

If you’ve struggled with memory, learning, or other related issues caused from trauma, know that you’re not alone – and recovery is possible. You can improve your memory and learning capabilities in recovery, by giving yourself the time and space you need to truly heal from what has happened to you.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.

Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.