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A moment of trauma changes our lives forever. At young childhood ages, our lives are changed early. During formative years when the brain is still developing, traumatic impact changes the way our brain functions, grows, and can be healed for the rest of our lives.

Fight Or Flight

ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, throw a child into survival mode. Survival instincts in the body operate through the fight or flight response. Fight or flight is the body’s response to stress. The sympathetic nervous system goes into battle mode, interacting with the amygdala which helps detect a threat. Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released throughout the body and brain, preparing to take on danger and act appropriately.

Humans do not resolve their survival responses like animals do. Instead, of being acted upon, stress hormones sit in the body and traumatic memories sit in the brain. Trauma lives inside the nervous system ongoing, which is why some professionals refer to trauma as a disorder of the nervous system. One of the most common symptoms of trauma in children is hypervigilance in which children are chronically on edge, anticipating danger, and being on the lookout for threats. Often, this manifests in behaviors which mirror those of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or can lead to the development of ADHD entirely. Hypervigilance and hyperactive behavior can greatly inhibit cognitive functioning, which is a detriment to development.

Childhood Trauma At School

Vox explains that “A child whose brain is constantly scanning the environment for danger will undoubtedly have difficulty paying attention in class or interacting with peers on the playground.” Children may act out, bully other children, have antisocial tendencies, or experience difficulty in making friends. Some children may shut down in school environments, overwhelmed by the incalculable potential for danger. Facing social pressure as well as academic pressure, children may be challenged in finding success in school. To cope, children may turn to negative coping mechanisms at a young age, which might include substance abuse.

Childhood Trauma In Adulthood

Trauma directly influences the functioning of the amygdala as well as the prefrontal cortex, two areas of the brain which need to be developed for a healthy adulthood. The amygdala is the brain’s threat detection center. Trauma creates a hyperactive amygdala, sensing threat where there is none. The prefrontal cortex houses many brain functions, one of which acting as a calming source for an overactive amygdala. Emotional regulation and stress regulation is significantly more difficult for adults who have an impaired interaction between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.

Overtime, with proven treatments and clinical care, the brain can heal and trauma can be resolved. The Guest House Ocala offers residential treatment programs for traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. Our programs are customized on a concierge level of care for each guest who comes to stay with us. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800