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Trauma is a stuck process in our mind and our body. We go into the fight or flight response of survival that is inherent in our body. The experience of trauma does not necessarily result in the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but it can. PTSD and trauma, when they are not thoroughly treated, can result in ongoing consequences in the mind and body.

Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol get produced when we are in fight or flight and chemically alter the way we respond to stimulus. When our nervous system becomes completely disordered, the way we produce stress hormones changes. Regularly experiencing high levels of cortisol puts the body under more stress than it is equipped to deal with. Too much stress in the body, even on a chemical level, can cause heart disease, weight problems, struggle with mental health, and more.

Researchers at the University of Michigan sought to examine the effects of PTSD and the production of cortisol in pregnant women who have experienced trauma. Close to 400 women were participants in the experiment. Each woman was expecting her first child. Some of the participants had no trauma, had a traumatic experience but did not develop PTSD, had a regular diagnosis of PTSD, or had dissociative PTSD. Symptoms of trauma and PTSD can vary from mild to moderate to severe. About 14 percent of the women had dissociative PTSD, a more severe form of trauma.

The researchers wanted to identify if there were higher levels of cortisol in women with dissociative PTSD and if that cortisol production might have an effect on the health of the child. Researchers concluded that the women with dissociative PTSD had levels of cortisol up to 10 times higher than other women in the study. Futurity reports that “The difference in cortisol was greatest in early pregnancy, when levels were eight times higher in the afternoon and 10 times higher at bedtime for the dissociative group than for other women.”

A child’s health in mind and body starts developing in the womb. Multiple studies have investigated whether or not trauma is passed on generationally. High levels of cortisol can create a stressed body in a fetus. Stress in the body, on every level, leads to a higher risk of health problems for the rest of a child’s life.

Pregnancy itself is not more difficult for women with dissociative PTSD but their higher levels of cortisol can create more stress during what can be an already stressful period. Research into the experience of trauma is vital to developing coping strategies, interventions, therapies, and treatments to aid and support everyone who lives with trauma.

Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues: 1-855-483-7800