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Last week I wrote about my upcoming exploration of how trauma affects the brain on my new radio show, ‘Your Life After Trauma.’ I learned so much and heard such positive ideas about recovery from my guests! Dr. Rachel Yehuda and Dr. Dave Ziegler both spoke eloquently about how trauma affects the brain, and why we should be hopeful that the effects can be changed.
Today, an overview of the highlights from the show:
The show opened with Dr. Yehuda explaining what happens to the brain during trauma. She said,
Trauma affects all of us and gives us a chance to express our shared humanity.
During a trauma the individual is responding to a threat:
Yehuda says not all brains reset themselves after trauma but the always tries to recalibrate. “When things happen to us we don’t go back to the way we were,” she explains. “After trauma, the brain’s job is to remember what happened and develop survival skills for the future. The brain integrates the lesson of trauma; it recalibrates to do better next time. The experience of recalibration in the brain can be painful.”
So, what hope do we have of recovery? Yehuda answered: “The good news is, if your brain can change in response to one environment that is trauma it can change in response to treatment, too. Our brains are capable of change.”
I like the sound of that, don’t you? Dr. Dave Ziegler went on to discuss how that change can be made. He said, ”The goal of treatment (something parents and friends can facilitate, in addition to the survivor) is positive brain change. Trauma changes how the brain operates. There is no returning to normal. What we often say is there is now a new normal. It’s not necessarily negative if the right help is given. There is major change.”
Things adults, teens and kids can do to help themselves include:
Professional help offers effective approaches, including:
Above all, Dr. Ziegler said the most important thing is to get the kind of trauma treatment you’re going to need at the right time in your life.
Want to hear the full interview (plus a survivor talking about how trauma has affected her brain?? You can listen to it through the link on our ‘Your Life After Trauma’ radio show page.
How has trauma affected your brain?
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