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Article

Trauma, Chronic Stress, and Neuroplasticity

Monday, June 20th 2022 10:00am 10 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

When you are experiencing physical symptoms, you may think only of potential physical causes. It’s natural to do so, but your emotional health can have a huge impact on your body. Trauma and negative thought processes can exacerbate existing health issues or manifest through physical symptoms. For instance, stress or an emotional crisis may manifest as a rash. Conventional, western doctors may first look for a pathogen as the cause.

It is just as important to consider mindset and trauma as the trigger.

Trauma, stress, and neuroplasticity

We all know the saying “children are resilient.” We hear how they are malleable and able to bounce back. Physically, there is evidence that supports this view. They tend to recover faster and more easily from physical injuries like broken bones because their bodies are still developing and growing.

Emotional development occurs during childhood as well. This includes neuroplasticity, which is the forming and reforming of neural pathways. Children learn and unlearn mindsets and habits easily during this time.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change, adapt, and modify functionally and structurally in response to lived experience. Most neuroplasticity develops in childhood, but it can change throughout adulthood as well. In fact, neuroplasticity can change as we age by responding to trauma and stress. It enables the neurons to compensate for disease and injury throughout life. If one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the other hemisphere may compensate by performing some of the other’s functions. It can reorganize old connections and form new ones between intact neurons.

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