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Trauma &

How Does Trauma Affect the Fight or Flight Response when Influenced by Drugs & Alcohol?

How an individual experiences trauma is as diverse as people themselves. Trauma has a massive impact on the mind, emotions, and spirit.

A single traumatic event can change a person’s behavior for a lifetime.

The ‘Fight or Flight’ mechanism is a highly specialized tool meant to be used on rare occasions when an individual’s life is in danger.

This mechanism evolved to dramatically increase a person’s speed, agility and perception in the face of mortal danger.

The body is able to respond to such a situation through the use of certain neurotransmitters and other chemicals.

Trauma and the “Fight-or-Flight” Response

The one primarily responsible for the increased reaction time is known as adrenaline. Adrenaline increases heart rate, alertness, and reaction time. In the case of trauma, however, a person’s system may overuse this delicate chemical response, leading to a situation where the ‘fight-or-flight’ response ceases to work properly.

Once trauma has destabilized an individual’s fear response, he or she may cease to respond to danger, respond to everything as though it were life-threatening, or any other variation of over and under reacting.

In essence, the person no longer effectively or accurately assesses situations as safe or dangerous as far as his or her physical or emotional reactions are concerned.

We at ABT understand the nightmare that trauma can create. There is hope and a life free of trauma and substance abuse is possible.

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