The Science Behind Trauma: Understanding The Chemicals Released In Our Bodies

Deborah C. Escalante

What chemical is released during trauma?
What chemical is released during trauma?

Traumatic Events and Stress Hormones

When people experience a traumatic event, their bodies may release two major stress hormones: norepinephrine and cortisol. Norepinephrine is responsible for increasing heart rate and controlling the fight-or-flight response. This hormone is typically released when individuals feel threatened or experience highly emotional reactions. Cortisol, on the other hand, is responsible for helping the body respond to stress.

What is Norepinephrine?

Norepinephrine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that is naturally produced by the adrenal gland. It is also known as noradrenaline or noradrenalin. Norepinephrine is responsible for increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. It also helps regulate the body’s metabolism and energy levels. Additionally, norepinephrine helps to regulate the body’s alertness and focus, and is involved in the fight-or-flight response.

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in the adrenal gland. Its main purpose is to help the body respond to stress. It increases blood sugar levels, promotes the breakdown of proteins and fats for energy, and helps to regulate blood pressure and immune system functions. Cortisol is released when the body is under stress, such as during a traumatic event.

How Do Stress Hormones Affect the Body?

When the body is exposed to a traumatic event, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This triggers the release of norepinephrine and cortisol, which play a role in the body’s fight-or-flight response. Norepinephrine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, while cortisol helps the body respond to stress.

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The release of these hormones can have both physical and psychological effects on the body, such as increased heart rate, sweating, and difficulty concentrating. In some cases, these hormones can also lead to anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues.

Long-Term Effects of Trauma

The long-term effects of trauma and stress hormones can vary widely from person to person. In some cases, people may experience lingering physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, and insomnia. Additionally, they may experience psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is important to note that the effects of trauma can be both physical and psychological. Therefore, it is important for people to seek professional help if they are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Coping With Trauma

There are a variety of ways to cope with trauma and the effects of stress hormones. One way to do this is to practice self-care, such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Additionally, it is important to take time to relax and focus on positive activities, such as yoga or meditation.

It is also important to seek professional help if needed. Therapy, support groups, and medication can all be useful tools for managing the effects of trauma. Additionally, it is important to stay connected with friends and family and to seek out social support when needed.

Conclusion

When people experience a traumatic event, their bodies may release two major stress hormones: norepinephrine and cortisol. Norepinephrine increases heart rate and controls the fight-or-flight response, while cortisol helps the body respond to stress. The long-term effects of trauma and stress hormones can vary widely from person to person, and it is important to seek professional help if needed. There are a variety of ways to cope with trauma, such as practicing self-care, taking time to relax, and seeking out social support.

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