Friday, November 18, 2011
The HPA Axis, Trauma and You
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been the source of much research over the last three years. If you have traumatic stress, your HPA axis has been affected. If you have severe or chronic PTSD, your HPA axis has been affected a lot! What does this mean?
It means that PTSD is a whole body event. The HPA axis governs the entire hormonal system within the body including: mood, appetite, weight, sexual function, fatigue, sleep/wake cycles and more. As I like to say, the brain bone's connected to the....everything bone!
What this means for you, suffering from traumatic stress:
1) You have to expect physical symptoms from traumatic stress.
2) You have to expect erratic moods.
3) You must find ways to relax your sympathetic (stress response) system on a regular basis.
4) Eat foods that calm down your body and nourish it.
5) Healing is possible, but not by just addressing the mind, although that is important. To fully heal you need to engage healing mechanisms at all levels of the body.
6) You must be gentle and persistent in your pursuit of healing.
It may or may not be obvious that traumatic stress affects the entire body, but the evidence is in. It does! The good news there are so many ways to heal! More on this in future posts. In the meantime, be well.