Fight or Flight response system; I don’t want to be to scientific, so this is a very limited crash course.
Let’s take a look at the basic fight/flight response system all are born with. The brain begins developing with this response system, and all the other parts of the brain develop around it. This helps keep us alive and protects us from danger. If everything goes as planned in infancy and childhood, this response system and other parts of the brain will grow and function properly. But, if there is turmoil and chaos due to neglect, abuse, witnessing domestic violence, etc… the stress response system gets “overworked”, and could delay growth of higher functioning areas of the brain.
When the fight/flight system is on high alert, it effects the decision making part of the brain. Think about this for a minute: Do you, or anyone else really, make well thought out decisions based on rational, intuitive thinking when feeling extremely anxious, scared or angry? Are you able to make long term decisions with a host of goals in the middle of a crisis situation? The answer is probably no to both of these questions. Now imagine a child or adolescent with years of neglect, abuse, and witnessing domestic violence;
based on the knowledge that their stress response system is continually on high alert,
are we to expect good decision making skills?
Gaining insight about the trauma; type, frequency, intensity, and duration may be the first step to helping a child or adolescent process their trauma. There are many interventions to assist with processing trauma. Each individual is different in the amount of therapy and time it takes to feel well, and perhaps relieved of trauma symptoms.