BPD is a complex disorder and affects every person differently. Common symptoms are emotional instability, erratic behavior patterns, and intense feelings of emptiness as well as a poor sense of self. Unlike PTSD, which is understood to be a fear-based disorder, complex PTSD is believed to be rooted in shame
Childhood trauma is often described as serious adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Children may go through a range of experiences that classify as psychological trauma, these might include neglect,abandonment,sexual abuse, and physical abuse, witnessing abuse of a sibling or parent, or having a mentally ill parent. These events have profound psychological, physiological, and sociological impacts and can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1998 study on adverse childhood experiences determined that traumatic experiences during childhood are a root cause of many social, emotional, and cognitive impairments that lead to increased risk of unhealthy self-destructive behaviors, risk of violence or re-victimization, chronic health conditions, low life potential and premature mortality. As the number of adverse experiences increases, the risk of problems from childhood through adulthood also rises. Nearly 30 years of study following the initial study has confirmed this. Many states, health providers, and other groups now routinely screen parents and children for ACEs.
Childhood trauma can increase the risk of mental disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attachment issues, depression, and substance abuse. Sensitive and critical stages of child development can result in altered neurological functioning, adaptive to a malevolent environment but difficult for more benign environments.
In a study done by Stefania Tognin and Maria Calem comparing healthy comparisons (HC) and individuals at clinically high risk for developing psychosis (CHR), 65.6% CHR patients and 23.1% HC experienced some level of childhood trauma. The conclusion of the study shows that there is a correlation between the effects of childhood trauma and the being at high risk for psychosis.[14
Post–traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental condition that develops after exposure to extreme stress or a traumatic event. While the majority of people will resolve the short-term distress such an event causes, individuals with PTSD continue to be affected for much longer.Treatments: Cognitive behavioral therapy.
Dissociation and avoidance behaviors Dissociation is the essence of trauma. The traumatic experience is split off and fragmented so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations enter and are re-experienced in the present. These people react to even the smallest irritations as if they are being annihilated and cannot understand why. A common reaction is to reorganize their lives to try to avoid these memories. But the constant battle against invisible dangers is exhausting and makes them tired, depressed and exhausted.
While reliving trauma can be frightening and even self-destructive, a lack of presence can be even more damaging over time. The kids who act out at least get time and attention. But the ones who simply fade out don’t bother anyone and are left alone to lose their future piece by piece. Difficulties in integrating traumatic memories Under normal conditions, our emotional and rational memory systems work together to integrate new experiences into a continuous flow. But during traumatic events, many regions shut down: linguistic areas, areas responsible for creating our sense of time and space, and the thalamus, which integrates raw sensory data.
The result is a memory that is not coherent and organized in a logical narrative, but is stored as disordered “fragments” of images, sounds, and chaotic bodily sensations. In effect, a wall is erected between the two parts of a dual memory system. Traumatic memory is not integrated into the combined, ever-changing sense of what we know about ourselves.
Flashbacks and projection The traumatic event had a beginning, a middle, and an end. But flashbacks can be even worse: You never know when they will occur or how long they will last. Traumatized people often “project” their trauma onto people and everyday situations, seeing risks and dangers where there are none.
Othering of self and others After trauma, the world becomes sharply divided – between those who know and those who don’t. People who have not lived through the traumatic experience cannot be trusted because they cannot understand. Sadly, this often includes spouses, children, and close friends.
The numbing at children’s birthdays or weddings makes one feel like a monster, as if one is not part of the human race. As a result, shame becomes the dominant emotion and hiding the truth becomes the central preoccupation.
Disembodiment Van der Kolk and his colleagues often found a distinct lack of physical coordination in their subjects: they had difficulty playing sports, pitching tents, rigging a boat, and even seemed stilted in casual conversation.
He eventually understood this to be symptoms of profound disembodiment. Their bodies are constantly bombarded with visceral warning signals, and they become experts at ignoring their gut feelings and numbing awareness of what’s going on inside them.
Panic Attacks People who can no longer perceive what is going on inside them become vulnerable to any sensory change and react by either shutting down or panicking. It is now known that the trigger for panic attacks is not the initial trigger, but an escalating fear of the physical sensations that accompany the panic attack itself.
Chronically elevated stress hormones Embedded trauma can be easily reactivated at the slightest trigger. Massive amounts of stress hormones flood the system and it takes much longer than normal for them to return to baseline levels. The insidious effects include memory and attention problems, irritability, and sleep disturbances.
Over-control and hypervigilance Being traumatized means that you continue to organize your life as if the trauma is still ongoing. Each new encounter and event is continuously contaminated by the past in an infinite loop. A trauma survivor will spend all of their energy trying to suppress the inner turmoil, leading to withdrawal from life and a range of illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other autoimmune diseases.
When your caregivers regularly ignore your needs, you learn to expect rejection and withdrawal. You cope by tuning out their hostility or neglect and pretending it doesn’t matter. But the body keeps score: it remains in a state of high alert, ready to ward off blows, deprivation, or abandonment.
One of the most devastating effects of this, Van der Kolk found, is “not feeling real inside.” When you don’t feel real, nothing matters. It’s impossible to protect yourself from danger or pay attention to your own needs. You can go to extremes to feel something – even cutting yourself with razor blades or fighting with strangers.
And all of this continues into adulthood. It doesn’t just go away on its own. A child who has been ignored or chronically humiliated is likely to lack self-esteem. Children who weren’t allowed to assert themselves have trouble standing up for themselves. And many adults who were abused as children carry a smoldering anger that they struggle to suppress.
The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate. It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers. In this review article, we discuss various functions of the vagus nerve which make it an attractive target in treating psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders. There is preliminary evidence that vagus nerve stimulation is a promising add-on treatment for treatment-refractory depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease. Treatments that target the vagus nerve increase the vagal tone and inhibit cytokine production. Both are important mechanism of resiliency. The stimulation of vagal afferent fibers in the gut influences monoaminergic brain systems in the brain stem that play crucial roles in major psychiatric conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders. In line, there is preliminary evidence for gut bacteria to have beneficial effect on mood and anxiety, partly by affecting the activity of the vagus nerve. Since, the vagal tone is correlated with capacity to regulate stress responses and can be influenced by breathing, its increase through meditation and yoga likely contribute to resilience and the mitigation of mood and anxiety symptoms.