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Effects of prolonged trauma on Self-Functions

May 6, 2015

In contrast to PTSD where victims exhibit symptoms of heightened arousal and HPA activation, the effect of sustained interpersonal abuse or neglect is predominantly on the victim`s “self-functions” are insidious, and their impact is manifest by diminished sense of personal agency, restricted social engagement, and a predilection toward trauma-reenactment, with a repetition of a pattern of entrapment in the role of the victim. For such trauma-victims, recovery is a life-long endeavor, which begins with the identification of the victim`s unique “trauma-narrative”.

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The above-mentioned “symptom-domains”, consist primarily of “Intrusive Symptoms” (such as flashbacks), “Over-Arousal” (such as heightened vigilance and exaggerated startle-response), and ‘Avoidance” symptoms, constitute the core elements of the PTSD construct.

This triad of symptoms occurs in “Acute Stress Disorder” as well.

However, symptoms of acute stress usually abate over time, leaving a small but significant minority of victims with full-blown PTSD.

In contrast, individuals subjected to repeated physical, sexual, or emotional “abuse”, are more likely to show deficiencies in completely different domains.

Poor early- attachment relationships, deficient emotional nurturance, boundary violations and the lack of a safe “holding-environment” tends to affect the victim of chronic trauma ranging from how they think  to how they emotionally regulate.

Many victims of chronic abuse fail to recall their abuse, but present with an array of perceptions, physical symptoms, and subservience in relationships, not easily connected in memory to their traumatic origins.

Issues with…

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From → Complex Trauma

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