The Effects of Stress/Trauma

There is growing recognition within the healing professions that trauma is not only held in the psyche, it is also held in the body. And, traumatic life experiences, whether physical or emotional, are significant factors in the development and maintenance of at least 80%-90% of the medical problems encountered in health care today.

Trauma Tree

How Trauma Effect Our Lives


The tree above represents how the amount of trauma we experience (mostly from our Adverse Childhood Experiences in our earlier lives) creates the “roots” of our emotional & behavioral foundation for the rest of our lives if gone unchecked.

From our distressful/traumatic experiences come our negative thoughts, beliefs and perceptions about ourselves & our world.

These negative thoughts and beliefs branch out and create our negative feelings resulting in our Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Anger/Rage, even some of our Physical Pain, etc. The Leaves of the tree represent our dysfunctional behaviors, (i.e., overeating, drug/alcohol abuse, working too much, being a Perfectionist, a People-Pleaser, a Procrastinator, etc.) all behaviors that attempt to cover up or avoid our negative feelings.

The behaviors exhibited in the above diagram are examples of acting-out behaviors (behaviors used to try to minimize the emotional effects of trauma) and different from the internal negative effects of Stress.

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Pyramid illustrating the adverse effects of ACEs

Until this point in history, when we spoke of the effects of trauma we usually talked about the emotional, mental and physical symptoms of trauma. But from this moment forward we have much more information at our disposal to describe the long-term effects of trauma, thanks to The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.

To get an idea of how trauma and negative childhood experiences affect us and mold our lives, learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACEs).





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