why can trauma cause autoimmune issues?

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I’ve been told this from so many people but I don’t understand how or why, or if it’s even true.

In: Biology

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your body has two basic modes – the “rest and digest” parasympathetic system, and the “fight or flight” sympathetic system.

When we are in “fight or flight” mode, we have a higher heart rate and faster breathing, and blood diverts away from our digestive system and goes to our limbs, we become hypervigilant, among other things. This is great when we need to escape an emergency quickly or fend off an attack.

When this is over, our “rest and digest” mode kicks in, and we can relax, eat, sleep, heal, and form long term memories.

When we experience trauma – either lots of little stressors such as social rejection or not having our needs fully met, or maybe a big stressor such as being in a horrible accident, our body can fail to switch out of “fight or flight” mode fully. In these cases, people might have chronic upset stomachs, poor sleep, seem forgetful, be jumpy or moody. And key to your question, the body is not resting or healing as it should. In conditions like PTSD, this can go on for years or decades. The damage this causes the body is profound, and can include a wide range of issues including classic “stress” issues like hypertension or heart disease, but also other things which could include autoimmune issues.