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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I was reading Peter Levine's books about Healing Trauma. I suffered a neck injury from an assailant that left me permanently debilitated. I am told that I am suffering from trauma and my fight or flight response has been stuck from the 6 incidents. Is this type of fight or flight stuck/trauma thing more common in head and neck injuries than other injuries? Do you have any links on anything I can read?

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

Flight or fight, which is an anxiety response, is not necessarily more common in head and neck injury patients than in any other part of the population. Although a head injury might trigger anxiety because of the physical nature of the injury, the anxiety can also be caused by the trauma suffered when the person was injured.

Flight or fight response is usually described as anxiety. It occurs when someone develops anxiety and it is what is the basis of the anxiety feeling- the need to "escape" from a situation that is neither dangerous or harmful. People with anxiety often describe themselves as constantly anxious or always feeling panicky. That is because when you are anxious, your thoughts are causing your mind to think your in danger. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline causes the symptoms you feel, including the panic attacks. It is much like after you have had a bad scare like a car accident. Your body releases the adrenaline and you feel unreal, your legs turn to jelly, you have trouble thinking and your body may feel it's tingling. You just don't notice it as much because your focus is on what is going on around you. Except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel.

However, the anxiety does subside and the adrenaline in your system does deplete and needs time to replenish. But because your thoughts are probably always on alert, so is your body. This may be why you always feel anxious and panicky.

Because you were hurt when attacked by someone, you may be experiencing post traumatic stress as well. Anxiety can be part of that and PTSD is common after an assault. It is often very treatable with therapy and self help. Medications are sometimes needed if it is difficult to cope with daily life. Here are some resources to help you:

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula

Healing from Trauma: A Survivor's Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life by Jasmin Lee Cori and Robert Scaer

I hope this has helped you,


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