Effects Of Sexual Assaults On The Nervous System


Sexual assault can increase the chances of psychological and emotional trauma. The victim may not forget the color of walls, the texture of sheets, and the smell of the room. The image of this painted picture can be permanent. The protective responses of the brain are responsible to help you, but the situation can be worse. After this event, the brain can convert that trauma in awareness of your body. Your body will not forget this event and set up long-term challenges for the survivor of sexual abuse.

In this situation, you may need a therapist for sexual abuse. A therapist may help a victim to deal with psychological trauma. It is essential to understand the sexual effects on the nervous system for healing. Remember, healing is necessary because the trauma may increase the chances of lifetime anxiety and problems with the functioning of internal organs. For example, sometimes, a victim suffers from chronic pain.  

Normal Brain and Trauma Brain


The prefrontal cortex (front of the human brain) is responsible for creating a normal memory. In a relaxed state, information may come in from the outer world and transmit to the amygdala (neurons set) to process emotions. The amygdala determines whether your surroundings pose a threat.

The amygdala resides in the brain as a part of the limbic system that includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and thalamus. These components work with the interaction of other components responsible for the processing of emotion, memory, and learning.  

In case of a safe environment, the amygdala may send a green signal to the hippocampus. It is a curved portion of the human brain responsible for learning and creating memories. The hippocampus encodes the received information and sends it to Broca’s area of the brain. This area can process memory records and language as a chronicle.

If the amygdala senses any threat, it may turn on the flight or fight response and prepare the victim to stay away from this threat. It involves diverting the blood flow from the brain of the victim to the limbs. The purpose of this change is to give more strength to the victim for physical escape. The process of memory creation can hinder this process. If a victim fails to escape, the body may act oppositely and freeze. In this situation, the blood flow will be decreased to the limbs. The victim may experience a drop in blood pressure. It may diminish the physical pain so that a victim can survive a traumatic event.  

Remember, trauma can make you powerless. With your brainpower, you can control or escape this situation. With this oldest defense system, a victim can survive a traumatic incident. The freeze response is common among the victims of sexual assault. The initial symptoms of freeze response are cold hands. Victims may feel sleepy. Effects of freezing response may vary among people.

Women often get training to appease, so fighting skills for defense are rare in them. The freeze and fight responses in women may depend on their training. Both reactions can protect your body from physical harm. Survivors of sexual assault often get confused in these responses. Some survivors can easily trigger any of these states through their sensory memories.

A Life Full of Fears


Traumatic events may trigger sensory memories, such as sight, taste, touch, odors, and sound. The hippocampus is responsible because it doesn’t function during traumatic events. The thalamus can bring sensory signals to the prefrontal cortex in trauma. With this sensory information, the brain of the victim can trigger a flight or fight response. 

A traumatic stayer may lead his/her life in a constant state of flight or fight response because of the hyperactive nervous system. It may increase the chances of numerous health problems. A therapist can help victims in this situation by controlling their emotions.  

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