Fight, Flight, or Freeze in the Traumatic Mind V.S. Non-Traumatic Minds

In this article I will do the following things: explain what fight, flight, or freeze means, how it affects us and when it is used from the perspective of a traumatic mind and of one lacking trauma.

1.1) What is Fight, Flight, or Freeze and How Does it Affect the Mind/Body?

  1. In a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences of evolutionary psychology, a reaction to a stressful, anxious, or adrenalizing event involve the “fight, flight, or freeze” mechanism in the human brain and body.
  2. What happens when this mechanism is triggered varies on the person, but initially the process is as follows:
    1. An event occurs which triggers the mind into thinking its survival is in danger.
    2. Signals are sent to the brain, specifically the amygdala, and from there to yet another, to the hypothalamus.
    3. From there, the pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotropic hormone.
    4. Two molecules are released: Cortisol and Adrenaline.
    5. These are the following effects:
      1. Increased heart rate
      2. Blushing
      3. Dry mouth
      4. Dilated pupils
      5. Slowed digestion
      6. Bladder relaxation
      7. Shaking
      8. Tunnel vision
  3. Why “Fight, Flight, or Freeze?”
    1. The reason for the three Fs are because of the way this mechanism influences each person differently, the most known are:
      1. Fight: when one gets aggressive in a self-protective way
      2. Flight: when one instead of staying, runs away
      3. Freeze: when one doesn’t hit or flee, but is frozen in place

1.2)  What are the differences of Fight, Flight, and Freeze between someone who has gone through trauma and someone who hasn’t?

  1. Although this response is an evolutionary trait among humans, it can be triggered by certain aspects of one’s environment, mood, and past experiences.
  2. As I’ve stated before, only when one is in a stressful/anxious situation is this triggered.
    1. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental disorder which can arise when one is subject to a traumatic event, changes one’s mind in a multitude of ways.
  3. When one who hasn’t had a traumatic experiences of these kinds events which is slightly anxious, they can calm down or “push through it.” But when the traumatic mind experiences something of the same intensity, it can trigger flashbacks, and escalate the situation.
    1. Since this person has a history of experiences which has damaged their mental/physical being, the mechanism can be triggered in even safe circumstances.

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