The Polyvagal Theory: How Trauma Symptoms Develop

Kirby-Reutter

United States Department of Homeland Security

Key Points

  1. Trauma affects both branches of the nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic.
  2. When faced with danger, our sympathetic nervous system reacts with fight or flight responses.
  3. If these are not possible, the parasympathetic nervous system reacts with a freeze response.
  4. People who have survived chronic trauma experience overactivation in both branches of the nervous system.

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The Polyvagal Theory: How Trauma Symptoms Develop

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