I used to feel unsafe. I was in a constant state of alertness, always on the ready and never resting. Even when I was asleep, my body and mind didn’t rest.
I had a cocktail of mental illnesses, my hormones were completely out of whack, and my body felt as if it was deteriorating.
Now, I was suffering from PTSD short for Post traumatic Stress Disorder. It happens to someone after a traumatic event or series of events.
The docs told me that, but they never told me about maladaptive autonomic regulation. This would have explained most if not all of my symptoms.
Today we’re gonna talk about Maladaptive Autonomic Regulation. Now let’s dive in.
Post Traumatic Stress & Maladaptive Autonomic Regulation
Maladaptive autonomic regulation is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system and it’s a core manifestation of PTSD. This means if you have PTSD, it’s likely you have maladaptive autonomic regulation.
Now let’s break down what that means.
The body has functional states of work and rest. It’s like ying and yang, hot and cold, up and down…you get the idea.
These are regulated by the autonomic nervous system, which is broken up into two parts, the sympathetic (YANG), and the parasympathetic (YING).
And when these systems are working together in balance, everything is just right. Think goldy locks and the three bears. But, when things are off, they are WAY off.
From what I’ve read, just about any imbalance in the body can be a manifestation of maladaptive autonomic regulation.
For example, when the body maintains alertness for too long, via the sympathetic nervous system (YANG), resting, digestion, and detoxification are impaired.
Let us add acne, liver problems, malnutrition, IBS, and insomnia to the list, shall we?
Did I mention stress can prematurely age us, and increase the onset of cognitive decline?
The parasympathetic nervous system (YING), is thought to play a role in recovery and resilience.
Ever wondered why yogis look so young?
This is because practices like meditation and tai chi help regulate the autonomic nervous system by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Jokes aside, maladaptive autonomic regulation is a serious health issue, and untreated can lead to additional physical and mental decline.
Those with PTSD are more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes. They are also twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
I hope that after reading this post, you will prioritize self-care and relaxation along with taking time to explore past trauma if you feel led to do so. These are practices I have used myself to become more balanced. I also hope this helped you to understand the devastating effects of abuse.
If you or a woman you know is suffering from PTSD or maladaptive autonomic regulation, please share this article.
Until next time, THINK, FEEL, ACT, HEAL.
Much Love, many Blessings, Jesus is Lord. ✝️
Arenson, M., & Cohen, B. (2017). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Cardiovascular Disease. PTSD Research Quarterly, 28(1), 1–9.
Winzeler, Katja (2017). Adverse Childhood Experiences and Autonomic Regulation. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping , Vol 30, MO 2, 145-154.