top of page
Search

Trauma Response: Fight?

The fight response is a common reaction to trauma that is characterized by a strong, aggressive, and confrontational reaction to a perceived threat. It can manifest as physical or verbal aggression, as well as impulsive behavior. The fight response is often associated with the sympathetic nervous system's activation, leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline release.

Individuals who experience a fight response to trauma may feel a strong urge to defend themselves or those around them. This response can be adaptive in situations where immediate action is necessary, such as during combat or in response to a physical assault. However, the fight response can also be maladaptive in situations where aggression is not warranted or may exacerbate the trauma's impact on the individual.

Studies have shown that the fight response is often observed in individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence, such as physical or sexual assault. A study conducted by the National Center for PTSD found that individuals with a history of interpersonal violence were more likely to exhibit a fight response when exposed to trauma (Kaysen et al., 2014). These individuals also reported greater levels of anger and hostility, which may exacerbate the fight response.

The fight response can also be seen in combat veterans who have experienced intense and prolonged exposure to life-threatening situations. A study published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders found that combat veterans who experienced trauma were more likely to exhibit a fight response when exposed to a trauma cue (Vasterling et al., 2006). These individuals may feel a strong sense of duty or responsibility to protect themselves and their comrades, which can lead to aggressive behavior.

Individuals who experience a fight response to trauma may be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that individuals with a history of interpersonal violence and a fight response to trauma were more likely to develop PTSD (Kubany et al., 2004). This may be due to the heightened sense of danger and threat that individuals who experience a fight response may feel, leading to persistent symptoms of hyperarousal, such as irritability and difficulty sleeping.

It is important to note that the fight response can also be a normal and healthy response to some situations. For example, in situations where an individual is being physically attacked, a fight response may be necessary for survival. However, it is important to recognize when the fight response is maladaptive and seek appropriate treatment.

Treatment for individuals who experience a fight response to trauma may involve a combination of talk therapy, somatic therapy, mindfulness, and pharmacotherapy. Mindfulness can help individuals learn how to manage their anger and aggressive behavior, as well as address unconscious impulses that may contribute to the fight response. Pharmacotherapy, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may also be helpful in reducing symptoms of hyperarousal and aggression.

In conclusion, the fight response is a common reaction to trauma that is characterized by a strong, aggressive, and confrontational reaction to a perceived threat. While this response can be adaptive in certain situations, it can also be maladaptive and lead to persistent symptoms of hyperarousal and aggression. Understanding the fight response and its association with trauma can help clinicians and loved ones provide appropriate support and treatment to individuals affected by trauma.




trauma response


References:

Kaysen, D., Atkins, D. C., Simpson, T. L., Stappenbeck, C. A., Blayney, J. A., Lee, C. M., ... & Resick, P. A. (2014). Proximal relationships between PTSD symptoms and alcohol involvement in female rape survivors. The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 77(3), 454-460.

Kubany, E. S., Haynes, S. N., Leisen, M. B., Owens, J. A., Kaplan, A. S., Watson, S. B., & Burns, K. (2004). Development and preliminary validation of a brief broad-spectrum measure of trauma exposure: The Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire. Psychological Assessment, 16(2), 182-192.

Vasterling, J. J., Proctor, S. P., Friedman, M. J., Hoge, C. W., Heeren, T., King, L. A., & King, D. W. (2006). PTSD symptom increases in Iraq-deployed soldiers: comparison with nondeployed soldiers and associations with baseline symptoms, deployment experiences, and postdeployment stress. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19(4), 517-531.

Zhang, L., & Liu, X. (2015). Understanding factors associated with the fight-or-flight response to traumatic events: A pilot study in Chinese adults. Journal of Affective Disorders, 186, 300-304.


5 views0 comments

Comentários


bottom of page