Fear Itself

Scientists get around to noticing the obvious:

What if Sullivan’s anxiety wasn’t merely an emotional side effect of her difficult life but the central issue affecting her health? According to research that Burke had been reading, the traumatic events that Sullivan experienced in childhood had likely caused significant and long-lasting chemical changes in both her brain and her body, and these changes could well be making her sick, and also increasing her chances of serious medical problems in adulthood.

As the New Yorker article indicates, research into the long-term effects of childhood trauma is in its infancy, but I see it every day in my practice. The body remembers everything that happens to it, whether these memories remain in the conscious, working mind or not. Chronic illness and unexplained pain correllates with past trauma, more often than not. The chain of cause and effect may not be scientifically mapped, but do we need to know the precise cause of a wound before we stanch the bleeding?