The Trauma and Chronic Illness Connection

by Jun 20, 2017

Trauma is defined in the dictionary as ” a deeply distressing or disturbing experience”. Trauma and chronic illness are intimately linked as I will discuss in this post. I believe the peer-reviewed evidence of this is not being acted upon and taken forward by the medical profession.
Trauma is clearly a very stressful experience but it is important to remember that experiences are subjective. I think that there is a tendency for people to think of trauma as being caused by a very extreme situation. However, trauma experienced is very personal. What traumatises one person will not bother another.  It depends on our emotional make-up and sensitivities, and what can seem trivial to one person can be devastating for another. It is the individual’s experience of the event and their ability to cope with it that determines whether it is trauma or not.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is not only a condition suffered by war veterans and accident survivors. It can affect anyone and many people who have lived “ordinary” lives have developed PTSD from events that are emotionally complex but not as outwardly dramatic as the better-known triggers of PTSD.
Everyone experiences trauma at some point in their lives. Traumas trigger reactive feelings and emotions, which form the beliefs that consciously and subconsciously underpin the way we live our lives. These beliefs create dense areas in our energy fields which can then lead to illness and disease.
trauma and chronic illness

More evidence is coming to light now about how trauma affects our health and some experts now believe that early trauma, in particular, is instrumental in the causation of chronic illness. Of course, it also can lead to substance dependence and mental health disorders. For some great information on trauma and chronic illness have a look at Veronique Mead’s blog Chronic Illness Trauma Studies. There is a wealth of well researched and groundbreaking information on the blog and I am looking forward to reading it in more depth.

Jennifer McLean who developed the Spontaneous Transformation Technique gives this example of how negative limiting beliefs can be formed from trauma.
trauma and chronic illness
She describes a young boy who is having a great day out playing with his skateboard. The sun is shining, he is getting the hang of his skateboard tricks and life is great. He is in bliss.

On the way home, he is playing with a stick as he walks, and he starts to run the stick along the fence, enjoying the noise as it clatters along the fence. The large dog on the other side of the fence is not so impressed and starts to bark furiously. The dog even manages to leap the fence and starts to attack the boy. Luckily, the owner quickly grabs the dog and rescues the boy. The poor boy is physically unhurt but is shocked and terrified. He runs home crying, leaving his skateboard on the pavement.

He gets home to his Mum who is up to her ears with making dinner for her large family. She scans the boy as he walks in, as he tries to breathlessly explain what has happened. She sees quickly that he is physically unhurt but when she finds out that his expensive skateboard is lost, she yells at him and sends him to his room in a rage.
trauma and chronic illness
Now the boy is still in “flight or fight” mode with adrenaline rushing through his body and he is really upset that he got a roasting from his Mum.
In this moment his subconscious creates some beliefs about life, for example:
Life is scary and unsafe.
Bliss doesn’t last and things go wrong when you are enjoying yourself. 
Things are more important than people.
This leads him to have issues later in life with trust, committing to relationships and being more interested in possessions than other people. Many other beliefs could also have been formed. This great example shows how even traumas from childhood that have been long forgotten, can still be running the show and causing multiple limiting beliefs that make life more challenging and frustrating.
Ideally, a child can respond to stress and recover from it, developing resiliency. However, chronic repeated stress in childhood constantly floods the child’s body with stress hormones and keeps it in a hypervigilant inflammatory state. It can interfere with the child’s ability to turn off or dampen the stress response. The cascade of chemical reactions that occur in the child’s body on a regular basis can then predispose them to disease and imbalances on every level of being.
I have done an enormous amount of work on myself in releasing trauma and the limiting beliefs formed from my early and young adult life and it has helped my health and well-being enormously. There are more to clear and I have been somebody who held literally hundreds of negative limiting beliefs about life and myself. I am reassured now though, as I am able to use my therapy skills to clear these blockages and open my arms to greater health, happiness, joy and abundance.
trauma and chronic illness


Here are some examples of therapies or techniques that release trauma and limiting beliefs:

I personally prefer techniques that work with trauma from an energetic healing perspective rather than a psychological so that is what i have listed here. I feel that these therapies are more holistic and provide deeper transformation more quickly and easily than psychological methods. They don’t require reliving the trauma in an upsetting way or analysing the psychological aspects of the trauma which can be mentally exhausting. That is just my preference, however, and one can find many other models of therapy online should you resonate with a different path. For more information on using energy medicine to improve chronic illness see my post on energy healing here.


trauma and chronic illness

The need to acknowledge the role of trauma in the aetiology of disease:

Research linking childhood stress to adult illness was carried out in 1996 with the “The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study)”. Over 1500 peer-reviewed studies have replicated these findings in the last 20 years.
Amazingly, in this study carried out in 2009, they found that compared with persons with no ACEs, persons with >or=2 ACEs had 100% increased risk for rheumatic diseases. Childhood traumatic stress increases the likelihood of hospitalisation with a diagnosed autoimmune disease decades into adulthood.
The research is extensive, widespread and conclusive but yet there is little focus on the importance of this root cause of disease in the conventional healthcare system. There are so many excellent techniques, energetic and psychological therapies available now to deal with the roots of trauma and chronic illness. I would like to see this being more widely available and focused upon by medical practitioners, as I believe it is a crucial part of the puzzle when it comes to resolving chronic diseases, giving people hope and a brighter future.

Please comment below if you feel trauma has contributed to your Chronic Illness.

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