The lingering effects of trauma are often not expressed through words but through the physical body.
To give an example, women who have been exposed to violence are statistically more likely to experience stomach pain, back pain, headaches, migraines, dizziness, and other physical health conditions than women not exposed to violence.
When people experience physical symptoms in their body after trauma with no medical explanation, the technical term is “somatization.”
📒 and a new study finds that the physical manifestations of trauma in the body (somatization) might translate from mother to child.
The study involved 64 mothers with toddlers who were again studied when their children were 7 years old. Some of the mothers had experienced violence whereas some had not. Here’s what happened:
➡️ The severity of a mother’s somatization while raising a toddler predicted the likelihood of the child experiencing physical symptoms (with no clear medical cause) during their school-aged years.
It’s easy for physicians to brush off physical symptoms as “all in your head,” for both adults and children. But that isn’t serving anyone. The reason for symptoms may not always show up on a lab test, but the reason is there.
This study is such an important reminder that we need to look at the WHOLE person—in the context of their experiences, environment, and even their family.
Only then can we get to the root cause and inspire healing.
#wholepersonhealth #wholepersoncare #healingtrauma #emotionalhealth
Glaus J, Moser DA, Rusconi Serpa S et al. Families With Violence Exposure and the Intergenerational Transmission of Somatization. Front Psychiatry. 2022. [link]
(also here is an older study about somatization [link])
Committed to your Health,