What is a freeze trauma and how can you get past paralysis in the face of danger?

Here are a few steps that can help when healing from freeze trauma.

Freeze Trauma
We frequently experience freeze as a reaction to early stress. Photo Credit: nicabm

The freeze response, sometimes referred to as freeze trauma, is a physiological and psychological response to danger or stress. Together with the fight-or-flight reaction, it is one of the body’s inherent defence systems.

A person suffering from freeze trauma, which can be brought on by stressors in their current life or by traumatic experiences in the past, enters a state of immobility or paralysis.

According to the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine, “While the survival strategies fight and flight are more well-known, the freeze response has become increasingly identified and worked with over the past several years.”

Seeking professional assistance, using self-regulation techniques, exposing oneself to triggers gradually, forming a support system, putting self-care first, investigating therapy modalities, and exercising patience with oneself during the healing process are all common strategies for overcoming freeze trauma.

Here are some steps that might help in overcoming freeze trauma:

Seek professional help

A mental health specialist, such as a therapist or counsellor, can offer direction and assistance catered to your individual needs. They can assist you in understanding your trauma reactions and creating coping mechanisms.

You can progressively expose yourself to triggers in a secure and regulated setting when working with a therapist. Over time, the process known as exposure therapy can help you become less sensitive to the triggers and lessen the severity of your frozen response.

Educate yourself and practice self-regulation techniques

Learning about trauma, its impacts on the body and mind, and typical coping mechanisms can enable you to play a more active part in your recovery process. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by frozen responses, methods like progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, deep breathing, and grounding exercises can help you regain control over your nervous system and return to the present moment.

Build a support network

As you move through your trauma, surround yourself with encouraging friends, family, or support groups. These people can offer you empathy, validation, and support.

Prioritize self-care

Take part in activities that improve your physical, emotional, and mental health, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and relaxation training.

Explore therapeutic modalities

Processing trauma and lowering freeze reactions might benefit from a variety of therapeutic modalities, including dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), somatic experience, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Be patient and kind to yourself

Most importantly, healing from trauma requires patience and hard work. Recognise the improvement you’re making, no matter how tiny, and have patience with yourself.

Understand that getting past freeze trauma is a process, and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. You don’t need to face it by yourself.








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