Donald Edmondson: recent publications

How People With Chronic Illness Can Process Treatment-Induced Trauma

Living with chronic illness is complicated and it is not uncommon for it to be accompanied by anxiety, depression, stress, and feelings of overwhelm. But as I had to find out for myself, there is an element that is not often identified or treated properly: complex trauma due to living with chronic illness, or as proposed by Dr. Donald Edmondson, the Enduring Somatic Threat Model or EST form of PTSD.

Yet it is not only the diagnosis that is often not made, but the treatment normally offered does not recognize our body’s important role in what is called “mental” illness but is actually a biopsychosocial one that in the case of chronic illness-induced trauma, requires the body and nervous system to be addressed directly in what is often called a bottom-up approach.

It’s in Our Body, Not Just Our Mind

It is widely acknowledged that our mind, thoughts, and behavior are involved in mental wellness, but the role of the body and the nervous system is often disregarded. Although we have evolved the ability for rational, analytical thinking and problem solving, we still have our deepest physiological responses for survival.

Historically, this would have looked like needing to run away from or fight invading tribes or wild animals. Our body prepared us for this via our autonomic nervous system, increasing our heart and breath rate, taking blood away from our digestive system and sending it to our limbs for better use of our skeletal muscles, sharpening our senses, and releasing hormones like adrenaline. It can feel like stress, anger, fear, worry, or being on high alert. We still have these physiological responses as our body doesn’t differentiate between running from wild animals and ill health that causes pain and the possible

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Can Process Treatment Donald Edmondson