Can you be stuck in freeze response? (2023)

Table of Contents

Can you be stuck in freeze response?

What triggers the freeze response? We tend to think of traumatic events, but according to Peter Levine, PhD, that's not always the case. Even a perceived threat can be enough for a client to get stuck in a frozen state.

(Video) Are You Stuck in Freeze Mode? How to Turn off the Freeze Response
(Therapy in a Nutshell)
How long do freeze responses last?

It takes around 20–60 minutes for the body return to its normal state after the stress response becomes activated. Afterward, a person may feel tired, achy, or have some lingering anxiety. Generally, it is a good idea to do things that feel safe and restful during this time.

(Video) When a Client Is Stuck in the Freeze Response with Peter Levine, PhD
What does it mean to be stuck in freeze response?

Freeze – Feeling stuck in a certain part of the body, feeling cold or numb, physical stiffness or heaviness of limbs, decreased heart-rate, restricted breathing or holding of the breath, a sense of dread or foreboding.

How can I tell if I'm in freeze response?

What Are the Key Signs of the Freeze Response?
  1. Hyper-Alertness.
  2. Increased heart rate.
  3. Tension in the body and muscles (tonic immobility)
  4. Energy seems built up, but cant be released.
  5. Some, but minimal verbal cues – like “I feel stuck,” “I can't move,” or “I'm paralyzed.” Or, no speech at all.
  6. Shallow and rapid breath.

(Video) How to Turn off the Fight/Flight/Freeze Response: Anxiety Skills #4
(Therapy in a Nutshell)
What is dissociative shutdown?

The Shutdown Dissociation Scale (Shut-D) is a semi-structured interview, it was first published in 2011 to assess dissociative responses caused by reminders of traumatic stress .[1] The Shut-D Scale assesses biological symptoms associated with freeze, fight/flight, fright, and flag/faint responses, and is based on the ...

(Video) How to come out of a chronic freeze response after repeated stress & trauma || IRENE LYON || Q&A
(Irene Lyon)
Can your body get stuck in fight or flight mode?

However, if you are under chronic stress or have experienced trauma, you can get stuck in sympathetic fight or flight or dorsal vagal freeze and fold. When this happens, it can lead to disruptions in everything from basic life skills like sleeping, self-care and eating, to complexities like learning and self-soothing.

(Video) Simulation Scenario - Explaining the Freeze Response to a Client
(Western Australian Clinical Training Network)
How do I overcome long term freeze response?

Five Coping Skills for Overcoming the Fight, Flight or Freeze...
  1. What's Happening, Neurologically Speaking: ...
  2. Deep Breathing or Belly Breathing. ...
  3. Grounding Exercises. ...
  4. Guided Imagery or Guided Meditation. ...
  5. Self Soothe Through Temperature. ...
  6. Practice "RAIN."
1 Sept 2020

(Video) Working with the Freeze Response in the Treatment of Trauma with Stephen Porges, PhD
Is freeze response the same as dissociation?

Dissociation is an adaptive response to threat and is a form of “freezing”. It is a strategy that is often used when the option of fighting or running (fleeing) is not an option.

(Video) Stuck in FREEZE mode? Turn it off so you can HEAL! (Understanding Fight, flight & freeze)
(Lisa Heal Yourself)
What does fawning look like?

Understanding the Fawn Response

The fawn response involves trying to appease or please a person who is both a care provider and a source of threat. Examples of fawning include: “I hoped that by caring for them they might care for me.” “I never showed my true feelings for fear of retaliation.”

(Video) Stuck In Chronic Freeze Trauma Response| How Somatic Experiencing Can Help
(Michele Lee Nieves - Trauma Recovery Coach)
How do I get out of shutdown response?

Emotional shutdown can occur within relationships where one person feels they cannot communicate with the other person well.
Coming Out Of Shutdown Mode
  1. Have a trust-based relationship. ...
  2. Find your own calm center. ...
  3. Let the patient lead. ...
  4. Normalize their response. ...
  5. Help them find their anger.
9 Jul 2022

(Video) The Fight Flight Freeze Response

What is a freeze response PTSD?

The physical response of freezing, feeling paralyzed, or feeling like you are out of your body (dissociation), can be triggered by events that are not at all life-threatening for those of us with PTSD (PTSD and the Freeze Response).

(Video) Strategies to Calm the Nervous System During a Freeze Response
Is shutting down a trauma response?

When trauma and chronic stress become overwhelming, our nervous system tends to move into a shutdown state. Counsellors often refer to it as dissociation, a common response to traumatic events.

Can you be stuck in freeze response? (2023)
Can you have more than one trauma response?

As mentioned above, the four types of trauma responses are: fight, flight, freeze or fawn. You may have one or more of them at different times and under different circumstances: The flight response can be defined as getting away from the situation as quickly as possible.

What is a normal response to trauma?

Right after a trauma, almost every survivor will find it hard to stop thinking about what happened. Stress reactions—such as fear, anxiety, jumpiness, upsetting memories, and efforts to avoid reminders—will gradually decrease over time for most people.

What does a trauma response feel like?

Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited.

What is a flag trauma response?

... the fright stage, also known as tonic immobility, a peak of arousal and physical immobility where the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are simultaneously activated to decrease hyperarousal, and finally shuts down, wherein it may enter a profoundly dissociative state (flag) or even faint as a response ...

How does a therapist know you are dissociating?

Usually, signs of dissociation can be as subtle as unexpected lapses in attention, momentary avoidance of eye contact with no memory, staring into space for several moments while appearing to be in a daze, or repeated episodes of short-lived spells of apparent fainting.

What is freeze dissociation?

The freeze response makes the body immobile and releases chemicals which 'numbs' your body and mind. You might feel paralysed or unable to move. The flop response is where lots of the thinking processes in the brain are shut off.

How do you recover from a hyperstimulation response to stress?

Taking just 10-20 minutes each day to practice relaxation techniques can make a world of difference. Whether it's with meditation or meditative movement techniques like Qigong, yoga, or other techniques that relax you, give yourself a break during the day to simply be.

How long can your body stay in fight-or-flight?

This chain of reactions results in an increased heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. 3 Your body can stay in fight-or-flight for 20 to 60 minutes after the threat is gone, which is how long it takes for the parasympathetic nervous system to return it to pre-arousal levels.

Can you get stuck in the sympathetic nervous system?

Signs you are stuck in sympathetic mode include problems with sleep, anxiety, blood sugar issues (even with a blood-sugar-balancing diet), sexual dysfunction, brain fog, memory issues, fatigue, difficulty recovering from exercise or stressful events, getting sick easily, and chronic pain.

What kind of trauma causes freeze response?

The freeze response is connected to:

childhood trauma and neglect. adult psychological trauma. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD).

Is depression the freeze response?

Symptoms of depression can be understood as the body going into freeze mode to protect itself from a threat. We feel helpless in the face of the different challenges in our life. Often, this is accompanied by a sense of frustration or shame at ourselves.

Is fawning a trauma response?

Fawning is a trauma response where a person develops people-pleasing behaviors to avoid conflict and to establish a sense of safety. In other words, the fawn trauma response is a type of coping mechanism that survivors of complex trauma adopt to "appease" their abusers.

Can dissociation make you unable to move?

When someone is in a dissociative state they may be disconnected from their surrounds and from their body, but this does not mean they are in a state of tonic immobility. The experience of tonic immobility can occur while one is aware of and connected to their surroundings and body. The person is just unable to move.

What happens physiologically during the freeze response?

This process triggers a state of 'freezing', our heart rate and breathing slows down and we may find that we hold our breath. We may feel cold or numb and we might experience a sense of being trapped within our body. Pain killing hormones can also be released into our system to reduce the physical and emotional impact.

How do you break the cycle of dissociation?

So how do we begin to pivot away from dissociation and work on developing more effective coping skills?
  1. Learn to breathe. ...
  2. Try some grounding movements. ...
  3. Find safer ways to check out. ...
  4. Hack your house. ...
  5. Build out a support team. ...
  6. Keep a journal and start identifying your triggers. ...
  7. Get an emotional support animal.
12 Feb 2019

What childhood trauma causes people pleasing?

Fawning often first develops in early childhood when a traumatic event has been perpetrated by a parent or primary caregiver, explains Walker. A child who has been abused may learn to fawn to avoid any further abuse, such as physical violence, sexual abuse, or verbal abuse.

What childhood trauma causes fawning?

What types of trauma cause the fawn response? The fawn response is most commonly associated with childhood trauma and complex trauma — types of trauma that arise from repeat events, such as abuse or childhood neglect — rather than single-event trauma, such as an accident.

Is oversharing a trauma response?

If you live with complex trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma dumping or oversharing could be a natural trauma response and coping mechanism.

Is zoning out a mental disorder?

For the most part, zoning out isn't bad at all. It's a normal part of brain function, and it's also often helpful.

What is ADHD shutdown?

Differences in emotions in people with ADHD can lead to 'shutdowns', where someone is so overwhelmed with emotions that they space out, may find it hard to speak or move and may struggle to articulate what they are feeling until they can process their emotions.

Can your brain shut down from stress?

High levels of cortisol wear down the brain's ability to function properly. In addition, extended levels of elevated stress can kill brain cells, even leading to the reduction of the size of the brain. High levels of cortisol wear down the brain's ability to function properly.

How do you stop fawning trauma response?

3 Ways to Ease the Fawn Response to Trauma
  1. Increase Awareness of Your Emotions. If you struggle with the fawn response, it will be important to focus on increasing awareness of your emotions. ...
  2. Validate Yourself and Your Needs. Stay self-compassionate, and embrace the present moment as your own. ...
  3. Develop Firm Boundaries.
13 Oct 2021

What is a collapse response?

Collapse is a state of hypo-arousal. When a person begins to experience this response, they may not be able to speak, and they feel detached or disconnected from their body. Their heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature lower.

Is staying silent a trauma response?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who don't talk about their feelings after a traumatic event are no more likely to have problems down the road than those who do express them, new research shows. In fact, they may be better off.

Do people with PTSD shut you out?

Emotional numbing is a term used to describe a state of mind in which people with PTSD try to cope. Specifically, they emotionally shut down.

How long can trauma responses last?

Responses to trauma can last for weeks to months before people start to feel normal again. Most people report feeling better within three months after a traumatic event. If the problems become worse or last longer than one month after the event, the person may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What happens if you go through too much trauma?

Trauma can make you more vulnerable to developing mental health problems. It can also directly cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some people misuse alcohol, drugs, or self-harm to cope with difficult memories and emotions. Depending on how you're affected, trauma may cause difficulties in your daily life.

Is apologizing a trauma response?

But repetitive, nearly constant apologies for every little thing—or, what Psychologist Paige Carambio, PsyD calls, “apologizing for existing”—can actually be an after-effect of trauma, a self-preservation technique survivors may think they still need to utilize in order to protect themselves.

What is the most severe form of PTSD?

Complex PTSD is one (sometimes referred to as “Disorder of Extreme Stress”), is the most severe form of the condition, requiring the most support of the five sub-types.

Is crying a trauma response?

We often will feel sad and cry after a highly traumatic event. The crying can be a way for the nervous system to come down from the fight-or-flight response, since crying is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system which calms the mind and body.

How do I know if I'm traumatized?

Intrusive memories

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks) Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.

How do you know if you've been traumatized?

Signs and symptoms of emotional & psychological trauma
  1. Intrusive thoughts of the event that may occur out of the blue.
  2. Nightmares.
  3. Visual images of the event.
  4. Loss of memory and concentration abilities.
  5. Disorientation.
  6. Confusion.
  7. Mood swings.

What is the most common trauma?

Perhaps one of the most common forms of trauma is emotional abuse. This can be a common form of trauma because emotional abuse can take many different forms. Sometimes it's easy for emotional abuse to be hidden or unrecognized.

How do you know if you have unresolved trauma?

The symptoms of unresolved trauma may include, among many others, addictive behaviors, an inability to deal with conflict, anxiety, confusion, depression or an innate belief that we have no value.

How does the brain heal after emotional trauma?

Ways to Heal from Emotional Trauma
  1. Movement and Exercise. As trauma disrupts your body's natural equilibrium, exercise and movement can help repair your nervous system. ...
  2. Connect with Others. ...
  3. Ask for Support. ...
  4. Volunteer.

Why is my fear response freeze?

The “freeze” response occurs when our brains decide we cannot take on the threat nor are we able to escape. Often when this happens our bodies might remain still, unable to move, numb or “freeze”. We may feel as if we are not actually a part of our bodies.

Is the freeze response dissociation?

Dissociation is an adaptive response to threat and is a form of “freezing”. It is a strategy that is often used when the option of fighting or running (fleeing) is not an option.

What triggers the freeze response?

The freeze response is connected to:

childhood trauma and neglect. adult psychological trauma. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD).

What is Cptsd freeze?

Freeze. The freeze response, also known as the dissociative response, is when someone shuts down, either physically, mentally, or emotionally, when feeling triggered or experiencing pain. This can manifest as feeling numb, experiencing brain fog or memory loss, or completely dissociating during the stressful experience ...

How can you unfreeze yourself?

Time to unfreeze and take action.
Our six recommendations to unfreeze and overcome fear:
  1. Acknowledge your fear.
  2. Assess your fear rationally.
  3. Build a plan.
  4. Overcome fear with courage.
  5. Use feelings of fear to action your plan.
  6. Adapt to change quicker.

How do you escape the freeze screen?

Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to open the Windows Task Manager. If the Task Manager can open, highlight the program that is not responding and choose End Task, which should unfreeze the computer. It could still take ten to twenty seconds for the unresponsive program to be terminated after choosing End Task.

How do I get out of a trauma shutdown?

Coming Out Of Shutdown Mode
  1. Have a trust-based relationship. ...
  2. Find your own calm center. ...
  3. Let the patient lead. ...
  4. Normalize their response. ...
  5. Help them find their anger.
9 Jul 2022

Why do I freeze when I get yelled at?

Why Freezing During Trauma Happens. In the face of trauma, we might react in ways that make zero sense to us. At all. Anytime we feel really uncomfortable or unsafe, our brain shuffles through the fight-flight-freeze responses and decides subconsciously which one is best for us at that exact moment.

Is procrastination a freeze response?

What we call procrastination is actually the “freeze” response of the brain to a stressful situation. The stress generated by a trauma or a fear, even an unconscious fear, will prevent you from doing something. The more you delay the task, the more stressful you become, thus the worse the situation becomes.

How do I get out of fight-or-flight PTSD?

7 Techniques to Tame the Fight or Flight Response
  1. Eat well. Good nutrition is vital to reduce anxiety and your body's sensitive fight or flight response. ...
  2. Get Counseling. ...
  3. Get regular exercise. ...
  4. Concentrate on your senses. ...
  5. Breathe. ...
  6. Use positive self-talk. ...
  7. Use visualization techniques.
22 Jan 2022

You might also like
Popular posts
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated: 31/10/2023

Views: 6569

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.