When you go through a trauma, your brain typically fails to perform. It shifts to survival mode, ultimately affecting your mental health, memory, brain functioning, and brain structure. Moreover, after facing trauma, you cannot usually survive in your routine. There is a considerable difference between trauma brain vs normal brain, but in most cases, the effects reduce with time. 

In contrast, some significant cases leave long-lasting and unhealthy impacts on the human mind, health, and life. But the good news is that with the help of professional assistance, you can handle your trauma and shift your energy toward recovery and a healthy routine. However, to get the answer to how to heal the brain after emotional trauma, firstly, you should understand how trauma affects your brain. To learn about it, keep reading. 

Effects of Trauma on the Human Brain

  1. Brain Damage 

Can trauma mess up your brain? Trauma can damage your brain in many ways, depending on the trauma intensity. It can affect your brain function and bring emotional/structural change to your brain. According to a survey, trauma mainly damages the three parts of your brain, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex.

  • Amygdala

Amygdala is the emotional center of the body, and it plays a vital role in the emotional memory of a human. When a human passes through a trauma, he or she is emotionally disturbed. In this situation, the amygdala works more actively than in the everyday routine.

  • Hippocampus

This part of the brain is responsible for your memory. Trauma affects the hippocampus’s physic and shape. In many cases, it has been seen that people passing from trauma have a smaller hippocampus than ordinary people. Also, people lose the ability to recall their new memories and may face problems learning new things.

  • Prefrontal Cortex

Prefrontal Cortex regulates all emotions and impulses, including fear or happiness, especially after trauma. Therefore, trauma makes a massive change in this part, even if we can say mold it completely. 

  1. Memory 

Trauma can affect your memory system badly, depending on trauma intensity. Four different types of memories can be hurt by trauma.

  • Semantic memory is general knowledge memory. After the trauma, you can face difficulty recalling general knowledge like what a vehicle is or sounds, pictures, etc.
  • Episodic memory is connected to life events. After the trauma, you can forget about something you experienced or fail to understand what is happening right now.
  • Emotional memory has a connection with emotions you feel, and it is the most affected memory after trauma.
  • Procedural memory helps you to perform usual or everyday routine tasks in routine. For example, you know how to drive a car without active thinking, but after a trauma, you can face problems recalling how to drive a car.


This is a fact that after facing trauma in life, people get emotional scars that take months or years to fade away. You can recover from trauma by making changes in daily habits. However, many people want to know how trauma affects your brain physically. Many researches show that trauma not only damages a person emotionally but also damages the brain parts. After facing any trauma, you need counseling as well as medical assistance. Therefore, try to consult an expert who can help you throughout your journey. 


What happens with the prefrontal cortex during trauma?

The prefrontal cortex cannot perform properly and doesn’t regulate your emotions, due to which your brain may be a little bit dramatic. You could be over-emotional about every little experience of fear and happiness in your life.

Does trauma physically change the brain?

Trauma can change the brain’s physics and emotions, ultimately changing your behavior and action with people you interact with. 

What parts of the brain are mainly affected during trauma?

Trauma can damage the whole brain, but three parts are mainly affected by these changes, i.e., the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus. The amygdala is responsible for emotional memory, the hippocampus is responsible for recalling the memory, and the prefrontal cortex regulates the emotion released from the amygdala.