Trauma history reveals itself as mental and physical health vulnerabilites during the pandemic: Insights from the Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory provides a perspective to understand the role of autonomic regulation as an intervening variable, exacerbating or dampening the influence of adversity history on the impact of the pandemic on mental and physical health.

During the pandemic, adversity history may retune autonomic regulation and lower the threshold for threat reactions, resulting in a greater impact on mental health and even a potential greater vulnerability to the virus. Similarly, a history characterized by a lack of adversity and an assumed background of safety cues and trusting relationships, may support a more resilient nervous system that is sufficiently buffered to reduce the mental and physical health consequences of the pandemic. Our research supports these speculations and documents that during the pandemic adversity history has been related to an increased probability of mental health problems in those who were not infected and an increased risk in being infected.

Trauma creates emotional learnings that are unlearned and depotentiated through memory reconsolidation

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