incredible-marketing Arrow

Without giving mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder a great amount of consideration, we might not consider at all the fact that PTSD affects the brain. Clearly, PTSD has to happen somewhere. Thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and the many mental symptoms of PTSD don’t, just happen and disappear like clouds passing in the sky. Everything happens as a chemical impulse, taking place within the structure of the brain.

Each kind of mental illness leaves a different mark on the brain, called a biomarker. A biomarker is a “measurable substance in an organism whose presence is indicative of some phenomenon such as disease, infection, or environmental exposure.” The activity in different areas of the brain indicate the presence of PTSD and give us information as to how and why the symptoms of PTSD develop. The three areas of the brain most affected by are the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex.

The amygdala processes fear. As part of the limbic system, the amygdala also processes emotion. When the amygdala is affected by trauma, the response to fear and the understanding of fear, changes- which is heightened by the amygdala’s relationship to the hippocampus. The hippocampus mostly deals with memory, both long-term and short-term memory. Fear makes the relationship between the amygdala and the hippocampus stronger by creating fear based memories. Taking note of the fear and the memories of fear, the brain takes extreme action to prevent these negative experiences from happening again. The prefrontal cortex is where cognition and cognitive functions live, the many different actions of higher order we take every day. Heightened activity between the amygdala and the hippocampus send signals to the prefrontal cortex which inhibit its many activities. Putting a limitation on executive functioning is the kickoff for the survival threat response, the “fight or flight” system. Rather than make rational, calculated decisions, the brain acting on a high-energy impulse acts irrationally.

Impulsive behaviors fueled by fear is what leads to many of the symptoms of PTSD. Nightmares, flashbacks, hypersensitivity and hypervigilance are all heightened states of mental function which are the result of how PTSD affects the brain.

Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues: 1-855-483-7800