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How Trauma Affects The Brain. - Health - Nairaland

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How Trauma Affects The Brain. by Nobody: 5:56am On Oct 23, 2018
In my last post, I shared on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD. I tried as I could to explain what it was and reasons it happens. Please find it here.

Today, I’d go further to explain the effect of traumatic stress on the brain that results in those severe symptoms in PTSD patients.

When people learn of PTSD, it can be surprising to them that someone could possibly still be haunted by an experience long gone, especially when it seemed the physical effect of such trauma has left the victim.

Well, it isn’t the sufferers’ fault that they go through such experiences. It is how the brain works after the traumatic situation that made the issue seem that way.

Since I am not a neurologist, I am no expert on how the brain functions. However, I will try my best to break this down as much as I can so anyone can understand how trauma affects the brain.

The Hippocampus, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex, and the Amygdala are part of the neural circuity of the brain that regulates stress. These play the most important role in what happens to victims of PTSD.

The Hippocampus is a small organ located within the brain’s medial temporal lobe and forms an important part of the limbic system. The limbic system is the part of the brain region that regulates emotions. The Hippocampus is associated with long term memory in particular; it helps us distinguish between past and present memories.

PTSD leads to a reduced hippocampus volume, making it difficult to differentiate between past and present experiences correctly, or to interpret environmental context the right way. This is the reason sufferers of PTSD may experience some kind of extreme stress responses around similar environment where the trauma had occurred, or around anything similar to the actual event that serves as a remainder.

The Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex, vmPFC, is a part of the prefrontal cortex in the mammalian brain located at the frontal lobe at the bottom of the cerebral hemispheres. It is useful in the processing of risks, fear and plays an important role in the inhibition of emotional responses.

This part of the brain regulates negative emotions such as fear that occurs when confronted with some specific stimuli.

Patients who have PTSD usually show a decrease in the volume and functionality of the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Reason, PTSD sufferers tend to exhibit fear, anxiety, and extreme stress responses even when faced with stimuli not connected to their past traumatic experiences.

What you need to know here is that the trauma that was experienced by the victim had caused a severe lasting changes in this region of the brain that is responsible for regulating emotional responses triggered by the amygdala. As a result, it can no longer function as it should.

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Re: How Trauma Affects The Brain. by Festdam(m): 7:40am On Oct 23, 2018
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