A traumatic experience can actually be stored in your brain incorrectly. This is why symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares and getting triggered by certain sounds, smells, etc. can occur. Certain structures of your brain can become physically altered after a traumatic experience. This may include:
The hippocampus shrinks
This is the part of your brain that controls memories. When it shrinks due to traumatic experience, you may have difficulty separating the present time from trauma time. That’s why flashbacks happen.
The amygdala becomes overactive
This is the part of your brain that controls fear and aggression. It helps us process difficult emotions. If a trauma gets stored incorrectly, the amygdala can continue responding with a fight or flight response, even when there is no actual threat in the present moment.
Decreased function in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex
This is the part of your brain that can regulate difficult emotions when faced with a certain trigger. With PTSD, this area of the brain can shrink, making difficult emotions unregulated, which is why you may find yourself “overreacting” to a present day situation.
It’s important to understand that PTSD affects your brain, but with therapies like EMDR Therapy, your brain can process the traumatic memory correctly. Afterwards, these areas of the brain can return to normal functioning.
Want to know more about how our therapeutic approach helps you heal from anxiety, depression and unprocessed trauma?
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Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling, PLLC, is a wellness and counseling center in Westchester, NY.
Our therapists specialize in the most evidenced-based treatments for children and parents, teens and adults and first responders. Our services include therapy for: anxiety, trauma, behavioral disorders, improving relationships and eating disorders.
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