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Ptsd What Happens In The Brain

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PTSD and the Brain

Our body cascades many chemical reactions during a frightening event that set off the fight/flight/freeze response readying us to react quickly to the danger. Most peoples chemical responses will return to baseline, but others will maintain the chemical reactions long enough to cause damage.

Although most people believe PTSD to be a diagnosis that only forms in adults, t this is not true. Children also suffer incredibly traumatic events and will form the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to Amen Clinics, the causes of post-traumatic stress disorder are too numerous and varied to list in this piece however, they may include:

  • Military combat
  • Witnessing someone getting hurt or killed
  • Witnessing the death of a loved one

You may have noticed that pandemic made the list. With the onslaught of COVID-19, it is predicted the number of people affected by complex post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder will increase dramatically.

How Rare Is Cardiac Arrest Among Athletes

About 1 or 2 in every 100,000 athletes experience sudden cardiac arrest each year, according to the Sports Institute. Men are at a greater risk than women, and Black athletes are at a greater risk than white athletes.

The risk is higher in football and basketball.

Estimates vary, but according to The Mayo Clinic, some reports suggest that about 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 80,000 young athletes die of sudden cardiac arrest every year.

What Parts Of The Brain Are Involved In Ptsd

We believe that the amygdala is involved in perceiving something as threatening and that this activation initiates activity in other parts of the brain such as the hippocampus and the orbital frontal cortex .

When a person suffers from PTSD, the normal systems that balance the amygdala activation become impaired. Because the amygdala is activated, more stimuli and less threatening stimuli, are seen as threatening and produce a fearful reaction.

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The Unmanaged Impact Of Trauma Can Adversely Affect Your Brains Function From Memory To Our Emotional Health Heres How Our Brain Gets Affected By Trauma

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So many of you must have experienced some or the other form of trauma during your lifetime. When we experience a traumatic event, be it a car accident, a loved ones demise, or the end of a relationship, our brain goes into a fight or flight mode. The brains default response in any traumatic event changes to protect us from any danger, shutting down non-essential body and brain functions until the threat ceases.

These changes to the brain function are not just neurological in nature, but also physical as the volume and size of various parts of the brain get impacted, such as the memory gland after a traumatic event.

This is particularly seen in patients diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder . There are 3 parts of the brain that get affected:

  • Hippocampus: It is the centre that takes care of emotion and memory but it shrinks in the event of a traumatic event
  • Amygdala: It is the part of the brain that looks after creativity and due to trauma, its function increases
  • Anterior Cingulate: It is the centre for functions like planning and self-development but its function decreases due to trauma
Heres how the brain gets impacted after a traumatic event

The intensely emotional impact of a traumatic event can cause a long term impact on brain function:

1. Stressful memories
2. Reduced sense of control on emotions

3. Distinguish past from the present

Heres what you can do to manage the aftermath of a traumatic event
Thought control

Brain Structures And Function

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Trauma can change key structures of the brain, which is associated with PTSD. Three of the main changes are the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The amygdala is the part of the brain in charge of processing emotions like fear and pleasure, assessing threats and activating the nervous system. The prefrontal cortex helps with cognitive functions — like making decisions on how to react and determining the meaning of stimuli. It also is related to attention, memory and impulse control. Your hippocampus is associated with learning and memory.

Research on PTSD has found that the amygdala becomes hyperactive while the prefrontal cortex is less active. This translates to your amygdala overreacts to situations, and your prefrontal cortex isn’t assessing the threats as they should be.

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Gateway Foundation Offers Trauma Therapy To Help Heal The Brain

Identifying the core source of trauma is often essential for getting on the path toward healing. However, understanding PTSD and the brain is only the first step to recovery. Gateway Foundation offers trauma therapy and dual-diagnosis treatment programs for people with co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD and substance use disorder. Our program will help you heal from trauma while you work to overcome substance addiction. To learn more about our treatment and therapy options, contact us today.

What Is Recovery Like From Commotio Cordis

Even if CPR is successful after cardiac arrest, patients still have a challenging road ahead, Abella says.

When you look across the United States, survival from the moment cardiac arrest strikes to leaving the hospital is less than 20%, says Abella. This also depends on when the CPR was started, how well CPR was performed and the availability of automated external defibrillators , he adds.

While it is very difficult to say what Hamlin’s recovery will look like, Abella says one thing for certain is recovery will be slow it could take days, if not weeks, to fully understand the extent of his injuries.

Brain injury is a common problem after cardiac arrest to varying extents in different people. … We will have to keep hoping for the best, but only time will tell, Abella says.

But there are glimmers of hope. There are some well-known cases of athletes who made full recoveries after cardiac arrest most notably, Fabrice Muamba in 2012 and Christian Eriksen , says Abella, adding that both players also had prolonged CPR after their cardic arrest events, like Hamlin.

Other possible conditions that could explain Hamlins cardiac arrest include an aneurysm that ruptured or an underlying heart defect, Azar said. We dont know for sure, but given the timing and the way it happened, is what most experts are thinking happened, she explained.

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Caudate Nucleus Putamen And Globus Pallidus

Subcortical structures such as caudate nucleus and putamen have been described as structures involved not only in motor function, but in cognitive processes and that their volume decrease was associated with major depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic stress induces neuroendocrine deficiency and weakened defensive mechanisms which lead to posttraumatic stress disorder. Cortisol, as the primary stress hormone, together with dehydroepiandrosterone, tries to return the body to its original state of homeostasis, but its disturbed concentration levels can modify brain structures volumes. Negative effects of cortisol result in volume decrease of subcortical structures .

What Damar Hamlin Video Reveals About His Injury According To Cardiologist

How Does PTSD Affect Brain Function?

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is in a stable condition in hospital after he collapsed during the game at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

The 24-year-old required CPR on the field after he tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, whose helmet hit the chest of the Bills player.

After initially seemingly shaken by the hit, Hamlin then fell back onto the ground, and emergency treatment was given by paramedics, who rushed onto the field.

The safety received medical attention on field for more than 30 minutes, with players from both sides looking visibly upset, before Hamlin was rushed to a local hospital.

The game was subsequently called off after discussions between the teams and officials.

Bernard Ashby MD, a vascular cardiologist based in Miami, has to Hamlin’s body during the impact in the tackle.

“The video of Damar Hamlin from a cardiologist’s perspective resembled commotio cordis – a phenomenon that occurs when a sudden blunt impact to the chest causes cardiac arrest.

“Timely defibrillation is life saving & prevents anoxic brain injury. I pray an AED was near,” Ashby tweeted.

Fortunately, this seemed to be the case, with one person replying to the doctor: “Yes, they had it! The staffs did get to him quickly & worked him. So glad that many sports arenas now have them & they are easy to use. Young heart/lungs & I hope he responds well.”

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Effects Of Traumatic Stress

Traumatic stressors such as early trauma can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder , which affects about 8% of Americans at some time In their lives,1 as well as depression,2,3 substance abuse,1,4 dissociation,5 personality disorders,6,7 and health problems.8 For many trauma victims, PTSD can be a lifelong problem.9 The President’s New Freedom Commission Report highlights the Importance of providing services for mental disorders related to early trauma.1012 However, the development of effective treatments is limited by gaps in knowledge about the underlying neurobiological mechanisms that mediate symptoms of traumarelated disorders like PTSD. This paper reviews preclinical and clinical studies on the effects of traumatic stress on the brain.

Is Emotional Trauma A Brain Injury

According to recent studies, Emotional Trauma and PTSD do cause both brain and physical damage. Neuropathologists have seen overlapping effects of physical and emotional trauma upon the brain. With such an overlap it can be seen that both of these traumas have a detrimental effect upon the Amygdala, the Hippocampus and the Prefrontal cortex of the brain. Meaning that Emotional Trauma or PTSD does indeed result in brain injury/damage.

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Can Ptsd Affect Memory

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder , you may notice that you have trouble concentrating or that you have issues with your memory, such as memory loss. In fact, memory and concentration problems are common symptoms of PTSD.

Born and raised in the city of London, Alexander Johnson studied biology and chemistry in college and went on to earn a PhD in biochemistry. After completing his doctoral studies, he decided to start “ScienceOxygen” as a way to share his passion for science with others and to provide an accessible and engaging resource for those interested in learning about the latest scientific discoveries. In his writing, Alexander covers a wide range of topics, from cutting-edge medical research and technology to environmental science and space exploration. He also shares personal stories and insights from his own journey as a scientist and researcher.

Therapy Can Help You Overcome Flashbacks

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Understanding whats happening in your brain during a PTSD flashback can help you learn strategies to cope. You can work with a therapist to identify triggers for your flashbacks, such as certain objects, people, or places. Then, you can work with them to identify ways to respond calmly to these triggers through relaxation techniques as well as exposure and cognitive behavioral therapies..While PTSD can be a debilitating condition in some cases taking years for the survivor to be stable and healthy enough to process the trauma with appropriate treatment it can be successfully overcome.

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Neural Circuits In Ptsd

In summary, dysfunction of a circuit involving the medial prefrontal cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and possibly hippocampus and amygdala during exposure to traumatic reminders may underlie symptoms of PTSD. These studies have primarily assessed neural correlates of traumatic remembrance, while little has been done in the way of utilizing cognitive tasks as probes of specific regions, such as memory tasks as probes of hippocampal function.

How This Information Can Be Used

There is still much to learn about the role certain parts of the brain play in PTSD formation. Knowing how PTSD affects the brain , however, is very important to study.

Understanding which parts of the brain may impact PTSD can lead to the development of more effective medications for treating the disorder. In addition, this information may also help us better identify who is at risk for developing PTSD following a traumatic event.

  • Fogwe LA, Mesfin FB. Neuroanatomy, Hippocampus. National Center for Biotechnology Information. StatsPearl Publishing.

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    Can Commotio Cordis Happen From A Tackle

    “So how could this have happened what looked like … a very typical tackle?” Azar wondered. If the hit to the chest happens at the exact right time in the cardiac cycle, she continued, the impact can trigger a life-threatening arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. Life-threatening arrhythmias cause most sudden cardiac arrests, according to Cleveland Clinic.

    Even a low impact projectile or a strike to the middle of the chest with a hand can be enough to cause the heart to enter an arrhythmia, per the Korey Stringer Institute.

    In addition to the right timing, the impact has to happen in the right location, according to experts.

    Hits like this happen 200, 300 times every weekend in the NFL. … There was nothing extraordinary or particularly different about the hit. Its probably just where he got hit in the chest,” Peter King, NBC Sports columnist, told TODAY in a segment aired Jan. 3.

    Commotio cordis is well-known to us in the ER. Heres some facts:

    Michael Daignault, MD

    Can Sudden Cardiac Arrest Be Prevented

    How Trauma and PTSD Change the Brain

    To reduce your risk of sudden cardiac arrest, the Mayo Clinic recommends getting regular checkups, being screened for heart disease and living a heart-healthy life.

    If you survive sudden cardiac arrest, your doctor will try to learn what caused it to help prevent future episodes. Tests your doctor may recommend include:

    • Electrocardiogram : During an ECG, sensors that can detect the electrical activity of your heart are attached to your chest and sometimes to your limbs. An ECG can reveal disturbances in heart rhythm or detect abnormal electrical patterns, such as a prolonged QT interval, that increase your risk of sudden death.
    • Blood tests: A sample of your blood might be tested to check the levels of potassium, magnesium, hormones and other chemicals that can affect your heart’s ability to function. Other blood tests can detect recent heart injury and heart attacks.

    Imaging tests are also used in treatment. These might include:

    • Chest X-ray. This allows your doctor to check the size and shape of your heart and its blood vessels. It might also show whether you have heart failure.
    • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to produce an image of your heart. It can help identify whether an area of your heart has been damaged by a heart attack and isn’t pumping hard enough.

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    Consequences Of Brain Dysfunctions In Ptsd


    Because the amygdala is overactive, more norepinephrine is released in response to threat and its release is not well-regulated by the PFC.

    Effects of excess norepinephrine include:

  • Increased wakefulness and sleep disruption
  • As a result of hyperarousal, people with PTSD can get emotionally triggered by anything that resembles the original trauma . Symptoms of hypervigilance means they are frequently keyed up and on edge, while increased wakefulness means they may have difficulty sleeping or wake up in the middle of the night.

    How Treatments Affect The Brains Of People With Ptsd

    Some studies show that psychotherapies which include repeated exposure to trauma cues can enhance the ability of the PFC to assign less threatening or more positive meanings to trauma-related events. Antidepressants seem to have a similar effect. Mindfulness interventions lasting 10 to 12 weeks have been shown to decrease amygdala volume and increase the connectivity between the amygdala and PFC. Mindfulness seems to make the amygdala less reactive and the PFC more able to calm down the threat response. But some people with PTSD may have difficulty tolerating being mindful or confronting their trauma actively. Avoidance is a hallmark of PTSD and some patients may need more support and relationship-building before they are ready to face their distressing feelings.

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    The Brain Changes Caused By Trauma

    While alterations in behavior are the hallmarks of PTSD, the causes for these changes involve changes to significant brain structures. One study using functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that brain structure and function might underlie the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The brain areas that seem to have been consistently implicated in PTSD have included the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex . Also involved in the changes seen in those living with PTSD is the amygdala .

    Several studies have shown that PTSD is associated with a reduction in the hippocampus volume during fMRI and MRI examinations. This volume change can mean that the person experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder will experience memory disturbances and difficulty learning.

    The amygdala volume in people with PTSD decreased, leaving the person living with PTSD easily triggered by events it perceives as dangerous, whether this perception is correct or not. As a result, the person lives in a state of constant alertness and fear and can be easily triggered into a flashback of the event that caused their post-traumatic stress disorder .

    Ptsd Changes How The Brain Works

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    Beyond those three areas, PTSD has broader effects on overall functioning. In some studies, individuals with the condition have been found to have depletions in the brains gray matter, along with changes to connections between sections of the brain, says Clouston. These things are critical to your ability to learn, remember, and make new connections between ideas. You need gray matter as an essential part of cognitive health.

    The other area that shows physical signs of PTSD is our neurochemistry, or the balance of chemicals, including hormones, that interact with neural tissue.Cortisol levels in people with the disorder are often lower than in others, Dr. Jain explains, while other chemicals, such as noradrenaline and adrenaline, are spiking. These are released by the body when goes into fight or flight mode. We know that in people with PTSD, those chemicals are just floating around in their bodies, at much higher rates than they should be and for a lot longer, says Dr. Jain.

    The neurotransmitter serotonin, which is so often the focus of mood disorder treatment, is also impacted by the condition. A study published in Molecular Psychiatry in 2016 found that people with PTSD often appear to have serotonin imbalances. This, says Dr. Jain, probably accounts for some of the mood symptoms that accompany post-traumatic stress, like depression, irritability and anger.

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