Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
” without the choice to change , there is no journey, without a journey, there are no goals, without goals, there are no achievements, and withought achievements, there is no change…” dlucas
Are those that suffer PTSD brain damaged? Is it part of the “human condition?” There are compelling new studies that show some individuals are more “prone” to suffer PTSD than others. One group is researching the hippocampus, in laymen’s terms; the cerebral hemisphere of the brain (the part that uses intellect verses intuition) directly affecting our behavioral choices. Simply speaking, outer stimuli is “fed” into this area of the brain which then would be intellectualized rather than through the intuitive nature of this part of the brain. This research shows that all individuals vary in regards to the size of their hippocampus, those that are smaller in size leave these individuals more susceptible to PTSD than those with a larger hippocampus.
One study shows that soldiers, returning from battle with PTSD, had smaller hippocampus than others who returned (suffering similar or close to the same circumstances ) without the life-altering affects of PTSD and, in addition, their hippocampus were larger. The study does not end here. It seems that PTSD is NOT the CAUSE of a smaller hippocampus, the study proves the reverse; an individual would already have pre-acquired a hippocampus size, unique to that individual; this still does not take into account the differences between the male and female brain.
What is the criteria needed, during ones informative years, to develop a large hippocampus? Is this a predetermined factor through genetics, a vitamin deficiency in youth, stress, maltreatment as a child, chronic inflammation, or a compromised immune system? I personally understand the damage of all I have listed and the affects of such on a young developing brain. Keep in mind, various types of unhealthy stimuli, over long periods of time, have proven to affect “growth”. Many questions comes to mind, as I delve more into this subject.; What causes a small hippocampus? Most all of us understand the importance of a healthy diet, beginning at birth. The benefits to children raised by parents who first built a strong foundation before bringing children into the world also impact a child’s healthy psychological growth. My point? There is a reason for everything. Therefore there are reasons why some have small and others have larger hippocampus.
A second study was to prove a correlation of the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus, or a grey matter “highway”, located in the brain fontal lobe area, who’s job it is to connect “feelings” with the “cortex” ( controls voluntary movement, coordination of sensory information, learning and memory, and the expression of individuality). After a traumatic event [enough to cause PTSD] there was a reduction of healthy cells produced in the brain, thus disrupting the “highway” of “feelings” traveling to the “cortex”.
SUMMATION: When combining these two studies, it is an easy jump to conclude, a correlation:
- An underdeveloped hippocampus distorts intellectual properties of the brain function, directly affecting behavioral choices.
- Not only can an underdeveloped hippocampus become a catalyst for PTSD, but those who have it also experience damage to the anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) (the grey matter highway, connecting feelings, controlling voluntary movement, coordination of sensory information.
- The ACG is responsible for transferring information to the cerebral cortex, associated with the higher brain functions; the ability to express individuality.
- There is a strong correlation, between these two tests, which explains why individuals experience ; loss of control (acting-out), have problems with memory (distortions, visions, flashbacks, forgetfulness, etc.) and find it almost impossible, at times, to express themselves; they may feel as frozen inside as a tightly rolled snowball, alone and in a dark thick fog.
After reading the aforementioned material, is it fair to “label” those suffering from PTSD or any psychological ailment as a complete failure or crazy? Do they have control whether their brain is “imperfect” according to societal standards? I would venture to say, it is those around the ones who suffer, that cause them the most stress. If you busted your knee falling down a flight of stairs, would you ignore it as though it really didn’t exist? Or would you take great care, bandage it, pamper it until it is healed? This works the same with people who suffer. Setting them aside, as you wait for them to “fix” themselves, is like waiting for your knee to bandage itself. Many people have broken souls, they need support, love and understanding. Whenever or however normal brain function is interrupted, the world literally slows to a snails pace. They stop growing, learning, adapting and functioning, they are lost in what I refer to as a “fog”. PTSD can be controlled and possibly cured, through patience, understanding and receiving the right help. This works the same with children who have suffered trauma. They stop in the midst of their developmental stages, they stop growing. During puberty is usually when many children rebel against any trauma committed against them at a young age. Through hypnosis, taking them to the place of pain (without them remembering) and changing their pattern of thinking, reintroducing life, at that stage, can make a world of difference in a child’s life.
Is PTSD a:
- disorder: to derange (to throw into disorder)the physical or mental health or function of an individual
- a psychic determination: a theory that a person’s psychological state arises from specific causes, or instinctual drives, conscious or unconscious
- the “product” of environmental factors: including but not limited to, maltreatment during their formative years of psychological growth, or trauma(s)
- an underdeveloped hippocampus: distorts intellectual properties of the brain function, directly affecting behavioral choices.
- an overload of traumatic stimuli: rape, gang rape, rape by instrument, kidnaping, war, the murder of a loved one, et cetera
Society likes to “label” others who are different, out of the norm. This type of thinking allows the conscious mind to keep them at arms length, without regret. It becomes a tool to excuse or dismiss “bad” behavior (especially during puberty). In actuality it gives us all an “out”, even the doctors. Once labeled, then comes the definition, followed by the “stigma” attached to the label. Once a label is released, it is then they can begin to see the sun-breaking through the fog. They can begin to come into their own, once again.
Why must we refer to an addict who has broken their addiction as a “recovering addict?” They are no longer recovering, they are no longer an addict. They may have weaknesses that could lead them to rediscover their drug of choice or alcohol that made them forget all their trauma(s) of the past.
The brain is the most powerful weapon on earth and yet we give it up so easily to those who promise “relief”. Take your power back, find the help that best suits your needs and, as they say, “lean into it”, like any goal, do not stop until you have completed…
WHEN A PERSON is living with PTSD, it is essential to get them out of the fog, bringing them back into reality. There are many ways to achieve this, hypnosis, relaxation, meditation, and learning to accept and love who you are. Most important is to forgive yourself for that which you had no control over. Feeling “stuck” in a world where, at times it seems only you exist, is not a way to live your life. There is hope for you, your family, your children. You CAN come back as a functional and healthy individual, carrying with you life-long lessons of how you survived, making you a stronger person. Through hypnosis, flashbacks will diminish and with that an understanding will grow, much like a newly planted seed, one that will rebuild a faith within you that were lost to traumatic interruptions of your life.
NOTE: Lifecyclejourneys.com has valuable information on the Cingulate Gyrus and trauma. These tests were done in a controlled lab environment and proved damage from the early stages of life have a profound effect on the function of this part of the brain we have discussed. This takes me back to my original assumption that PTSD can begin at a very young age, as with me when experiencing a kidnapping at age four.
ACCORDING TO Dr Shock MD PhD,
“The hippocampus in men and women differ significantly in their anatomical structure, their neurochemical make-up and their reactivity to stressful situtions. In women it is larger than in men when adjusted for total brain size. Sex influences the role of the hippocampus in learning and memory in animals. Whether and how sex influences hippo function in humans has not yet been systematically examined. Another hippo sex diference is the reaction to chronic stress. In both rats and monkeys chronic stress causes damage to the hippo in males, but does so far less, in females. This is [incapable of being influenced] regarding [,,,] hipo cells [and] chronic stress [which] has been suggested to have a role in two debilitating disorders-PTSD and clinical depression. Both disorders disproportionately affect women, but animal models for these disorders continue to use male subjects…”.
“Soldiers, stand forever strong as you face the unknown, your enemy also fears death, you are not alone. If, by chance death doth call, ending unfulfilled dreams, ne’er fear again all the faceless screams. Courage will come, when in the depths of despair, remain resolute, we are near, we care.. For those who love, believe and admire you, march on, march on before your duty is through. For when God calls, whether here or there, your heart will beat again, God’s light you’ll share… Do not fear wrath, from the ONE who adores you, my soldier, my protector, decidedly, I thank you…
Debbie Lucas, CERT LC,