Neuroplasticity and PTSD
Today I would like to delve deeper into the brain and look at what we currently know about trauma recovery, PTSD and brain changes.
The amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulated cortex are the areas of the brain where prior hyperarousal can predispose someone to PTSD after trauma. Both of these regions are involved in feeling and expressing fear, and both appear to be overactive in people with PTSD, even before they develop the condition.
The good news is that this can be changed because the brain changes and continues to change across our lives. Much research is being done about what methods, from yoga, breath practices, movement of all kinds, theatre, to various pharmaceuticals can be helpful in this process.
How early in life the hyper arousal begins, due to prior trauma appears to be a major factor in how in depth and how long the healing process requires. If infants and children miss the crucial bonding needs to develop a healthy nervous system due to neglect, abuse, and incest, then the healing process is longer, but not impossible.
In the words of Peter Levine from his recent book, In An Unspoken Voice, “Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence.” I love this. And, I have found this to be true in my two decades of experience in working with trauma survivors of all kinds.