Brain imaging techniques have proven that individuals with PTSD have markedly different brain patterns compared to individuals who are mentally healthy. This proves that the symptoms seen in affected individuals have a physical basis, moving us one step closer to figuring out a treatment plan.
The amygdala acts with alarm when individuals with PTSD are exposed to triggering sounds, images, or thoughts.
The amygdala is the part of the brain that informs us of impending danger. When the amygdala is activated, stress hormones are released, and blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen intake is increased.
Broca’s area goes offline whenever a flashback is triggered.
Broca’s area is one of the speech centers in the brain. When it is offline, you are not capable of communicating your thoughts and emotions in words. This means that individuals with PTSD will not be able to verbally communicate during a flashback. Additionally, individuals with PTSD are not able to capture the truth of their traumatic experience in words.
The right side of the brain (intuitive, emotional, visual, spatial, and tactual) takes control, while the left side (linguistic, sequential, and analytical) deactivates.
This results in individuals with PTSD having a diminished capacity to identify cause and effect, understand long-term effects/consequences, or create a coherent plan for the future.