For the sake of having a dictionary definition: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological reaction that occurs after an extremely stressful event. Some of the common symptoms are recurring memories, anxiety, feeling afraid even in the absence of danger and/or nightmares.
Stress and Your Brain
Your brain has the ability to adapt and change over time. This is called neuroplasticity. In response to chronic stress, the brain can physically change its structure and function. Sometimes this is good, it's how the brain grows and develops. However, sometimes this can be a bad thing and can harm brain development.
There is a good type of Stress?
Moderate Stress, also known as Good Stress can enhance learning and memory. However, don't confuse it with High Levels of Stress, Bad Stress, which can impair learning and memory.
What is cortisol?
A hormone called cortisol can change the brain over time. Cortisol is a hormone released in stressful situations and is commonly called "the stress hormone."
What is the hippocampus?
The hippocampus is a part of the brain and it regulates memory and emotions. Under acute stress (long term stress), the hippocampus has been known to shrink. Once the hippocampus has shrunk, the person will have a decreased ability to manage memory and emotions.
Fancy some inspirational and/or relatable quotes?
"Simple little things like a song or smell can be a trigger.”—Selina Bonser
Full Quote: “PTSD: It's not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person. When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others.”— Unknown
“There is no timestamp on trauma. There isn't a formula that you can insert yourself into to get from horror to healed. Be patient. Take up space. Let your journey be the balm.”—Dawn Serrra
“PTSD nightmares aren't always exact replays of the event. Sometimes they replay the emotions you felt during the event, such as fear, helplessness, and sadness.”—Alice Cariv
“My past is an armour I cannot take off, no matter how many times you tell me the war is over.”—Unknown
“Trauma creates change you don’t choose healing creates change you do choose.”—Michele Rosenthal
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About the Author
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“Chronic Stress Can Damage Brain Structure and Connectivity.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-athletes-way/201402/chronic-stress-can-damage-brain-structure-and-connectivity.
“Psychometric Properties of the PTSD Checklist (PCL).” Behaviour Research and Therapy, Pergamon, 26 Feb. 1999, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0005796796000332.
“PTSD Quotes.” HealthyPlace, www.healthyplace.com/insight/quotes/ptsd-quotes.