From ref957 — Flaws in Human Mentality
Human decisions are made by a partly conscious but largely unconscious process.
Information entering the brain from the senses, and information stored in memory, interact with that person’s deeply held beliefs and values. The person’s senses and memories provide the information that is processed.
The result of that processing is behavior — a decision to do this, that, or perhaps nothing.
The details are extremely complex and not completely understood, but the diagram below conveys the basic idea.
Fig 263 From ref957
This evolution designed brain/mind system creates for each person a mental model of reality that contains some serious distortions and outright lies.
Reactive Emotions — Reactive emotions and emotion-driven actions helped early humans to survive and reproduce in primitive circumstances.
Today, however, strong human emotions distort a person’s sense of relative importance and often lead to inappropriate behavior.
Personhood and Identity — We have also been misled about personhood and identity.
When under threat in primitive circumstances, the illusion of being an independent person increased the likelihood of personal and species survival. So it made evolutionary sense to consider oneself an independent person.
In reality, however, humans are not separate independent.
Mental Blind Spots
Human beings lie to themselves in a variety of ways.
Psychologists use the terms denial, rationalization, projection, and repression to identify various forms of the phenomenon. Whatever the mechanism, the result is a mental blind spot. The individual fails to see some truth about him or herself.
Similarly, human cultures and entire nation-states have blind spots concerning historical realities and current practices that they would rather not acknowledge.
Other Distortions of Reality —
- People find it difficult to internalize the reality of their own eventual death.
- They have difficulty conceptualizing magnitudes that are vastly different from those they deal with in everyday life. They can’t intuitively grasp the very large or the very small.
- They notice sudden changes, but not gradual changes.
- Humans tend to oversimplify causation. They pick out some dominant element in a situation and call it “The Cause,” when in fact there are myriad necessary elements — an entire causal matrix.
Belief and Value Problems
Each human’s inner life and outer behavior is the joint product of nature and nurture — genes on the one hand and life experience on the other.
Each person arrives on Earth with a set of genetically determined potentials, some of which are common to all and some of which differ from person to person. All babies drink, cry, sleep, and wet their diapers. But some babies sleep their first month away while others cry it away. Some startle easily — some don’t ………
On the nurture side, it is society’s job to take this raw malleable humanness, this watchful, wilful, bundle of potentials, and develop some of them into functioning actualities.
If one set of potentials gets developed, — you get one kind of person and one expression of “human nature.”
When another set develops — you get a different person and a different human nature.
It is the matrix of influences in each person’s life that determines which innate potentials develop into actualities and which do not.
See also — ref 459 — Positive and Negative Traits
From ref 644 — Most unfortunate design flaws in the human
The human body is, in many respects, a resounding tribute to the adaptive powers of natural selection.
We’ve evolved gloriously large, complex brains capable of abstract thought and foresight.
We’re bipedal, dextrous, and enjoy relatively long lives (lives that include a fairly generous fertility window), to list a few of the qualities that have allowed us to propagate and thrive across the planet.
But that doesn’t mean we’re perfect. Far from it, in fact.
Not only did evolution create a species that’s “good enough,” — it also produced some distinctly negative traits.
These are both examples of the various trade-offs and side-effects of evolution.
The Dual Function of the Pharynx – cone-shaped passageway leading from the oral and nasal cavities in the head to the esophagus and larynx)
Like many other primates, we’re forced to use the same anatomical structure for both ingestion and respiration.
But when obstructed, airflow is blocked, which can lead to choking, and in some cases — death!
Our Inability to Biosynthesize Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a crucial role as an anti-oxidant and in collagen synthesis.
But certain animals, such as primates, guinea pigs, and some bats and birds, have completely lost the ability to synthesize this compound.
So, when Vitamin C-rich food sources are scarce, such as fruits, we experience a weakened immune response
The Awkward Wiring of the Male Urinary Tract
The urinary tract in males passes through — rather than being routed around — the prostate gland, which can swell and block urinary function. (Comment — warns about cancer)
The Close Proximity of our Genitals to our Rectum
Our Multi-Function Genitals
The Extremely Narrow Human Birth Canal
This is a consequence of our quick evolutionary leap from quadrupeds to bipeds, resulting in our narrow pelvis.
Our Over-Loaded Lower Backs
This is also a consequence of our transition from four-legged to two-legged creatures.
If you take care of it, your spine will get you through to about 40 or 50 — After that, you’re on your own.
However, it leaves our hands free !
Our Achy Knees
We have to distribute all our weight on just two limbs, which often leads to aches and pains. You can also add achy, or arthritic hips, to this list.
The Overly Complicated Human Foot
Our feet have so many bones because our ape-like ancestors needed flexible feet to grasp branches.
A better design for upright walking and running, One reason is that ostriches trace their upright locomotion back 230 million years to the age of dinosaurs, while our ancestors walked upright just 5 million years ago.
Our Inefficient Sinuses
Humans have several sinuses — air-filled cavities that help with drainage of mucus and fluid.
But our maxillary sinuses, located on our cheekbone, drain upwards. This often leads to the build-up of fluids and mucus, which can cause an infection.
The “Blind Spot” in Our Eyes
Our so-called “blind spot” is the result of a quirk that happens during embryological development. To deal with this, we’ve had to evolve elaborate and costly perception-correcting mechanisms
A Single Set of Adult Teeth
This is where evolution got unreasonably cheap on us, providing humans with just one set of teeth for our entire adult lives. Once we hit 35, our teeth start to go — one of many signs that evolution primed us for reproduction.
Our fondness for sweet, salty, and fatty foods
Our bodies need sugar, salt, and fat — but just not in extreme quantities.
But in a state of nature, these foods are often scarce or difficult to preserve. That’s why we find these food unreasonably delicious and irresistible.
But most of us now live in a world of tremendous abundance, and we consume these foods in ridiculous quantities, leading to all sorts of modern health problems.
From Ref 961 — Flaws in Human Nature
Faith — We tend to be more drawn to beliefs rather than facts. We can easily believe in something without the means necessary to know it’s real, i.e without making research. And, thus, we are easily fallen into blind belief and living in complete illusions or half-truths.
Passions — We can easily be the slaves of our own desires, thus being able to be manipulated, deceived and lose our freedoms just because of this inner burning inside of us which its fulfilment make us feel good.
Egos — The more we pat our egos, the more limited we become in our perception of the world around us, and when we see that someone or something is better than us — instead of learning from it to be better, we can easily get jealous and become depressed because we realize that we are not the number one at something.
Emotional Dependence — Our need for attachment can exist as a double-edged sword. Because of this need we can easily trust and be attached to someone else, to the point they may have control over us in which we are not aware of, and so we are deceived by our illusions of safety and, sometimes, autonomy, while in the reality we are enslaved by a higher, yet hidden, authority.
Thirst For Power — While power is necessary for the general order of the social construct, it is easy to be addicted to such concept many of us see as success.
As we climb up the ladder, we are introduced to a new drug that eventually may defeat our conscience and make us addicted.
This is called corruption, and sadly it is not rare in our world to have people defying their sense of justice over the good feeling of having authority, wealth and social luxury.
Addictions — The human nature is built in a way it can be easily addicted to certain substances, habits and people.
The more addicted we are, the less control we have on our lives, as we give way to the source of addiction to satisfy us while in practice it can cause harm to ourselves and at times to others.
Lack of Awareness — Many of us can easily forget the general picture we are set in, and therefore we might cause problems and making mistakes that could easily be prevented if we just waited a little before making action and thinking the best we can about the various consequences our actions may lead to.
Emotional Drainage — (I have changed the answer to this)
From ref 189 — Forget about setting goals
For most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. At least, this is how I approached my life until recently. I would set goals for classes I took, for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym, and for clients I wanted in my business.
What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.
It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems/processes.
Goals reduce your current composure
When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.”
The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.”
Choosing a goal puts a huge burden on your shoulders
Solution — Commit to a process, not a goal.
Goals are strangely at odds with long-term progress.
You might think your goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but that’s not always true.
What is left to push you forward after you achieve it?
This can create a type of “yo-yo effect” where people go back and forth from working on a goal to not working on one. This type of cycle makes it difficult to build upon your progress for the long-term.
Solution — Release the need for immediate results.
Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.
You can’t predict the future. (I know, shocking.)
But every time we set a goal, we try to do it. We try to plan out where we will be and when we will make it there.
We try to predict how quickly we can make progress, even though we have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way.
Solution — Build feedback loops.
Feedback loops are important for building good systems because they allow you to keep track of many different pieces without feeling the pressure to predict what is going to happen with everything. Forget about predicting the future and build a system that can signal when you need to make adjustments.
None of this is to say that goals are useless. However, I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.
Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win.
Having a system is what matters.
Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
Limbic System injuries and remedies
From ref 337 — How Limbic System Neural Rehabilitation Works
Unfortunately, the fight-or-flight response can become locked in the on position after an initial physical or emotional trauma or set of traumas. The trauma(s) now recorded in the neural circuits in the nervous system can reduce and even prevent normal functioning of other systems of the body, including the immune, endocrine, and digestive systems (ie. all systems). The dysfunction will continue so long as the faulty circuitry is not rewired
From ref 324 The Limbic System depression understood
In depression, when the limbic system is pushed beyond its limits, the system goes into malfunction and much the same way as a leg will break if it has been damaged enough the system becomes fractured.
Neurotransmitters are subsequently greatly reduced which results in the system failing and the appearance of depression symptoms such as poor concentration, appetite changes, loss of energy, confidence and enjoyment in life.
From ref344 — Limbic system repair (Not a mainstream source but imaginative and informative)
There is a powerful way to re-program your brain that has been largely overlooked. A way to change your relationship with eating, sleep, sex and basic emotions like fear, love and aggression. While cognitive therapies can modify behavior, they are of questionable help in altering these basic drives.
You can attempt to change your behavior by conscious determination and cognitive therapies. But most attempts at intentional change are temporary and are doomed to fail in the long term because they are strongly resisted by powerful homeostatic processes encoded in our limbic brain.
You can think of the massive cortex as merely an elaborate pattern recognition system wrapped around the limbic brain. The cortex’s pattern recognition system has evolved to improve the quality of information being fed to the tiny thermostatic hypothalamus and amygdala. While the cortex gives us a huge advantage over other animals in analyzing our environment, we seem not to exert much real control over basic drives like eating and sleeping. Despite the evolutionary achievement of “rationality”, we humans remain to a large extent at the mercy of our basic animal drives and emotions.
“Things are not so bleak”
Located at the center of the brain, perched atop the brainstem, the limbic system includes not only the hypothalamus and amygdala, but other structures such as the hippocampus, cingulate gyrus, pituitary gland.
But particularly note that the amygdala is connected tightly by numerous nerve bundles to the hypothalamus. The amygdala acts directly on the hypothalamus to control hypothalamic drives, and conversely, the hypothalamus “uses” the amygdala (and to some extent the septum) as a window on the world to satisfy its drives by selectively searching out appropriate foods, potential mates, and sleep and exercise opportunities.
1. The hypothalamus is purely reactive. The hypothalamus regulates drives, but is almost totally “blind” to the outside world. It is inwardly focused and responds reflexively. It has no memory and acts “in the moment”. According to Joseph, the hypothalamus is the physical embodiment of the Freudian id:
2. The hypothalamus operates through a hierarchy of channels. The hypothalamus receives information about the state of the organism, and in turn sends “commands”, through three main channels —
• The bloodstream. Many signals are exchanged through the relatively porous blood-brain barrier. For example, as discussed in my previous post on obesity, the hypothalamus receives and integrates a range of signals about short term nutrient status (glucose and fatty acids), gut signals (ghrelin, PYY and CCK) and longer term energy storage (hormones like insulin, glucagon, leptin and adiponectin). The blood also carries similar signals regarding body temperature, wakefulness and sleep, and state of readiness for action. And the hypothalamus activates the section of neuroendocrine activators via other glands like the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands.
• Nerve fibers –“afferents” and “efferents”. Certain communication is done via nerve fibers. For example, appetite cues are provided from the nose via the olfactory bulb and from the gut via the vagus nerve. Body temperature cues are provided from remote thermoreceptors. The sleep-wake cycle is calibrated by neural inputs from the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which responds to dark and light cycles. And conversely, the hypothalamus uses efferent nerves to remotely regulate adrenal glands and digestive organs.
• Higher order inputs. The above chemical and neural inputs can be modulated or overridden by “emotional” interpretation of perceptual and cognitive inputs. This is is where the amygdala comes in.
3. The amygdala is the “handmaiden” of the hypothalamus. It serves as the emotional eyes and ears for the hypothalamus by translating the input of the senses and the great pattern recognition capability of the higher cortex into emotional responses that feed into the hypothalamus. Going beyond the undifferentiated, spur-of-the moment emotional drives of the hypothalamus, the amygdala provides a highly selective response to specific and often complex sensory stimuli.
From ref 675 — Trauma limbic system
Trauma that is so pervasive and severe can cause extensive damage to young people to the extent that it can literally change their physiology. These are often categorised as ‘Adverse Childhood experiences’.
Verbal abuse of young children can often result in intrinsic abuse that in turn releases harmful chemicals into the brain. This is turn can often result in a lack of growth in the part of their brain that tells good from bad, controls impulse control and a heck of a lot more; known as the Prefrontal Cortex.
For example if a child witnesses domestic violence or any act resulting in trauma, their brain goes into a high state of alert which cannot always be verbalised. This means that often they replay the trauma over and over again and actually feels the same physical effects.
Our bodies have a stress response system that governs our ‘fight or flight response’. If we are under threat our stress response system will often send messages to our adrenal gland (responsible for the production of adrenaline) which in turn releases stress hormones into the body. This effectively arms our body for combat – making our hearts beat quicker, airways open up and our pupils dilate. This happens to most of us when we are under threat and need to defend ourselves. And I’m sure you will agree that this is quite a handy defence system to have. Especially if we were under attack from another person. The issue for young people affected by trauma is that their bodies are constantly in this state of alert. And so a preventative and safety state actually becomes a problem.
The most significant neurological impact of trauma is seen in the hippocampus. PTSD patients show a considerable reduction in the volume of the hippocampus. This region of the brain is responsible for memory functions. It helps an individual to record new memories and retrieve them later in response to specific and relevant environmental stimuli. The hippocampus also helps us distinguish between past and present memories.
PTSD patients with reduced hippocampal volumes lose the ability to discriminate between past and present experiences or interpret environmental contexts correctly. Their particular neural mechanisms trigger extreme stress responses when confronted with environmental situations that only remotely resemble something from their traumatic past.
Effect of trauma on the amygdala
Trauma appears to increase activity in the amygdala. This region of the brain helps us process emotions and is also linked to fear responses. PTSD patients exhibit hyperactivity in the amygdala in response to stimuli that are somehow connected to their traumatic experiences. They exhibit anxiety, panic, and extreme stress when they are shown photographs or presented with narratives of trauma victims whose experiences match theirs; or made to listen to sounds or words related to their traumatic encounters.
What is interesting is that the amygdala in PTSD patients may be so hyperactive that these people exhibit fear and stress responses even when they are confronted with stimuli not associated with their trauma, such as when they are simply shown photographs of people exhibiting fear.
The hippocampus, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala complete the neural circuitry of stress. The hippocampus facilitates appropriate responses to environmental stimuli, so the amygdala does not go into stress mode. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex regulates emotional responses by controlling the functions of the amygdala. It is thus not surprising that when the hypoactive hippocampus and the functionally-challenged ventromedial prefrontal cortex stop pulling the chains, the amygdala gets into a tizzy.
Hyperactivity of the amygdala is positively related to the severity of PTSD symptoms. The aforementioned developments explain the tell-tale signs of PTSD—startle responses to the most harmless of stimuli and frequent flashbacks or intrusive recollections.
From ref 668 — limbic-system-injury
Besides the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala, there are other areas in the structures near to the limbic system that are intimately connected to it —
• The cingulate gyrus is the part of the cerebrum that lies closest to the limbic system, just above the corpus collosum. It provides a pathway from the thalamus to the hippocampus, seems to be responsible for focusing attention on emotionally significant events, and for associating memories to smells and to pain.
• The ventral tegmental area of the brain stem (just below the thalamus) consists of dopamine pathways that seem to be responsible for pleasure. People with damage here tend to have difficulty getting pleasure in life, and often turn to alcohol, drugs, sweets, and gambling.
• The basal ganglia (including the caudate nucleus, the putamen, the globus pallidus, and the substantia nigra) lie over and to the sides of the limbic system, and are tightly connected with the cortex above them. They are responsible for repetitive behaviors, reward experiences, and focusing attention.
• The prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the frontal lobe which lies in front of the motor area, is also closely linked to the limbic system. Besides apparently being involved in thinking about the future, making plans, and taking action, it also appears to be involved in the same dopamine pathways as the ventral tegmental area, and plays a part in pleasure and addiction.
Limbic system Functions
The limbic system in our brains serves as an organizer of information presented from sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. In fact, all of the information presented to the brain either sensory, imaginative, verbal, motor, invisible (electromagnetic, trace chemicals, etc.), internal from hormones, chemicals, etc. and external is processed at some point through the limbic system. It is a pathway between the thinking and acting part of your brain (cortex) and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus in turn regulates water balance, hunger, thirst, body temperature, circadian rhythms, and hormone production by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland in turn influences the thyroid, adrenal, testes and ovaries. One can describe it as a communications network between that which is automatic (unconscious or autonomic) and that which becomes physical or emotional behavior.
An injury to the limbic system might cause an abnormal communication of information to higher centers and cause an inappropriate response.
The limbic system can be injured by trauma such as a fall, auto accident, an object striking the head, concussion, etc —
• It may also be injured by a transient lack of oxygen that might occur during surgery, a stroke, overexertion at high altitude, a seizure, childbirth, etc.
• The limbic system may also be injured during an infection either in the brain or near the brain such as meningitis, encephalitis, a severe ear or deep sinus infection, etc.
• It can be surprising the number of possible initiating or exacerbating events identified with a careful review of your own delivery, childhood, adult life, etc.
• Many may have seemed minor at the time and taken for granted. Stress, lack of sleep, intake of certain foods, and weather changes seem to make the limbic system more susceptible to improper functioning. Because the nose allows chemicals to enter the brain directly (olfactory center), chemical sensitivity can develop through a process described as “kindling” and cause the limbic system to send messages making you feel ill. Very low levels of chemicals can thus influence the way we feel.
Symptoms may include —
• Disturbance of auditory sensation and perception.
• Disturbance of selective attention of auditory and visual input.
• Disorders of visual perception.
• Impaired organization and categorization of verbal material.
• Disturbance of language comprehension.
• Impaired long-term memory.
• Altered personality and affective behavior.
• Altered sexual behavior.
• Gastrointestinal disorders.
• Being overly emotional.
• Poor sleep.
From ref334 — How Limbic System Hypersensitivity Occurs and Its Effects
If the limbic system becomes too sensitive and begins to react to stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body, the result is inappropriate activation of the ANS, endocrine system and immune system that it is proposed results in the bodily dysfunction and multitude of varied symptoms seen in invisible illnesses8.
Limbic system hypersensitivity (or “kindling” in medical terminology) can result from exposure of neurons of the limbic system to any chemical or electrical stimuli, either chronically or as a single acute exposure8.
Many people suffering from invisible illnesses report that their illness was preceded by events including toxic chemical exposures (e.g. pesticides), viral infection, physical trauma, electromagnetic radiation (living near high voltage power lines or cell towers) and prolonged or severe psychological distress (e.g. stressful job, emotional abuse). All of these and more have the potential to trigger limbic system hypersensitivity and initiate a cascade of physiological changes in the body that result in a downward spiral into chronic suffering with invisible illnesses.
Since the limbic system is tasked with maintaining homeostasis within the body, if it is being inappropriately activated on a chronic basis the effects are disasterous for the individual affected. The “sustained arousal” associated with limbic system hypersensitivity explains why people with invisible illnesses are so often sensitive to so many things from light, sound and gentle touch, through to environmental chemicals, foods, drugs/nutritional supplements and even electromagnetic radiation given off by electronic appliances and gadgets.
Luckily the field of neuroscience has made some groundbreaking discoveries over the past decade or so that provide an opportunity to tackle invisible illnesses at their root – limbic hypersensitivity. Through neuroplasticity, brain retraining programs aim to restore a normal level of sensitivity to the limbic system and thus eliminate the myriad symptoms and illnesses that hypersensitivity can generate.
From ref341 — Limbic system retraining
Go to “For nearly two years, I had … ”
In our brain we have toxin receptors, called xenosensors. Toxins of all kinds; pesticides, cologne, laundry soap, bacteria, lyme, yeast, heavy metals, etc. are able to cross the blood brain barrier, which then triggers these receptors. These receptors have one of two roles. One, they trigger the locus ceruleus in the brain stem that a threat exists (the toxin) and the locus ceruleus releases norepinephrine to ignite the fight/flight system otherwise known as the sympathetic nervous system. Norepinephrine is an excitatory neurotransmitter and although crucial for survival, it is toxic to the brain in excess.
Once norepinephrine is released, then it stimulates the amygdala into action, which triggers emotions like fear, anxiety or anger, and the hypothalamus which triggers the pituitary to release ACTH to stimulate the adrenal glands to release cortisol and then preganglion sympathetic neurons stimulate the adrenal medulla to release epinephrine.
It is the locus ceruleus that sets off the stress response system. The amygdala fires off in response to messages from the locus ceruleus via norepinephrine.
This is called the stress response system and it is activated anytime we are under stress of any kind. Environmental toxins are one kind of stress that we are all exposed to on a daily basis, this is called toxic stress. The more toxins you are exposed to, the more often your sympathetic nervous system is called into action.
Once we escaped the tiger, then the fight or flight system would return to its normal pre-stress state, known as the parasympathetic state. Now, in our modern day life we don’t typically face any “real” tigers while walking down the street, however we are surrounded by many different types of “tigers” like pesticides, heavy metals, air pollution, poor diet, cell towers, financial difficulties, working two jobs, traffic jams, raising a family etc.
These are all types of stress that trigger our stress response system.
When the sympathetic nervous system is dominant, ie we are in fight or flight mode, digestion and circulation are impaired, pupils dilate, blood pressure and heart rate rise, cognitive abilities and memory may be impaired, we are hyper alert and given a boost of energy, blood sugar rises, hormones are disrupted, sleep and the detoxification system are impaired, there’s a decline in immune function, neurotransmitters are used up, all of our senses, (particularly our sense of smell, taste and sound) are heightened and there are high levels of fear and anxiety.
All of this occurs so that we are capable of coping with the threat or stressor at hand. The sole purpose of the fight or flight system is to prepare our body for a violent confrontation or to run.
Once the threat (stressor or toxin) is over, then the parasympathetic nervous system restores the body to normal. Heart rate, digestion, circulation, blood pressure, senses etc. are restored to normal. We are in a state of rest and relaxation. The body prefers to be in the parasympathetic state. It is our normal state.
When we are consistently in the sympathetic state, this puts excessive stress on the adrenal glands. At first this causes high levels of cortisol and if this continues for a long period of time, then eventually cortisol levels become depleted and can no longer meet the demands of stress. Cortisol is critical in supporting the body during times of stress. If you don’t have sufficient levels of cortisol, then you aren’t going to be coping well with stress. This is when adrenal fatigue develops.
Even when we remove ourselves from the toxin or stressor, our autonomic nervous system continues to believe that smaller and smaller levels of toxins and stress are “a threat to our survival.” When the brain thinks there is a “threat to survival” then it remains in the sympathetic fight or flight state.
From ref1063 — ANS dis-function
The sympathetic state is degenerative when we remain in it for a prolonged period of time because it breaks us down
From ref1064 — Neurotransmitters and your health
When you are under stress of any kind, be it toxic stress or emotional stress, neurotransmitters in the frontal lobes of the brain like dopamine, serotonin, GABA, endorphins/enkephalins, endocannabinoids histamine are released to modulate the stress response system. Each of these neurotransmitters oppose norepinephrine and therefore turn off the fight or flight system. If there are not adequate neurotransmitters in the brain, then the fight or flight system will not be modulated properly. The sympathetic nervous system will remain dominant — ref1064
Neurotransmitters cannot be formed if there is not sufficient meat protein in the diet to provide the essential amino acids and fatty acids needed for formation. Neurotransmitters also cannot be formed or function adequately if the body is lacking in crucial minerals like iron and magnesium and vitamins like B6 and pantethine.
Certain foods like sugar, caffeine, wheat and other grains, food additives and preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavorings all trigger the sympathetic nervous system and deplete neurotransmitters.
The author continues to detail and review re-training programs — very important.
Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS) is a Limbic System Neural rehabilitation protocol developed by Annie Hopper, an expert in limbic system related illnesses.–ref 337 — limbic-system-neuro-rehabilitation
From ref 325 — Healing your limbic-system – helping depression
Depression is primarily a result of poor communication between the brain’s thinking prefrontal cortex and limbic system. Together, they make up the fronto-limbic system, which regulates your emotional state. When not functioning optimally, depression can result.
Anxiety and the Amygdala
The amygdala primarily mediates anxiety and fear. Studies have shown that people with depression have higher amygdala reactivity and their amygdala stays active longer than people without depression. This means that a depressed brain reacts stronger and fixates longer on emotionally charged information making it harder to remain calm (harder to remain calm and rational). A calmer amygdala means a calmer, happier you.
Memory and the Hippocampus
The primary job of the hippocampus is to turn short-term memories into long-term ones. It’s like your brain’s “save” button. A depressed brain often can’t recall happy memories but doesn’t have any trouble remembering every little detail of the bad stuff, which can be blamed on the hippocampus. In depression, research has found that the hippocampus tends to have abnormal activity and reduced size.
Attention and the Cingulate Cortex
Difficulty concentrating and hyper-focusing on the negative, both symptoms of depression, are controlled by the cingulate cortex. The front, the anterior cingulate cortex, acts as a gateway between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex, playing a big role in depression. The anterior cingulate cortex notices all of your mistakes, dwells on everything that’s wrong, and is a central part of the pain circuit. Alex Korb likens it to the screen on your computer. Even though there’s lots of data on your computer, the screen shows only the open tab, impacting what you do and how you feel.
From ref 480 — EMDR and Limbic Trauma
Trauma may be stuck in your brain’s limbic system, also known as “the emotional brain.” But thanks to a unique form of therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), you can get it unstuck.
Here’s how all of this connects:
First, let’s talk about the limbic system. Here are its main components, along with basic descriptions of their roles in regulating emotions, as summarized by Jeffrey Walsh at Khan Academy —
• Thalamus: A “relay station” of sorts for sensory input, which passes through the thalamus before being directed to other parts of the brain.
• Amygdala: Governs things like fear, anxiety, anger, and violence; sometimes referred to as the aggression center.
• Hippocampus: Helps create short-term memories and turn them into long-term memories.
• Hypothalamus: Regulates the autonomic nervous system by releasing hormones like adrenaline; this is where the fight/flight response originates.
Now, the limbic system is a complex animal with other roles to play, but you can probably see why people call it the emotional brain. Your senses, behaviors, memories, and hormones – all closely tied to emotion – are processed here.
Trauma routes directly to the limbic system. Thus, mental healing is blocked if trauma is poorly processed. Furthermore, long-term emotional distress (and often physical pain) are triggered by the events of everyday life. In addition, unresolved trauma often manifests in these disorders —
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (both single-event and complex forms)
• Test/performance anxiety
• General anxiety/depression
• Panic attacks
• Eating disorders
• Chronic physical pain
Francine Shapiro, developer of EMDR and founder of The EMDR Institute, connects the dots to EMDR on The EMDR Institute’s website:
“EMDR therapy facilitates the accessing of the traumatic memory network so that information processing is enhanced, with new associations forged between the traumatic memory and more adaptive memories or information. These new associations are thought to result in complete information processing, new learning, elimination of emotional distress, and development of cognitive insights.”
To simplify, let’s look at how EMDR therapy operates both on the outside and on the inside.
On the outside, the EMDR therapist 1) guides the client through brief episodes of recalling distress, and 2) simultaneously introduces new sensory input in the form of bilateral stimulation. This input usually involves rhythmic eye movements (thus EMDR’s name), but it can also be tactile (tapping the hand) or auditory (making sounds).
So, what’s happening on the inside? The limbic system is gaining new sensory information and new associations that allow it to process and/or replace the trauma and undo the blockage. Moreover, you might call it a clever trick that takes advantage of how the emotional brain receives and handles data.
Whatever you call it, research shows EMDR to be highly effective and often really fast. Some single-event trauma victims find relief in as few as three 90-minute sessions.