29 Apr Brain Trauma Miniseries: Part 1
- What trauma does to your brain and body
- Why trauma becomes a vicious cycle
- Your body’s survival instinct
[The following is the full transcript of this video blog. Please note that this video, like all of Dr. Chiu’s blog videos, features Dr. Chiu speaking extemporaneously– he is unscripted for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!]
Hey, my friends, I’m Dr. Titus Chiu and this is the Modern Brain.
This is part one of a 3-part miniseries on brain trauma. Here, you’ll learn what trauma does to your brain, and why it turns into a vicious trauma cycle for many.
When is it still normal?
Whenever you experienced trauma, whether it’s physical, chemical, or emotional, your brain and nervous system go into a state of high alert.
That’s what’s known as the fight or flight response.
Those are all physical signs of an activated fight or flight response: your brain going into a state of RED ALERT.
The thing is, this is all normal.
It’s a normal physiological response that allows you to deal with whatever stressors come your way. And it’s actually useful because it helps you survive.
When should I get help?
If the trauma or the stress is beyond what your brain and nervous system can handle at the time, you can end up stuck in a state of crisis and survival mode.
What does that look like? Here are some of the things you can experience:
You might experience anxiety or bad sleep feeling jumpy and stressed all the time, maybe you’re more sensitive to sounds, lights or motion or even more emotionally sensitive.
What is the science behind these effects of trauma?
The reason why this happens because the more reactive states of your nervous system take over your brain.
Your brain is a beautiful, beautiful precious organ made up of many different parts.
You have the outer covering, which we call your neocortex, as well as some foundational structures. But when your brain goes into a state of high alert due to trauma or big stressors, then the more reactive parts of your nervous system take over.
These are your brainstem and you’re amygdala.
These areas of your nervous system are crucial and provide you with life-sustaining functions. They’re all about survival.
So when they take over, they constantly flood your brain and your body with high levels of stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol.
This puts you in a state of constant fight or flight. Some common effects of getting stuck in this state are:
- weakening your immune system,
- damage to your heart and blood vessels, and
- destruction to your digestive system.
These stress hormones also shut down your prefrontal cortex, the exact same part of your brain that’s critical to help you handle stress in the first place.
So when your prefrontal cortex goes south, and your brainstem and your amygdala become over-activated, then you get even more stress hormones that further shut down your prefrontal cortex and you end up in a vicious, vicious, chronic cycle of stress and the inability to process your emotions and heal from your trauma.
So you end up feeling stuck struggling with brain symptoms and in crisis mode — not a happy way to live at all.
Reset Your Brain!
The good news is when you can get to the root cause for your symptoms and your trauma, and you reset your brain.
There’s so much that can be done to heal your trauma at the source and reclaim your life.
We’ll be exploring these concepts and ideas in more detail.
I’ll be sharing with you some simple things that you can do to start caring for your brain in the next two videos of the series, as well as in the weeks and months to come.
If you like this video, subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’m constantly sharing tips and secrets to empower you to take control of your health so you can heal your brain and turn your life around.
My name is Dr. Titus Chiu, thanks so much for joining me. This has been The Modern Brain.