When we experience trauma in our lives, we might begin to experience anxiety or PTSD afterward, but why does this happen? Is there a physical component to it, or is it all psychologically driven? Understanding what the limbic system is and what limbic trauma loops are can help answer these questions.
The Limbic System
Think of the limbic system as your body’s security system, made up of the most primitive parts of our brain that evolved to help us survive. The limbic system includes the amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and cingulate gyrus regions of the brain.
- The amygdala is the fear center of the brain and processes survival information and encodes emotional memory.
- The hypothalamus is the body’s health managing system, always trying to achieve equilibrium in the body and links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland.
- The hippocampus processes and stores information, assigning meaning and value to incoming information.
- The cingulate gyrus is involved with processing pain and perceived pain and mediates the body’s response to noxious stimuli.
How Trauma Loops Begin
Following a traumatic event (including physical, emotional, or sensory trauma,) naturally, our brains send out a stress response to the rest of our bodies in an attempt to defend us for survival. When the traumatic stressor is interpreted as extremely threatening, the neural networks in our limbic system can become impaired and overreactive to everyday stressors, keeping our bodies on high alert all of the time. With the trauma loop in place, our bodies create a hypersensitive response to any stimulus similar to the originating traumatic event. Survival becomes our brain’s primary focus, and other bodily functions fall to the wayside.
The trauma looping process of the brain misidentifying threatening stimuli can lead to chronic and inexplicable illness. Our thoughts and emotions, trusting these misinterpretations, emotionally charge these stimuli, resulting in anxiety, PTSD, or depression, which then further reinforces this trauma loop. The reactions you experience are not “all in your head” but are due to your limbic system’s impairment misidentifying stimuli as threatening.
Seeking professional help for trauma can help physically and emotionally free you from the past. By ending the cycle of trauma loops in your limbic system, you can find relief from constant anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mysterious illnesses. Although not an easy task, addressing underlying trauma will help get you back to living a life of joy, happiness, and freedom. Avalon Malibu is one of the only residential treatment centers in California that treats both mental health disorders and substance use addiction. At Avalon, we offer a continuum of high-quality, integrated care that meets the many needs of our patients. Contact us as soon as you are ready to begin your recovery at (844) 857-5992.