Fear and Long-Term Stress Shrinks Your Brain

What is Fear?

Fear is a human emotion that is triggered by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that signals our bodies to respond to danger with a fight or flight response. As such, it is an essential part of keeping us safe.

However, it is important to note that when we live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in our environment or threats we perceive, we can become incapacitated.

The Brain Is Plastic

When we say the brain is plastic it does not mean that the brain is literally made of plastic. Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is a term that refers to the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. Now this is very good in terms of our brain to adapting to different environments. But what if we were constantly experiencing trauma or exposed to prolonged fear. How would our brain adapt?  

Neuro refers to neurons, the nerve cells that are the building blocks of the brain and nervous system, and plasticity refers to the brain’s malleability. We could think of brain plasticity in two ways, the ability to adapt and strive in an ever changing environment or our brain’s inability to adapt to an environment that is stressful. There is so much that the brain can endure but what does it mean when the brain no longer has the capacity or the capability to adapt.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental condition that requires treatment.

PTSD once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. Families of victims can also develop PTSD, as can emergency personnel and rescue workers.

Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common, and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred.

Are there any implications of fear and long-term stress?

What happens when we are in a constant state of fight-or-flight?

THE BRAIN SHRINKS IN A CONSTANT STATE OF FLIGHT-OR- FLIGHT RESPONSE

Mental Disorders like PTSD, persons who experience terrible situations for long periods of time. What they experience can change their brain. So brain plasticity can go two different directions here first the brain can grow so that it’s nice and fluffy and strong or it can shrink it down. So, what does PTSD do to the brain? It shrinks the size of the temporal lobe and increase the size of the amygdala structure that is processing fear information.

It also shrinks the size of a key brain area the hippocampus, which is critical for long-term memory. The hippocampus has been more recently implicated in creativity and imagination. Because what imagination is, is taking those things you have in your memory and putting them together in a new way. So just in the way that the hippocampus allows us to think about the past and memory, it also allows us to imagine the future.

Long-term stress literally kills the cells in your hippocampus that contribute to the deterioration of your memory. Also, zapping your creativity. 

Awesome Psychological Facts

1.The left side of your face is more expressive than the right.

2. The right side of your brain is more closely related to emotional processingand the left side, to languages.

3. When a person turns 60, it’s safe to say they’ve spent about 20 years sleeping.

4. Nature produces women by default, i.e. automatically. It isn’t until male hormones come into play that the fetus develops male characteristics.

5. There is a gene (the CLOCK gene) that is different in early risers and night owls. So, apparently it’s not simply an issue of preference, but it seems that we have different genetic predispositions to be more active during the day or night.

6. Pheromones do affect our sexuality. Thus, different effects have been observed in mammals:

  • Lee–Boot Effect: consists of a punctual slowing or disappearance of estrous cycle (the menstrual cycle in animals) when living together.
  • Whitten Effect: women’s menstrual cycles are synchronized when they are very close for a continuous periodof time. That is, if you live with a woman or spend much time with one, it’s likely that your ovulation will occur almost simultaneously.
  • Vandenberg Effect: puberty or adolescence is brought on sooner when females live with males.

7. There’s a disease called fatal familial insomnia. It’s hereditary and people who suffer from it can, suddenly, no longer fall asleep. They typically die between 7 and 24 months after the onset of the disorder.

8. We don’t learn while we sleep. Not even unconsciously, contrary to popular belief. Sleep serves as a recovery period for the body.

9. We have all suffered hallucinations at some point or are susceptible to them. For example, in conditions of sensory deprivation (like when we are driving on monotonous road, faced with an intense silence and we seem to hear a voice.) In addition, we may find that upon waking, we seem to perceive a sound that hasn’t previously existed (hypnopompic hallucinations,) or that something has happened, right as you begin to fall sleep (hypnagogic hallucinations.)

10. Seeing faces or shapes in the clouds or in fire has a name: pareidolia. This phenomenon responds to the human tendency to organize stimuli that makes sense of what you see. In fact, there’s a theory that argues that humans acquired the ability to distinguish faces between the leaves and fend off predators.

11. Child dementia is real and it’s associated with diseases such as childhood schizophrenia and other organic degenerative pathologies. These begin at the very early stages of life, imposing a barrier on these children’s proper development, and probably causing an irretrievable loss, as well as blow to the child and their environment.

12. Freud was addicted to cocaine and prescribed it to all of his relatives, friendsand patients.

13. It seems that disorders such as schizophrenia occur less frequently in people living in rural areas than in people living in cities. It seems that stress has something to do with it…

14. Depression affects women more deeply. It could be because, socially, an increased expression of emotions in women is permitted, or because there is some kind of genetic association to female chromosomes with this condition. Or, becauseother problems, such as alcoholism and addictions mask men’s depression. (It would seem that, in populations where alcohol is not allowed, like the Amish, the tendency is to have equal levels of depression in men and women.)

15. The most depressing season is winter, and it’s believed to be due to the lower exposure to sunlight.

16. However, summer is the season that produces the most manic states. Nonetheless, this point and the former appear to be less evident depending on the latitude where people are located. So, the closer people are to the equator, the less they suffer from these types of problems.

17. It’s possible that, while sleeping, we experience something called a micro-arousal, in which we change posture.

18. The weight of an adult brain usually varies between 1200 to 1400 grams.

19. After 30 years, our brain gradually begins to lose mass. This may partially explain the reason behind our memory failing us, over time.

How To Cope With Psychotic Symptoms!

Are you experiencing hallucinations and having trouble coping?

Dealing with mental illness is very difficult especially if you were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Finding the right way to cope apart from medication, learning ways to cope is very important.

So today someone asked. What was the best way to cope with psychotic symptoms aside from medication and psychotherapy? Please note Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that should be treated by a Licensed Psychiatrist for medication purposes and a Clinical psychologist with psychotherapy. I was most willing to provide the tips below to help anyone who experiences psychotic symptoms. The list is not intended for those with substance induce psychosis.

Psychotic symptoms such as visual hallucinations and auditory hallucinations, although visual hallucinations are not as common as auditory are mostly experienced by persons with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia symptoms range from positive to negative symptoms among others. There are other mental disorders that experience hallucinations as well.

Schizophrenia

There are other psychiatric illnesses that also experience hallucinations

Bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD), schizoaffective disorder and post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Hallucinations can be terrifying for those experiencing them.

Coping with psychotic symptoms is very difficult. It can be terrifying and hard to cope when you lose touch with reality. Hallucinations may come in the form of ghosts and spirits and causes a great deal of anxiety.

Here are some tips to cope with psychotic symptoms.

Tips for Coping with Psychotic Symptoms

  1. Coping with psychotic symptoms starts with prevention.

Take your medication as directed without fail. You can write down reminders or set an alarm on your phone, but it is crucial to take your medication (How to Stay on Psych Medications). Also, avoid stress, drugs, and alcohol. These are factors that can make your medication ineffective.

2. During symptoms, find things that are calming, comforting, or distracting.

Turn on the lights when experiencing hallucinations. Put the TV on for background noise. Try to be in the company of family as much as possible.

Have your loved ones keep you engaged. You can ask a close friend or relative for a “reality check”. Ask if they heard or saw the same thing you experienced. If in doubt, this could solidify that you are, in fact, experiencing psychotic symptoms and it can make you more aware of your surroundings and environment.

3. If you are symptomatic, take a break.

Psychotic symptoms can cause a lack of concentration, so you might want to take a little time off of work or school. Since you have visual hallucinations, try to avoid driving.

4. After experiencing psychotic symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor.

*If your psychotic symptoms have worsened or impaired your functioning, you might want to see your doctor. A medication adjustment may be needed to improve your symptoms and get you back on track*.

5. Find a way to express yourself and process your psychotic symptoms to cope.

*Seeing a therapist can help you when coping with psychotic symptoms as well as help you adapt to issues in everyday life. This can help reduce stress, which can in turn help reduce your psychotic symptoms*.

You can also try art which seem to very helpful. Draw your hallucinations. You can make everyone see what you see, the hallucinations may lose their power over you. Music and writing have also been calming.

It’s Hard to Cope with Psychotic Symptoms

Psychotic symptoms can be the scariest things anyone can experience. However, it is possible to survive and move on after experiencing them.

Tips To Improve Declining Memory That Actually Work.

I was recently asked. What are some ways to improve memory? This is a good question, because even persons who are not diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimers may have some issues with memory not that the are the same. But memory seems to be a problem for a lot of us. I did research and this list I have put together seems most manageable and has the potential to actually work.

However, it should be noted that the list below was designed for mild to moderate issues with memory. Persons with Alzheimer’s or their caregivers may find this list useful as well, especially when taking care of someone with declining memory.

If you or anyone you know has early Alzheimer’s — or simply have a bad memory — it can impair your ability to do simple as well as complicated tasks.

memory-loss

Here are 25 tips that will help you compensate for your declining memory.

1. Cook in the microwave rather than the stove as often as possible so it won’t matter if you go off and forget whatever you’re cooking.

2. Make lists of things you have to do and always put them in the same place.

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3. Make sticky note reminders and put them in places where you’re sure to see them.

4. If you get distracted while trying to drive with other people in the car, let someone else drive.

5. Make a shopping list even if there are only three or four items on it. It may save you from having to return to the store.

6. Never leave the room when water is running in a sink or bathtub. You may forget about it and cause a flood.

7. Put things you’ll need when you go out (phone, glasses, etc.) right beside your keys to be sure you’ll remember to take them. This works because you most likely won’t go anywhere without your keys.

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8. If a task is too complicated for you don’t even try to do it if it’s just going to frustrate you. Try to find someone else to do it even if you have to pay them.

9. If you use a laptop for work, put it right in front of the door in the morning so you won’t forget to take it to work.

10. It isn’t advisable to use the stove but it you do, stay right there to avoid forgetting it and burning up the pan or starting a fire.

11. If you’re going to a meeting make a detailed list of what you want to say.

12. If you forget the date or day of the week, look on your cell phone.

13. It isn’t advisable to burn candles, but if you do, put them very far from all other objects in case you forget to extinguish them.

14. If you have trouble remembering people’s names just greet them without saying their name. It’s better than calling them by the wrong name.

15. Print out important documents in your computer so if you can’t find them or you accidentally delete them, you’ll still have copies that could be retyped.

16. Put objects in prominent places to remind you to do things. For example, putting a laundry basket on the floor in the middle of a room will remind you to do the laundry.

17. When you call someone, write down your phone number and put it beside the phone in case you have to leave a voice mail requesting a return call and you can’t remember your number on the spot.

18. If you are learning anything new — even something simple — write down exactly how to do it for future reference, especially if it’s something you won’t be doing very often.

19. If you can’t follow along in courses or seminars don’t go to them. Instead get a book or a tutor so you can learn at your own pace.

20. Make a general rule not to spend too much time looking for things you’ve misplaced. They may be in some strange place and will probably turn up later when you’re doing something else.

21. Try to always put your keys, glasses, etc. in the same place.

22. Use pill boxes to remind you to take medication.

23. Consider doing things when they’re on your mind rather than later so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. This helps reduce stress.

24. If driving to certain places (such as the airport) is too stressful, have someone else drive or take a bus or taxi.

25. Above all, stick to the same daily routine as much as possible. This, too, reduces stress.

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You may wonder how you can remember all these tips, and that’s a good question. I recommend you start with a few, then add others as time goes by. Also, put this list somewhere you’ll see it. Finally, if you live with other people, ask them to remind you of the items on the list. While these tips won’t help you compensate for all memory problems, they can go a long way toward improving your functioning despite your condition.

source: 25 Tips For Coping With Memory Problems | HuffPost

5 Ways To Spot A Psychopath.

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1. They’re extremely charming.

Psychopaths are almost always well-liked. They come across as delightful people who are great at making small talk. Their quick wit tends to draw people to them.

They usually have interesting stories as well. Their convincing tales portray them in a favorable, yet believable light. People walk away from conversations with a psychopath feeling pretty good.

2. They don’t experience any remorse.

A lack of guilt might be the first red flag that signals someone might be a psychopath. Psychopaths don’t accept any responsibility for hurting other people’s feelings. Instead, they blame other people and deny any responsibility.

A psychopath may say someone “deserved” to be treated poorly. Or, they may shrug off reports that they offended someone by saying things like, “Well, she just needs to be less sensitive” or “Oh, well, guess she can’t handle the truth.” They aren’t capable of feeling any genuine remorse.

3. They’re really arrogant.

Psychopaths have an inflated sense of importance. Much like narcissists, they think the usual laws and rules don’t apply to them.

They also tend to have grandiose ideas about their potential. They believe they deserve to be the CEO or they’re convinced they’re the best at everything they do.

4. They take big risks.

Psychopaths have little regard for safety issues, especially other people’s safety. They often lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead. Their behavior can be very toxic. While not all psychopaths engage in illegal activity, those who do plan their crimes well in advance. Their misconduct is usually well-organized, and they leave few clues behind. Psychopaths tend to be very intelligent, which makes them great con artists.

5. They’re master manipulators.

They don’t experience genuine emotions toward others. But they can mimic other people’s emotions, and often they come across as very genuine. As a result, their loved ones often have no idea they’re incapable of truly caring for other people.

Psychopaths are really good at manipulating other people’s emotions. They flatter others in a subtle yet effective manner, and before long they persuade others to do things they wouldn’t normally do. They also use guilt trips or gain sympathy to get their needs met.

 

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