Why am I so interested in complex PTSD?

I believe that many of our health condition are linked to a problem in our limbic system. Remember that system is the system that is our most primitive brain area – it deals with fight, flight and fight, it’s where stress hormones are generated so that we can survive.

Anxiety causes the limbic system to flare up. That causes the thalamus – our pain centre – to flare up – and then we feel all sorts of pain in our body which normally doesn’t register. Remember that most people – 70% of people – have a thalamus where the alarm doesn’t register pain signals coming from the body, like pain signals when you are sitting for more than 20 mintues, or pain signals that are minor and of no consequence – the brain ignores that pain. If your alarm system is activated – as it is in anxiety – then the thalamus registers every silly little inconsequential pain as AAAAAHHHHHH DANGER !!!!

So let’s say you have arthritis. But the arthritis is the usual kind of osteoarthritis. You move around a little, you stretch, boom – no problem. Your brain will barely register the pain. I have patients who have the worst arthritis on X-ray and barely any pain. They are the lucky 70%. Now, if your alarm is activated – with anxiety or any kind of physical stress – like illness – all the same to the brain – stress is stress – then the alarm system is switched on and you will feel pain from the thalamus.

So what causes complex PTSD? (Which is a very common source of severe anxiety) it could be from absent parents – a mother too stressed to properly take care of her children growing up, a father, or mother, absent either physically, or because of severe anxiety, or because of alcohol or drugs – all can cause PTSD. Domestic violence in the home – you could marry someone and then find out that person is abusive. You may even be trapped financially in a verbally or physically abusive relationship. Or be in a relationship where your partner doesn’t support you. Maybe your partner has complex PTSD and can’t emotionally connect with you.

Take a look again at the brain – the picture that is in the link – and have a look at the front portion of the brain which is supposed to be the thinking part of the brain. it is dark blue – there is an arrow pointing at that area. We can’t think properly when we are stressed. No wonder it is so hard to help ourselves.

Ask questions on the contact form. I will be happy to try and answer them for you.

Leave a Reply