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This was recorded as part of a live #webinar

~ Neurobiological abnormalities in PTSD overlap with features found in traumatic brain injury
~ The response of an individual to trauma depends not only on stressor characteristics, but also on factors specific to the individual.
~ Perception of stressor
~ Proximity to safe zones
~ Similarity to victim
~ Degree of helplessness
~ Prior traumatic experiences
~ Amount of stress in the preceding months
~ Current mental health or addiction issues
~ Availability of social support
Introduction
~ For the vast majority of the population, the psychological trauma is limited to an acute, transient disturbance.
~ The signs and symptoms of PTSD reflect a persistent, abnormal adaptation of neurobiological systems to the witnessed trauma.
What is the HPA Axis
~ Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis AKA the Threat Response System
~ Controls reactions to stress and regulates many body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and expenditure
~ The ultimate result of the HPA axis activation is to increase levels of cortisol in the blood during times of stress.
~ Cortisol's main role is in releasing glucose into the bloodstream in order to facilitate the “flight or fight” response. It also suppresses and modulates the immune system, digestive system and reproductive system.
HPA-Axis Dysfunction
~ The body reduces its HPA axis activation when it appears that further fight/flight may not be beneficial. (Hypocortisolism)
~ Hypocortisolism seen in stress-related disorders such as CFS, burnout and PTSD is actually a protective mechanism designed to conserve energy during threats that are beyond the organism's ability to cope.
~ Dysfunctional HPA axis activation will result in
~ Abnormal immune system activation
~ Increased inflammation and allergic reactions
~ IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea,
~ Reduced tolerance to physical and mental stresses (including pain)
~ Altered levels of sex hormones

Summary
~ A variety of changes take place in the brains and nervous systems of persons with PTSD
~ Pre-existing issues causing hypocortisolism (the brain has already down regulated) increases the likelihood of the development of PTSD
~ This points to the importance of prevention and early intervention of adverse childhood experiences
~ People with hypocorticolism may or may not have PTSD
~ Hypocorticolism sets the stage for the Flat and the Furious  toxic levels of glutamate upon exposure to stressors  reduction of hippocampal volume persistent negative brain changes
Summary
~ People with PTSD are more reactive to emotional stimuli, even stimuli unrelated to trauma
~ Hypocorticolism results when the brain perceives that continued effort is futile.
~ Feelings of “fatigue” set in (akin to reduced stress tolerance)
~ Reducing fatigue can be accomplished, in part, with psychological factors including
~ Motivation/Knowledge of “competitors”
~ Feedback (frequent successes)
~ Knowledge of an endpoint

Summary
~ 46% of people in the US are exposed to adverse childhood experiences. (Early Intervention)
~ Instruction in skills to handle emotional dysregulation
~ Mindfulness
~ Vulnerability prevention and awareness
~ Emotion Regulation
~ Distress Tolerance
~ Problem Solving
~ Of those exposed to trauma, education about and normalization of heightened emotional reactivity and susceptibility to PTSD in the future may be helpful

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