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Brain Areas That May Be Adversely Affected By Childhood Trauma

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If we have been unfortunate enough to have been subjected to severe and chronic childhood trauma, it is possible that this adversely affected how our brain physically developed during our early life.

And, if we have been particularly unlucky, this disrupted brain development could have made us highly susceptible to developing borderline personality disorder (BPD) in our adult lives.

Indeed, research involving brain scans suggest that sufferers of BPD can have abnormalities in the following brain areas :

– prefrontal cortex

– anterior cingulate

– medial frontal cortex

– subgenual cingulate

– ventral striatum

– ventromedial prefrontal cortex

– amygdala

– parietal lobe

– insula

– hippocampus

What Are These Brain Areas Associated With?

The function of these brain areas are described below:

PREFRONTAL CORTEX:

– decision making

– conscious control of social behaviour

– speech / writing

– logic

– purposeful (as opposed to instinctual) behaviour

– planning for the future

– expression of the personality

ANTERIOR CINGULATE :

– decision making

– heart rate

– blood pressure

– impulse control

– emotions

MEDIAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX:

– decision making

– memory

SUBGENUAL CINGULATE :

– sleep

– appetite

– anxiety

– mood

– memory

– self esteem

– transporting serotonin

– our experience of depression

VENTRAL STRIATUM :

– decision making

– emotional regulation (the control of emotios)

– the extinction of conditioned responses

AMYGDALA :

– appetite

– emotion

– emotional content of memories

– fear

PARIETAL LOBE :

– integrates sensory information and helps to make it meaningful

– processes auditory information

TEMPORAL LOBES :

– auditory processing

– language

– logical reasoning

– reading

– writing

– arithematic

– memory

– spatial orientation

– prosody (patterns of stress and intonation in speech)

– emotional valance (the sense of how ‘good’ or how ‘bad’ an object, situation or event is)

– facial recognition 

 – sense of time

– regulation of emotions

INSULA CORTEX :

interoception (the perception of feelings from the inside of the body)

– gives rise to an integrated and embodied sense of self

– inhibits firing of the amygdala

– generates feelings of pain

HIPPOCAMPUS :

spatial memory

– temporal memory

– verbal memory

– implicit, non-verbal memory

– semantic memory

The Effects Of Disruption Of The Above Brain Areas Can Potentially Lead To The Following Problems :

Poor decision making ; poor control of social behaviour ; impaired ability to think rationally ; poor planning for the future ; dysfunctional personality ; increased physiological response to stress ; poor impulse control ; poor emotional control ; insomnia ; changes in appetite ; severe anxiety ; mood instability ; low self-esteem ; impairment of the brain’s ability to make effective use of serotonin leading to clinical depression ; changes in appetite ; emotionally charged memories leading to flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks ; feelings of being under constant threat, fear, terror and extreme vulnerability ; difficulty integrating sensory information (potentially leading to hypersensitivity to light, sound, touch and smell) ; hearing delay ; dysrhythmia, abnormal EEG ; temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) ; poorly integrated and embodied sense of self ; difficulty articulating past traumatic events.

OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND THE BRAIN :

eBook :

childhood-trauma-brain

Above eBook now available for instant download from Amazon. Click here for more details.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

About David Hosier MSc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of childhoodtraumarecovery.com. Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

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