There is another neurological gatekeeper called the amygdala. It as an almond shaped part of the brain in the centre of the brain and it takes all the information from the thalamus relay station and pushes it to the cortex in order to make decisions. The amygdala assigns meaning to fear, assigning emotion, recognizing that there might be an emergency and the cortex decides what to do about it. The cortex is the rational part of the brain while the amygdala is the emotional part; controlling fear and anxiety, the root of most emotional disorders. The emotional part of the brain makes the initial decision before the rational side gets a chance meaning that we are hard wired to react emotionally to people and situations.
For example, suppose you park in the same parking spot that you did yesterday, yet your memory of todays parking spot can interfere with your ability to remember where you parked today, this is called proactive interference causing a great amount of fear because you can’t remember where you parked.
Women in particular who have experienced trauma have been shown to be more likely to be overweight or obese then women who have not experienced trauma. Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are events that have been experienced that can be big isolated incidents like car accidents, surgery, rape, etc. but can also be relational traumas such as rejection, abuse, and situations of unhealthy interactions. According to research, an estimated 1 in 9 women will have suffered from PTSD during their time, which is estimated as being as much as twice as often as men. It is been shown that women with PTSD gain weight more often then women who have not. The most important consideration is to do with stress, because of the high levels of stress hormones that are released during a traumatic event, or the stress levels associated when that even is revisited because of re-traumatization. Evidence supports the fact that people who under stress crave high calorie processed foods. Symptoms include nightmares, depression, anxiety, trauma flashback, intrusive thoughts, sleep disturbances, changes in concentration, and feeling emotionally numb.
The idea is, that by treating past trauma it might actually help in reversing the weight gain. The symptoms of PTSD also are thought to represent stress which induces changes in the brain structure and function. The brain regions involved are thought to play an important role in PTSD, including the hippocampus, amygdala, pre-frontal cortex. Cortisol and norepinephrine are critical in the stress response, the release of cortisol facilitates survival. The amygdala in the brain incorporates the remembrances of food intake experiences and memories. This is why the Emotionally Focussed Eating Program concentrates on the release of this emotion. This emotion has accumulated into emotional eating, due to post traumatic stress that has accumulated due to past-traumatic experiences. PTSD subjects and studies of them show that those that have increased PTSD have also symptoms of anxiety, fear, disassociation, distress, as well as addiction.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.