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This is exactly what you want if you’re in a life-threatening situation.
But prolonged exposure to those same stress chemicals is harmful to your physical and mental health.
Other areas in our cortex that help us speak and think coherently also can decrease in size.
THE LONGER THE SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM STAYS ON, THE MORE DAMAGE IT CAN DO TO YOUR BRAIN.
The sympathetic nervous system is the fight or flight part of our autonomic nervous system.
SNRIs: Cymbalta, Effexor, Pristiq Antipsychotics: Old: Thorazine, New: Seroquel, Risperdol Anticonvulsants: Gabapentin, Tegretol, Trileptal, Ketamine, Depakote, Lamictal, Alpha-blockers block receptors to adrenaline and noradrenalin, chemicals secreted by the adrenal gland.
Developed to treat high blood pressure, researchers have found that two of the alpha-blockers, Prazosin and Clonidine, can sneak into the brain.
In your brain, they inflame the amygdala (increasing the intensity of sadness, fear, and anger) and block the hippocampus from laying down memory tracks.
If these chemicals continue for any length of time, the hippocampus shrinks and the amygdala enlarges. Parts of the cortex (the gray area on the outside that does most of your thinking) are also affected, including the VMPF (ventral medial prefrontal cortex), which controls emotions by calming the amygdala.
The round red part at its lower end is the amygdala, which promotes emotions like sadness, fear, and anger.