How Trauma Impairs Brain Function (The Best Possible Brain)


By Debbie Hampton, May 27, 2018, for The Best Brain Possible

Trauma can actually alter the function of your brain during the stressful event and result in lasting changes in certain brain regions. These changes can impair cognitive function and memory encoding and recall at the moment and in the future. Recent neuroscientific findings in this area have real implications for the victims of crime and the legal system. The science of epigenetics is even showing that the effects of trauma can be passed down through genes to future generations.

Your Thinking Brain Shuts Down

At any given moment, the prefrontal cortex of your brain is primarily in charge of conscious thought and behavior. This is the area of higher level brain function allowing you to focus attention, think rationally, and inhibit impulses. In states of extreme stress, fear, or terror, your prefrontal cortex becomes impaired. A surge of stress chemicals basically shuts it down.

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