Approximately 50 percent of the population will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives.1 While reactions to trauma can vary widely, and not everyone will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), trauma can change the brain in some predictable ways that everyone should be aware of, especially if you or someone close to you is struggling to cope after trauma.
With increased awareness, you can seek treatment to address your PTSD symptoms and learn skills that could actually rewire your brain for recovery. Additionally, knowing what’s going on can be immensely helpful because it may help you realize that you’re not crazy, irreversibly damaged, or a bad person.
Instead, you can think of a traumatized brain as one that functions differently as a result of traumatic events. And just as your brain changed in response to your past experiences with the world, it can also change in response to your future experiences. In other words, the brain is “plastic,” and you can change it.
Trauma can alter brain functioning in many ways, but three of the most important changes appear to occur in the following areas:
- The prefrontal cortex (PFC), known as the “Thinking Center.”
- The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), known as the “Emotion Regulation Center.”
- The amygdala, known as the “Fear Center.
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