All Them Teeth But No Toothbrush

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Despite what was said in "The Waterboy," anger and aggression is not controlled by the medulla oblongata . This is the job of the amygdala.

In the brain, as soon as an aggression starts, our alarm system, the amygdala, is activated and this triggers a cascade of reactions to prepare our flight. It causes, among other things, stress hormones. The result: while the body is under tension, blow flow, heart rate, and breathing speed up, muscles are contracted, and ready to begin flight.

In one recent case, after a near drowning incident, I could not only vividly remember each detail, but while doing this, my body reacted as though I was reliving the experience. Because I was immobilized and unable to escape fast enough, the amygdala panics, and is flooded by alert signals. The amygdala "overheats," and suddenly I was unable to defend myself. I was paralyzed and felt like I was going to die.

It is the dissociation that enabled me to stay alive, but, paradoxically, it caused the feeling of fear. The time of the drowning is trapped as such in the amygdala. Maybe this is why I no longer swim alone?

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This page contains a single entry by marsh658 published on October 2, 2011 6:52 PM.

The Amygdala and Long Term Memory Storage was the previous entry in this blog.

Large Amygdala=Large Social Circle? is the next entry in this blog.

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