To paraphrase neuroscientist David Eagleman in his fascinating book, Incognito, the Secret Lives of the Brain, there are as many connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy! This makes the brain the most complex organ in the known universe and helps us understand why such all-encompassing problems such as PTSD can become deeply embedded in our brain and subsequently our psyche.
So how is this incredibly multifaceted organ, the brain, affected by trauma? As you can see in the illustration, a traumatic experience that involves most or all of the senses – sight, hearing, smell, physical pain – as well as emotions, speech and thought, is stored in multiple regions throughout your brain. Since we are all unique, individual, complex beings the experience of PTSD is somewhat different for everyone, although there are basic commonalities that set this form of suffering apart form to her types of mental illness.
And just as you can suffer from a little to a lot of depression or anxiety, you can suffer from minimal to extreme degrees of PTSD. If a traumatic event is extreme, it becomes a long-lived deeply embedded memory as opposed to a short-term memory like what you had for lunch last Tuesday. A person who suffers from minimal PTSD will probably get better over time without therapy. For instance if they were in a fender bender, they will get their car fixed so they don