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Anatomy of Anxiety Infographic

THE ANATOMY OF ANXIETY When the senses pick up a threat - a loud noise, a scary sight, a creepy feeling - the information takes two differtent routes through the brain. WHAT TRIGGERS IT... By puttng the brain on alert, the ..AND HOW THE BODY RESPONDS amygdala triggers a series of A changes in brain chemicals and hormones that put the entire body in anxiety mode. THE SHORTCUT When startled, the brain automatically engages an emergency hot line to its fear center, the amygdala. Once activated, the amygdala sends the equivalent of an all-points bulletin that alerts other brain structures. The result is Cortex STRESS-HORMONE the classic fear response: sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and a burst of adrenaline. All this happens before the mind is conscious of having BOOST Reponding to signals from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, the adrenal glands pump out high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol short-circuits the cells in the hippocampus, making it difficult to organize the memory of Talamus Bed nucleus of minalis Hippocampus Visual stimuli adala Locusceruleus a trauma or stressful smelled or touched experience. Memories lose their context and anything. Before you know why you're afraid, you are. Olfatory stimuli Auditory stimuli become fragmented. RACING HEARTBEAT The body's sympathetic nervous system, responsible for heart rate and breathing, shifts into overdrive. The heart beats Tactile stimuli THE HIGH ROAD Only after the fear response is activated does the cons- cious mind kick into gear. Some sensory information, rather than traveling directly to the amigdala, takes a more circuitous route, stopping first at the thalamus- the faster, blood pressure rises and the lungs hiperventilate. Sweat increases, and even the nerve endings on the skin tingle into action, creating goose bumps. 1 AUDITORY AND VISUAL STIMULI FIGHT, FLIGHT OR FRIGHT Sights and sounds are processed first by the thalamus, whoch filters the incoming cues and shunts them either directly to the amygdala or to the appropriate parts of the cortex. processing hub for sensory cues- and then the cortex- The senses become hyperalert, drinking in every detail of the surroundings and looking for potential new threats. Adrenaline shoots to the muscles, preparing the body to fight or flee. the outer layer of brain cells. The cortex analyzes the raw data streaming in through the senses and decides whether 2 OLFACTORY AND TACTILE STIMULI they require a fear response. If they do, the cortex signals, the amygdala and the body stays on alert Smells and touch sensations bypass the thalamus altogether, taking a shortcut directly to the amygdala. Smells, therefore often evoke stronger memories or feelings than do sights or sounds. DIGESTION SHUTDOWN The brain stops thinking about things that bring pleasure, shifting its focus instead to identifying potential dangers. To ensure that no energy is wasted on digestion, the body will sometimes respand by emptying the digestive tract through involutary vomiting, urination or defecation. 3 THALAMUS Sights and sounds are processed first by the thalamus, whoch filters the incoming cues and shunts them either directly to the amygdala or to the appropriate parts of the cortex. 4 CORTEX It gives raw sights and sounds mea- ning, enabling the brain to become conscious of what it is seeing or hea- ring. One region, the prefrontal cortex may be vital to turning off the anxiety response once a threat has passed. 6 BED NUCLEUS OF THE STRIA TERMINALIS Unlike the amygdala, which sets off and immediate burst of fear, the BNST perpetuates the fear response, causing th elonger-term uncase typical of anxiety. 5 AMYGDALA The emotional core of the brain, te amygdala has the primary role of triggering the fear response. Information that passes through the amygdala is tagged with emotional significance. 7 It receives signals from the amygdala and is responsible for initiating many of the classic anxiety responses: rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, sweating and pupil dilation. LOCUS CERULEUS SURVIVAL MASTERY 8. HIPPOCAMPUS This is the memory center, vital to storing the raw information coming in from the senses, along with the emo- tional baggage attached to the data during their trip through the amygdala. Source:

Anatomy of Anxiety Infographic

shared by samuelsamuel on Feb 14
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What triggers Anxiety and how does body reacts explained


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