Post-Traumatic Resilience

Post-Traumatic Resilience

What determines resilience following a traumatic experience? Biological markers are being identified to help develop psychopharmacological treatment. While many can benefit from medication, there are also a number of effective behavioral options. In those who suffer from PTSD there is a clear breakdown between communication in the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. This barrier reduces our ability to regulate our emotional experience. Research has consistently demonstrated that regular mindfulness practice stimulates communication between these areas of the brain and increases emotional modulation. As we shift our attention to the present moment, one-mindfully and non-judgmentally observing and describing our experience, we start a neuronal dialogue that facilitates resilience. This article also points out the effectiveness of social support in the healing process following a traumatic event. As we interact with others, our inhibited, more evolved regions of the brain (preoccupied by the struggle to process the memory of our traumatic experience) begin to re-open communication and regulate our more primal emotional responses of the amygdala. By fostering positive relationships with ourselves (through mindfulness) and others (through social contact) we create a parallel process of interaction in the brain which develops the neurobiological relationship necessary for resilience.

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