This article describes the amygdala and how it effects us. The amygdala is responsible for regulating emotions. It is mostly associated with “fear and anxiety”. The amygdala has been called the "general-purpose defense response control network". Some response reactions can lead to “unpleasant sights, sensations, or smells”. The amygdala has several emotions it expresses when triggered. Improper functioning of the amygdala can be associated with the following: anxiety, autism, depression, narcolepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and schizophrenia. A damaged amygdala can lead to “social-blindness”. Studies have also shown that when the amygdala is not functioning correctly before six months of age then they will result in having a difficult time adapting to social life.
I was personally impacted by this subject, because I too have been in a circumstance that caused me to feel like I had to fight or flight. Although, in my experience I was unable to fight or flight because my boyfriend (at the time) was much larger than me and I was pinned in a corner unable to leave the terrifying experience. Since then I have had experiences in my life that have reminded me of those emotions that I felt that day. Understanding how the amygdala works and functions, after a traumatic event, personally helps me to recognize when I am experiencing an “amygdala-hijack”. While researching this topic for this blog, I feel more confident in knowing the warning signs of an approaching “amygdala-hijack” and hopefully will be able to recognize them. The warning signs are: “strong emotional reaction, sudden onset, and when you reflect later, you realize it was inappropriate" (Horowitz, 2012). Overall I feel this topic has helped me personally during this healing process I am still on and by helping me become a better “helper” one day.
Here is a link to a short video that explains the amygdala and how it effects the brain:
Horowitz, S. (2012). Emotional intelligence - stop amygdala hijackings. Retrieved from http://www.umass.edu/fambiz/articles/values_culture/primal_leadership.html