From trauma specialist Dr Bessel van der Kolk, MD
In the brains of people who have been traumatized or have PTSD, there are 3 main changes.
1: Threat perception system is enhanced. Traumatized people see danger where other people see manageable stuff. This is in the core perceptual, primitive part of the brain.
2: The filtering system higher up in the brain that helps to decipher what is relevant right now is messed up. This leads to trouble focusing and difficulty fully engaging.
3: The self-sensing system, which runs through mid line structures of the brain and is devoted to your experience of yourself, is blunted. It is a defensive response. When you’re in a state of terror, you feel it in your body, in terms of heartache and gut wrenching feelings. Your body feels bad. Some people start taking drugs to dampen this and others find a way of naturally dampening the internal response to yourself. The trouble is that is also dampens the response to pleasure, sensuality and connection.