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Neuroplasticity: The Truth in PTSD Recovery

Neuroplasticity, by definition, is the brain’s ability to form new neural connections to heal from an injury or disease. That being said, the brain can change whenever you experience a new event, whether good or bad. Perhaps you are a war survivor, or you lost a loved one, any traumatic event can alter the neural connections in your brain, resulting in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You may experience flashbacks, causing you to experience the same horrendous event over and over again. Sometimes, your brain magnifies the situation even more  and may create, to an extent, a distorted perception due to your subjective experience and heightened emotions. As a result, you may find yourself sleep deprived, constantly having nightmares, and possibly unable to handle social situations.

The truth is the brain likes change and is willing to change. Sometimes, it is us who do not allow our brain to change because we get stuck. We are unable to crawl out of a situation or escape a constant nightmare. However, every victim of PTSD must understand they are able to recover. A traumatic experience lead you to this hole, but remember, constant positive experiences can also change your brain through neuroplasticity as well. To learn more, read the book Trauma Practice: Tools for Stabilization & Recovery (Baranowsky & Gentry, 3rd edition) which includes new exercises influenced by the research on neuroplasticity.

Sources: March 20, 2013 March 2012

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