Went to a seminar today on trauma and what we've learned about treating it from brain imaging studies. Fascinating stuff. The only bad part is it's all day tomorrow too. But it's interesting enough that I'm mostly OK with that. Dude. Your entire left hemisphere just goes bye-bye in really traumatic situations, or if you're having a flashback. Which is kinda what it feels
like, but it's weird to see the pictures. And then people with PTSD have really funky electrical patterns going on in their brains in response to stimuli. Like the parts of their brains aren't communicating with each other properly. Understandable, but it's weird to see it that clearly.
Heh--I'm probably the only one who has scrawled in the margins of my notes things like: "What the hell do Time Lords use for a limbic system?" and "people who have been through severe trama form attachments based on how others make them feel--hmm, Rose?" Also "lost in time and space," which is how somebody described the kind of dissociation that follows trauma. I've still got "the cost was so much more than I could bear" in my set2music
(Heh--the cat is all, "You went to bed early last night and I didn't get my snuggles, and then you left early this morning and there were no snuggles, and then you were gone all day and GIVE ME SNUGGLES NOW. Hee--OK. I'm going back to work soon, cat, and you're going to have to remember how to deal. *g*)
asked for more details:
Well, your left frontal lobe does your rational thinking and planning, so that's out the window, and the left hemisphere organizes your time-sense, too, so you lose your sense of time. (Like if you're in a car wreck, it seems like it takes forever even though it really only takes seconds.)
Language is a left hemisphere thing, too, so that's why it's really impossible for you to explain what happened immediately afterward. The memories are stored differently than normal memories, too. Your amygdala flags dangerous things, but it's not specific, so smells, sounds, etc that really don't have anything to do with the trauma get stored as if they're traumatic too. (Uhm, the example he used was a prisoner of war who was tortured while someone in the room kept flipping through a book, and the guy would panic at the sound of pages turning later.)
PTSD tends to happen when the fight-or-flight response gets interrupted and you can't fight OR run. Like if you're trapped or pinned down. Also, the feeling of helplessness is always a factor.
ETA2: I was going to put the symptoms of PTSD up here, but I think for fic purposes, Acute Stress Disorder might be more useful because it deals more with how the trauma feels while it's happening and soon after. You can't be diagnosed with PTSD for a month after the incident. Until then, it's Acute Stress Disorder. I'll put PTSD up later, because the diagnostic criteria has some useful stuff for fic in it, too. Too lazy now, though. *g*( Collapse )