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:> Organized To Survive


This illustration on page 53 shows the whole-body response to threat. When brain’s alarm system is turned on, it automatically triggers preprogrammed physical escape plans in the oldest parts of the brain.

:>. As in other animals, the nerves and chemicals that make up our basic brain structure have a direct connection with our body.

When the old brain takes over,
it partially shuts down the higher brain, our conscious mind, and propels thebody to run, hide, fight, or, on occasion, freeze.


:>ยฐ By the time we are fully aware
of our situation, our body may already be on the move.

If the fight freeze response is successful and we escape the danger, we recover our internal equilibrium and gradually “regain our senses.


:>ยฐ If for some reason the normal response is blocked-for example, when people are held down, trapped, or otherwise prevented from taking effective action,

be it in a war zone, a car accident, domestic violence, or a rape-thebrain keeps secreting stress chemicals, and the brain’s electrical circuits continue to fire in vain.


:>ยฐ Long after the actual event has passed, the brain may
keep sending signals to the body to escape a threat that no longer exists.

Since at least 1889, when the French psychologist Pierre Janet published the first scientific account of traumatic stress,’ it has been recognized that


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