Anxiety and the Brain, Part 4: The Amygdala Pathway

The Amygdala is a tiny piece of the brain, but don’t let it’s size fool you, it is actually one of the biggest, most important pieces of the anxiety puzzle.

Located near the centre of the brain; it is the source of many of our emotional reactions, both positive and negative.

It also forms and recalls emotional memories; understanding this is key to making sense of your own emotional reactions. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 3: The Cortex Pathway

In part 2 of this series we looked at the basics of how anxiety is created in the brain, and highlighted the two main parts of the brain that cause anxiety and the physical responses we experience when feeling anxious.

In parts 3 and 4 we will look at the two key parts or pathways (the Cortex and the Amygdala) in more detail.

The Cortex:

The cortex is split into two halves, or HEMISPHERES; quite simply, the left and the right.  These hemispheres are then divided into smaller sections called LOBES.  Each of these lobes has a different function; for example, processing vision, hearing, and other information collected by the senses.  The lobes then put all of this information together and this allows you to perceive the world around you. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 2: Introducing the Cortex and the Amygdala

Trying to get your head around anxiety is really difficult; in some cases it can be a complete mystery to both those suffering, and to those seeing someone suffer.

As I have mentioned in previous articles anxiety does not always make sense, but after reading the next few articles on Anxiety and the Brain, things will hopefully become a bit clearer.

In these articles I will be referencing a brilliant book called ‘Rewire Your Anxious Brain’ which has been a life saver in helping me to get clarity on what goes on up there.

To start with, it is important to differentiate between Anxiety and Fear because it can be easy to confuse the two: Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 1: Neuroscience.

Neuroscience – Any or all of the sciences, such as neurochemistry and experimental psychology, which deal with the structure or function of the nervous system and brain. 

As I mentioned in a previous blog ‘Time to Science the S**t Out of this’, I have been reading up on how anxiety is created in the brain, and most importantly how you can rewire your brain.

The best book I have read about this is called ‘Rewire Your Anxious Brain, how to use the neuroscience of fear to end anxiety, panic & worry’ by Catherine M. Pittman, PhD and Elizabeth M. Karle, MLIS (below is an Amazon link if you are interested in the book).

Now, I am not scientifically minded, but I have found this subject fascinating, and this book went a long way to answering a lot of questions that I had about my mental health problems.

Read more

Time to Science the S**t out of this.

Science was never my strong point at school, and I wouldn’t say that it has been something I have been interested in since I left school; so, if you’d told me that I would be enjoying learning about some of the science behind Anxiety, Depression and Addiction, I would have laughed and shrugged it off as nonsense.

“So in the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option.  I’m going to have to science the s**t out of this.”The Martian

When I had my first panic attack I honestly believed that something had snapped in my brain (I told you I wasn’t much of a scientist); all I remember was feeling scared and broken.  During the early stages of my illness I had no idea what was going on, all I knew was that the stresses at work were causing it.

My learning started when I attended CBT through the NHS.  My therapist gave me some booklets that contained some really useful information on the basics of what was going on in my head and body, but this information only covered the tip of the iceberg. Read more