Medication & Anxious Dreams.

Over the last few months I have started having some really bad dreams; I wouldn’t say they all felt like nightmares, but they all shared one thing in common, I experienced anxiety and panic in them to a level where I was paralysed (in the dream that is).

I have experienced nightmares in the past, I’ve been chased by dinosaurs, had spiders or snakes about to bite me, but for some reason none had the lasting effect that these anxious dreams have had. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 6: Circuitry

Circuitry is the connection between neurons, the basic building blocks of the brain, that we explored previously.

“Neurons that fire together wire together” – Carla Shatz

We learnt that neurons FIRE, which is where a positive charge travels from the receiving dendrites of the neuron, through the cell body, all the way to the axon at the other end.  In order for the neurons to build connections between themselves, one neuron must be firing at the same time as another.

When firing together the connection between the neurons is strengthened, and eventually a pattern of circuitry develops in which the activation of one neuron causes the other to activate. Read more

Anxiety and the Brain, Part 5: Neurons.

Previously we have explored the parts of the brain where anxious thoughts are created and processed into physical responses; we have also seen the different anxiety pathways, but to understand how all this works, we need to understand the chemical processes that occur.

The brain is made up of billions of connected cells that form circuits; these circuits hold your memories, produce feelings, and initiate all of your actions. Read more

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