How The Emotional Symptoms of These Chronic Conditions Are Created
And how they are products of brain hyper-sensitization
These Symptoms Are Temporary...
As a preface to all this, I do believe that these symptoms are temporary. That is, they are due to systemic functional changes in the body, rather than permanent organic damage. Stopping the brain’s hyper-reactions allows the body to trigger the parasympathetic system, meaning the body’s own healing mechanisms can bring it back to balance and homeostasis.
This hypothesis serves as a potential unifying model for the various observations in patients.
Emotional Lability, Anxiety and Depression
The stress hormones and neurotransmitters are known to increase emotional lability and feelings of vulnerability. This causes a wide variety of added psychiatric complaints and further learned fears, especially depression and sometimes agoraphobia. Your amygdala is deliberately trying to make you feel anxious, as it is trying to warn you of danger.
Susceptibility to Stress
The long-term arousal of the amygdala means that stress hormone release can become poorly controlled. Therefore, external events which have little to do with bodily symptoms make you feel far more stressed than normal. You may perceive the world as more dangerous than it actually is, and this is made worse by the fear of increased symptoms because of stress.
Many patients become prone to panic attacks, which are known to be mediated by the amygdala. Prolonged worry may mean that the amygdala becomes trigger happy, triggering at the slightest negative signal from the body.
It may detect certain bodily changes such as blood pressure increasing as a result of an external event, it prepares for a panic attack, and hence this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: The amygdala and the conscious mind fear a panic attack coming on, and this in itself initiates it.
In general, if you experience increased external stress, this makes the symptoms even worse. This is because the stressful events impact on an already fatigued and sensitized mind and body.
Inability to Feel Enjoyment
In some patients, changes may occur in the brain’s opioid system. This system becomes hyperactive. This gives the feeling of numbness, and other psychological symptoms including “anhedonia” (the inability to feel pleasure), and a sense of being cut off from life.