Examples where we get trapped in the Alarm Centre
Scared, vulnerable and uncertain, angry or inhibited people have an hyper-sensitized alarm centre which gradually needs to be calmed down. They need to develop resilience to their own and other people’s feelings (read more here).
Depression, powerlessness, hopelessness – you can’t find thoughts that work; you can’t find the real you (read more here).
For example, dependence on sugar, tobacco, alcohol and other stimulants, exercise and so on. This is caused by an imbalance in the alarm centre of the brain and The reward factory. Unfortunately, research indicates that people who believe that stimulants do them good are at highest risk of affecting their brain (read more about the Teenage brain).
Tolerating other people’s feelings
If your alarm centre is hyper-sensitive you may have a hard time tolerating other people’s feelings – perhaps especially the people that are the closest to you. There is a risk that your own alarm centre takes over and then you automatically react – you get “afraid” of your loved one’s feelings. For example, you might feel sad for your child or partner that they can´t fully satisfy their needs. You risk “buying peace and quiet”. The same thing can happen if you feel sorry for yourself. In worst case scenario you get imprisoned by thoughts and feelings, and you are in the mercy of your feelings (read also about self-deception).
Serious fights and violence occur when you are trapped in the “fight-reaction” of the alarm centre. The brain is in a condition of a fight for (emotional) survival – the overview of the thinking brain is long gone.
People with ADHD have a hard time controlling their attention “The Spotlight of the Brain”. Big or small incidents – external or internal – keep catching their attention, which is then thrown in different directions, and everything is percieved as chaotic and confusing. It´s like watching several movies at one time (read more: Attention and ADHD). Everything in the head gets chaotic, which provokes the alarm centre to start up.
Keeping balance in the alarm centre of the brain is important to ensure that the alarm only goes off in the right time and place. Imbalance can cause an unfortunate reaction from the body.
Chronic pain can be caused by an hyper-sensitised alarm centre. The impulses from the body that in ordinary circumstances are percieved as normal are now percieved by the brain as pain:
When the alarm centre is activated, the muscles of the body are tensed (ready for “fight/flight”) Tense muscles also constrict their own blood vessels a certain amount.
If the muscles are squeezing their own blood vessels for a long time (because of many “false alarms”), a slight lack of oxygen will occur within the muscles. This alone is harmless, but an hyper-sensitive alarm centre will percieve it as dangerous. New pain will occur and the alarm centre sends out new alarms – it is a vicious circle.
Symptoms of stress, high blood pressure or similar conditions may also be seen as reactions in the body which are caused by imbalance in the alarm centre.
If you have been exposed to shocking events (disasters, accidents, violence, abuse), the brain’s alarm system can be so hyper-sensitive that you get PTSD, which means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You are in alarm much of the time and may risk having all of the symptoms listed above.