Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
The Psychological Aftermath of Critical Incidents Joel Fay PsyDSan Rafael Police DepartmentWest Coast Post Trauma Retreatwww.wcpr2001.org(415) 721-9789
One Way of Understanding the Brain Cortical Brain Limbic Brain Reptilian Brain
Cortical BrainConscious Thought / Action / Planning. Spoken and/or written language. PlanningOrganizing, Problem SolvingSelective Attention Personality Behavior Visual Memory
Limbic SystemExternal World / Internal Response • Controls Emotions • Emotional Responses • Hormonal Secretions • Mood • Motivation • Pain and Pleasure Sensations No language involved / necessaryin Limbic system responses
Reptilian BrainPhysical Response. • Controls the body'smost basic functions such as heartbeat and breathing
How It Works • Thalamus – is a routing station for all incoming sensory impulses except smell
How It Works • Thalamus – Routes information from eyes and ears to the brain
Amygdala • Small almond shaped structure near the middle of the brain. • Attaches meaning to memory • Places the experience into the context of an emotion.
“The absence of fear is not courage – the absence of fear is some kind of brain damage.” M. Scott Beck
Brain’s Response • Prefrontal Cortex – Reins the Amygdala is the threat is deemed to be insignificant.
HippocampusResponse • Evaluates threats by placing them in the context of a previous experience.
What Happens Next? • Amygdala – If threat is sufficient the body shuts down non-emergency services (I.e., digestion and immunity) • Triggers body wide emergency response within seconds
Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal System (HPA) • Release of Cortisol to activate the bodies defense systems • Release of Catecholamines -dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine
Catecholamines • Suppress activity in areas at the front of the brain concerned with short-term memory, concentration, inhibition, and rational thought. • This allows a quick reaction to the threat
Response Heart and lungs receive a glucose dump
Heart’s Response • Heart rate and blood pressure increase instantaneously • Blood flow may actually increase 300% to 400%
Skin's Response • Diverts blood flow away from the skin to support the heart and muscle tissues • This causes cool, clammy, sweaty skin
Circulatory Response • Spleen increases red blood cells into bloodstream to promote oxygen supply. • As blood moves into muscles, blood vessels tighten causing vasoconstriction.
Immune System's Response • Infection fighting systems (white blood cells, etc) are redistributed • Immunity boosting agents are sent to the skin, bone marrow and lymph nodes
Mouth and Throat Response • Fluids are diverted from nonessential locations, including the mouth • Can make it difficult to talk.
Heightened alertness in the brain – which in effect tells the memory centers, “Remember what occurred.”
What is Memory? The use of past experiences to affect future behavior.
So, the really cool thing is… All of this occurs in a couple of seconds or less
“What Do All These Chemicals and Hard Wired Reactions Mean To Me?” So You Might Ask…
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder –An Assault on the Mind, Body and Spirit
PTSD • PTSD is a total person experience • Symptoms effect • Mental Health • Physical Health • Family and Friends • Work • Spirit
PTSD – Diagnostic Criteria Must be exposed to a traumatic event Person's response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror
The event must be re-experienced by distressing recollections, dreams, flashbacks, etc.
Avoidance of locations, persons, etc • Sense of isolation • “No one else knows what I am going through” • “I can’t burden other people with this.”
Persistent Problems With Increased Arousal • Withdrawal • Irritability • Irritability • Insomnia • Hyper-vigilant
Symptoms of the Spirit • Hopelessness • Helplessness(Locus of Control) • Meaning of life • Questioning faith
Treatment Options • Sometimes it just goes away on its own • Talking w/ friends and family • Chaplains • Local clinicians - EAP • Medication • Therapy • Residential treatment
So, What’s the Point • The brain works in the same way in Police Officers and it does Citizens with mental illness. (CI vs. MI) • A lot of what the brain does or doesn’t do is beyond your control. • What your brain does or doesn't do, isn’t necessarily your fault.
Our Goal is to Reduce the Impact of Critical Incidents in a First Responder’s Life and to Empower the Responder to Retake Control Over His/Her Life www.wcpr2001.org