The limbic system is a complex set of structures in the mid brain that includes the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and cingulate cortex.
It has been described as the “feeling and reacting brain”. It is responsible for the formation of memories and is constantly determining our level of safety. The Limbic System assigns emotional significance to everything we smell, see, hear, feel, and taste. It is known as the seat of social and emotional intelligence and is the brain’s anxiety “switch”. It is closely integrated with the immune system (our defense against disease), the endocrine system (hormone regulation) and the autonomic nervous system (regulation of unconscious body processes like blood pressure and breathing and also regulates the functions of our internal organs such as the heart, stomach and intestines).
A number of factors can significantly impair Limbic System function such as:
- Chemical Exposure
- Mold Toxicity
- Virus or Infection
- Psychological and/or Emotional Trauma
- Accumulated stress
- Physical Trauma
When not functioning properly due to injury or impairment, the limbic system becomes hypersensitive and begins to react to stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body. This results in inappropriate activation of the immune, endocrine and autonomic nervous systems that can lead to varied and seemingly unconnected symptoms.
This hypersensitivity of the limbic system causes over-firing of protective and threat mechanisms in the midbrain. This can result in distorted unconscious reactions, sensory perceptions and protective responses.
Over time, this state of hyper arousal can weaken the immune system, and affect systems associated in rest, digestion, detoxification, mood stability and can also affect motor and cognitive function.