Protecting Your Mental Health Against the Effects of COVID 19|MindBody Breakthrough
OCD often serves as a defence mechanism against overwhelming unresolved traumatic emotions, buried in the subconscious mind. In times of uncertainties and stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety symptoms escalate. The fear that we feel in our minds instructs the anxiety circuits in the brain to up-regulate our sympathetic nervous system for hyper-arousal. This bio-chemical instruction increases our somatic symptoms of anxiety and OCD symptoms, and the Amygdala (fear and anxiety centre) starts to micro-manage our mind and body. Some people experience increased anxiety symptoms, such as palpitations, tingling of arms and legs, headache, nausea, raising heart, insomnia, dizziness.
Additionally, our digestive system gets compromised as it receives persistent survival instructions from the brain that its blood-flow will be cut. When you are in survival mode, as a result of the challenges that you face at the moment, the survival headquarters in your brain (brain stem) starts to allocate cerebral blow flow (CRB) based on survival, pumping more blood to the regions of the brain directly involved in survival activities (such as your amygdala, heart, lungs and your extremities), while reducing CRB from the regions which are not directly involved in your emergency survival contingencies (such as your pre-frontal cortex and bowel). This is why your thinking brain struggles to activate its executive capabilities when in survival mode (such as being able to concentrate on tasks, problem-solve, retrieve memories easily, control inappropriate impulses and behaviours, etc. The neurones in the brain are obsessed with the blood-flow, as this is the only delivery pathway for their fuel (glucose and oxygen). Regional blood-flow (rCBF) determines brain functionality.
Your PFC, which is the leader of your psyche, is often offline (low rCBF) in times of great uncertainties, fear and stress, forcing you to dissociate through a variety of mood altering activities, such as, day-dreaming, remuneration, substance abuse, foods, TV, social media, alcohol, sleep, gambling, etc. When the PFC is offline regularly, the amygdala (the chief security officer) has to step up its micro-management of the entire site (your brain and body) in order to ensure safety and survival. The amygdala achieves this by ordering excess stress chemicals production for your fight-or-flight activations. This is the beginning of psychological sufferings if the stressors persist. Excess cortisol levels increase the inflammation profile of the brain and body, and also compromise the immune system functions, making us to be prone to inflammation-based illnesses and diseases.