The Limbic System is a complex set of structures in the brain that includes the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, the amygdala, and cingulate cortex.
It is largely responsible for how we interpret sensory input (especially our sense of smell); how we code and remember sensory information; and how we emotionally respond to it.
The Limbic System assigns emotional significance to everything we smell, see, hear, feel, and taste.
It monitors both our internal and external environment. The Limbic System is known as the seat of social and emotional intelligence and is the brain’s anxiety “switch”.
The Limbic System is also responsible for the formation of memories and regulating hormones.
It regulates the functioning of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, which means it controls things like pulse, blood pressure, breathing, and arousal in response to emotional circumstances.
The Limbic System mediates all aspects of emotion and motivational functioning such as; the desire for food, feelings of anger, fear, pain, pleasure and sexual desire.
A number of factors can significantly impair Limbic System function
- Chemical Exposure
- Virus or Infection
- Psychological and/or Emotional Trauma
- Accumulated stress
- Physical Trauma (not limited to brain injuries)
Under normal circumstances, the protective mechanism of the Limbic System would only become activated in times of appropriate danger or threat. However, once the Limbic System is impaired it can cause cross wiring of ‘normal’ neuronal circuits in the brain causing distorted unconscious reactions, sensory perceptions and protective responses. Over time this pattern of distorted reaction becomes habitual and can result in a range of neurological, immunological and endocrine system abnormalities.
Limbic System impairment is involved in a number of different
illnesses such as:
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
- Gulf War Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Food Sensitivity
- Chronic Pain
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome
Each of these conditions has their own distinct host of symptoms, however, many symptoms overlap. Once a Limbic System impairment is established it is not uncommon to develop additional Limbic System related illnesses.
Listen to Annie explain about limbic system disorders in the video below: